There’s something totally magical about seeing a band see the crowd. When you realize you’re watching the band realize that you (the audience) are completely in love with them.
Thomas Nagel wrote about Sexual Perversion in 1979… here’s how my old professor, Roy Sorenson, describes what Nagel says:
“In addition to being aroused by Juliet, Romeo is aroused by Juliet’s being aroused, and Juliet’s being aroused by Romeo’s being aroused by Juliet’s being aroused, and so on.”
Something like that happens at a really great concert, between the crowd and the performer. It’s why we see live music – for the off chance that we might get to experience that.
Tonight I went to see a friend’s band, areyougone. He and I have talked a lot about music, so it shouldn’t be surprising that I liked the band – they were playing pretty exactly the kind of band I want to like: country-themed shoegaze. Apparently we’re calling it “Spaghetti Western” now.
Afterwards the guy from Highway had a solo acoustic set. I don’t have a lot of vocabulary to describe guys with acoustic guitars without bands, but he reminded me a lot of a Woodie Guthrie song I just heard again, and he was fucking great.
I talked for a bit with Colin, the bass player for The BJM after Highway’s set. Turns out he’s from Portland (I think I knew that) and playing in a Spaghetti Western band called Federale. I asked him about the heckling at BJM shows, and he says it’s died down a bit – that they’ve moved past that. Which is great to hear because as funny as the juxtaposition of super violent heckling and counter-heckling with slow sad love songs was, I’d really prefer to just hear the songs.
Then 1776 played. And the crowd totally adored them. It was amazing to be a part of. It was a tiny venue, and really not that remarkable, except for the moment after the first song where the band all kind of looked up in shock at the volume of applause. And they deserved it – they were great, and they killed it tonight. Kinks-esque rock, totally tight and with great songwriting.
Courtney Taylor*2 from the Dandys was there – Pete plays in Highway when they’re a band, and Courtney knew one of the guys in 1776. And I thought about the fact that seeing them in Amsterdam in 2001, and seeing them realize how apeshit for them the crowd was, made me understand why we see live music. I kind of regret not telling him “Your band taught me why we see live music.”