It's like Sex and the Suburbs and 30 Rock all rolled into one…
Through pure happenstance I found out that a good friend of mine also attended The Hold Steady show at the Linda in April. It was because I decided today that I am pretty confident their single The Weekenders might be one of my favorite songs of all time. The more I listen to it, man the more I love it. But thinking back to the show, as we chatted, I remembered one really important thing: the crowd was dead. Sure there were a lot of bros and trixies there, probably because it was a big name band and they went because it was a thing to do. I don’t really think that The Hold Steady is really their thing. Despite putting on a great show – come on, they blew the speakers out or something – I just remember the crowd not dancing. In fact when my friend mentioned he had to encourage people to cheer for an encore, I could immediately place him. He was one of the few really into the show.
I sort of sat back and thought about myself. To the casual observer I might have seemed like I wasn’t a fan or didn’t like the music. See, there I stood in my short short skirt, tank and suit jacket (yeah, this is kinda my go to going out outfit in the spring), standing perfectly comfortable in my Frye boots. Sure, my head bopped to the music, and I might have swayed a bit, but I certainly was not in the thick of it, raging on the floor.I used to be right up front for every show. My late teens and early twenties were defined by seeing as many shows as I possibly could. I made friends with some local bands and musicians too; I really liked seeing them play. I still do. But the thing of it is, something in me changed. Not sure what it is, but I like to sit back and really take things in.
I love live music. The variations of the music, the warm sounds that we miss by amping things up, the interaction with the crowd – all of it you don’t get from a recording. Today’s CD’s lack the intimacy of old vinyl recordings, but it’s something you can sort of get by seeing a live show. It’s all about imperfections. Studio recorded music is, these days, meant to be perfect. Live performances cannot be. (I know, I know, I sound like an old woman talking about how many miles she had to walk to school.)
The thing of it is, I miss those days of raging to some great live music. Well, a little. Or maybe a good amount. I’m torn you see. On one hand, rocking hard was always fun and anyone I know who plays in a band has said that they like crowds with good energy. On the other hand, there’s nothing more relaxing to me than kicking back and listening to some amazing music. Even at home, when stressed, I will lay on my couch and listen to one of my favorite albums. The same goes with shows – the better they are, the more inclined I am to lean contentedly against the wall, sometimes eyes half-closed, tapping my foot a bit. It might not be the explosive catharsis that being in the midst of the crowd brings, but these days I’m not necessarily looking for that. I want to savor great performances. Still, I miss being that girl consumed by the music. Maybe I’m still her?