Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Live Music Will Save Your Soul...If You Let It

You are out on the town. Looking for excitement. Looking for something to make the night come alive. You walk into a nondescript looking pub because you hear the hustle and bustle, and the undeniable rhythm. Music. Freshly created by the performer and delivered to your ears. Something is happening here. Boys, let's order us a round! 

That is  the power that live music has. It is transformative. Whether you are out looking for a good time, or if you are in a contemplative, even mournful mood, there is something unmistakable about the places that a live performance reaches that canned music doesn't.

Sure, it is fun to hear a song on the radio, and get up and dance, but it doesn't carry the same weight as a live band playing in front of you. The auditory sensation.The visual.

Are we slowly losing our way? People don't go out to see bands like they used to, it has been said by many. Are we content to live our lives in our little boxes watching our giant TVs and surfing the internet? Or is it the cost of going out and ordering that $7 pint (god forbid you have to pay a cover!)? 

I started playing the bars at the tail end of the "glory days" of live music. We would play from Wednesday through to Saturday (with a matinee on Saturdays) sometimes. Almost always we played Friday AND Saturday night at the same venue! Can you believe it? And there were people in the bar! Sure, there was a lot of cigarette smoke, and barroom brawls, and cocaine flying around, but talk about atmosphere. You were a part of something.

Now all that's left are the young kids and their cocaine. We need to change that. Maybe it means venues putting on earlier shows for folks who don't want to wait until 1:00 AM to show up at the bar after they partied at home all night. I've seen matinees and early shows (7-10pm) work. With the population getting older it just makes sense.

But while the venues are catching up with the societal change, you old-timers just need to suck it up and take a nap.

There are many excuses not to go out. But those of us who live and die by music (whether musician or music fan) know how important live music is for local culture and community. Organizations are always looking for bands for their fundraisers. Why? Because without music there is no sense of "Hey, there's something going on here.". But in order for a band to be good, they have to work at it, and in order to really hone their craft, they have to get paid, and in order to get paid, they need a bar to hire them, and in order for the bar to hire them, the bar needs to see a benefit financially. These dots connect. Music and art do not exist in a vacuum. They require an audience.


   I have a mission for you. Go out to a live show, but bring with you someone who hasn't seen a band in awhile. Perhaps they are in their late thirties or forties, have kids, and just don't go out much because of the demands of their life. 

Get them out to see a band, and they will have the time of their lives. I've seen this happen on many occasions. People get out of the habit and they don't realize what they are missing.

Music really does feed the soul.

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