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Long live, live Rock n’ Roll
December 5, 2017
I listen to music all the time. In my car, at the gym, cooking dinner, in the shower, while I assemble IKEA furniature (to keep my sanity and to drown my curse words out from carrying into the next room where my toddler plays), and yeah basically everything I do. Sometimes the music is just in the background, lurking at a perfect level to set into the wash of the clanking dishes or the humming of the tires on the highway. Softly keeping time while I negotiate my way around a problem at work that needs to be fixed yesterday, or during my daughter’s evening bath while I laugh along to the new sticky situation her barbies find themselves in. It only demands twenty percent of my attention, and that’s barely any attention at all for a multitasker like myself, but it’s there and it’s comforting. Other times it’s BLASTING. Pouring from the speakers like a rush of wine from a full decanter. Filling up every corner of my car (this is where I usually get to crank my music) and occupying all of my brain space. Destroying my singing voice as I try to hear myself over a maxed out car sound system, while spectators from the surrounding cars contemplate calling the police on the guy in the Ford having a phsychotic episode. The point is to say, I love listening to music, period. It makes me feel joy and sadness. It boots my testosterone and makes me feel unstoppable. It calms me when things are feeling a bit out of control. Recorded music has a special place in my life and I’m excited to make more of it but nothing compares to live music specifically live Rock n’ Roll.
I was inspired to write this blog post after seeing The National at the Queen Elisabeth theatre this past Friday. The funny thing is, somehow I had forgotten why I loved live Rock so much. I was abruptly reminded why on Friday. While the crowd started out trying to be polite during the first number of the show (it was a slower jam), sitting nicely in the cushioned seats of the theatre, something happened during the second song. Rock n’ Roll happened and everyone took to their feet. 2 electric guitars, 2 percussionists, horns, keys, bass on bass on bass. Low somber vocals followed by blood curdling screaming vocals! Incredible flashing lights and pure darkness. Everything. So many other times during the show I was struck with the pure elation of being in love with music. Not just loving it but being in love with it. It’s so hard to put into words but the difference between recorded music and live music for me is physical. There are moments in a Rock show when you can feel a guitar solo tickle it’s way down from your ears to the tips of your toes. When a bass shakes the earth beneath your feet. When a kick drum pounding on your chest suddenly syncs up with your exaggerated heart beat. Or when you look up and see the veins popping on a singers neck through the pulsing strobe lights and the smoke from smoke machines and rebellious audience members. When you go to catch your breath you realize how empty your lungs are from dancing and whooping in unison with the rest of the crowd, like wolves at a full moon, when the sustained final note of a guitar lick fades away into nothingness. Because nothing lasts forever. That’s why Rock n’ Roll shows rule. Because nothing lasts forever, but for a moment while you are there, you feel like it just might. So you go home and sit on your couch while a constant muffled ringing pulses in your ears and you think...