I’ve seen a lot of live music over the years. My favorite shows are always in small venues. I love to see musicians up close. Their interaction with the crowd is often more personal. And it’s fun to think that we could shake hands during the show if we wanted to.
Small venues like to feature local musicians as the opening acts. It’s great for smaller bands to grab a little of the spotlight often reserved for national acts. Sometimes that propels them to fame.
But often the contrast is huge. Professionalism, musicianship, and overall quality of the performances are often massively better for the national acts.
Occasionally, opening bands are better. Sometimes I’ve seen shows where I went for the main band and ended up being introduced to an opening act that became a favorite band. That’s a refreshing surprise.
I always like to give each band a chance. I may not like their style or attitude, but I try to listen with an open mind and open ears.
The photo is Mimi Parker of the band Low. I saw her and the rest of the band on Friday night, March 8, 2019.
For more than a year, I heard Taylor Swift – and her friends – singing the same songs over and over and over. The company that runs the building I work in hires Muzak to pipe tunes into our halls and bathrooms.
My brain has a problem with repetition – when I hear the same song over and over, it starts burrowing into the deep crevices of my consciousness until I feel like I’m about to die.
Well, not really, but you get the point.
My daughter heard me complain, over and over, about the music in my office building. She finally asked, “Dad, why don’t you ask the company that runs your building if they could change the music?”
I came up with a few excuses. She kept asking me. Finally, I tracked down the building management company, and they agreed to change the music.
Why did I wait so long?!
Moral of the story – don’t wait. Ask the gatekeepers to change. They just might!
By the way, Muzak is now called Mood. For those of you who haven’t heard of Muzak, that is the company that caused the creation of the term, “elevator music.”
I know some people that are really into local food. And the reasons to eat food grown locally are good:
– You’re saving a ton of fossil fuels, since the food has not been flown from South America or Africa.
– It’s probably fresher.
– You’re supporting local farmers.
Why not apply the same principles to local music? By asking the bands you see to drive all over the country, they are using a lot more fuel than local musicians do in bringing their art to you.
Obviously, this analogy breaks down.If you restrict your diet to only local food, in many parts of the world, you’ll never taste a mango or a papaya. And with music, if you’re an American, you’ll never hear the rich sounds of many British bands.
I do want you to come out to support your local musicians. (The band is The Bell Jar. Local to my town. And good.)
(Yes, I know you’re wondering, has Paul gotten into spam? No, I haven’t.)
During my last year of college, I made a bet with my roommate. It was a significant bet. It was perhaps the only real financial bet I’ve ever made (in the strict definition of betting). I bet him $100 that ten years after we graduated from college, I would be more into classical music than I was into rock.
It was based on my love affair with the Andante movement of Mozart’s 40th Symphony. To this day, in my opinion, it’s one of the finest musical creations ever. Even though I’ve heard it tons of times, it still evokes deep emotion within me.
But alas, I lost the bet. Rock is still my first love. If you like, compare rock to cotton candy (UK: candy floss), but it keeps me consistently coming back for more.
So Brian Wells, if you are reading this, shoot me an email and I’ll send you $100. (Sadly, I lost track of him several years ago.)