How do you describe a feeling or experience? Okay, well obviously with words. But words just don’t cut it sometimes. This might be why corporations have made up slogans like “Generation Image” because we now rely so heavily on visual time capsules to immortalize each and every moment for us to relive over and over again.
With this blog, my attempt to find the words to place what I experience at live music shows is done to help solidly imprint them into the most precious vault there is, my mind.
Don’t get me wrong, I love photos, and, big surprise, I keep an avid journal, but I see these things as the necessary tools for keeping my visual memory in top form, because second to the experience itself, nothing beats closing your eyes and remembering it.
People often ask what prompted me to start writing about the shows I attend at Serenity Performing Arts Centre. To be honest, it just sort of happened. I write about a lot of things that I observe, experience or feel, and the shows just started to become a part of that narrative. But unlike the majority of my writing that I do strictly for my own therapeutic purposes, I started to see that there may be value in sharing my reflections on what was happening at Serenity, primarily to raise awareness about the uniqueness of the venue and also to showcase the caliber of artists performing there.
As for my opinions about the music, I have said it before and I will say it again, I consistently approach each show with the intention to enjoy myself and respect and appreciate what is being shared and communicated by the artist in that moment. I have my favourites of course, but I tend to keep that fairly close to my chest. And there is no question that my familiarity with a band can add to their appeal. The more I see them perform, listen to their albums, and in my lucky case, get to know them off the stage, the more personal their performance becomes. But isn’t that what every artist wants to achieve? To find a way for their music to become personal to an audience? Because this is what builds a career after all.
I was speaking to Greg Drummond after his show last week about the plans for releasing his new album, the marketing approach he is taking and how he is branding the new sound. I “talk shop” with many of the artists and find this side of their careers interesting, and there is no doubt those who are in this industry for the long haul are now required to have savvy business skills. But I also told Greg that I don’t want to think of him or anyone else as a product. I want to get lost in his show because I have made a conscious decision about liking him and his music. As much as artists need to take control of their careers, we as listeners need to take control much the same. We need to ask ourselves, “Are we just buying what they are selling?” or are we making a choice based on what we are connecting to on a real level with their music and persona. I think it is important to become more educated about artists and what they stand for, what they represent, and what they are choosing to spend their time writing about, and ask yourself “Do I relate to that?” It’s one thing to like a beat you hear on the radio, it’s another to spend your hard earned money to travel to their shows, buy their albums and merchandise, promote them to your friends and family and spend the spare time you don’t have writing about their music. That’s the difference. That’s what true connection is all about. It doesn’t matter how small of a fan base they start out with, every band starts out with a few fans, it’s nurturing the connection they have with those few that can turn a spark into a fire. How large that fire becomes is dependent on so many variables, including relentless hard work, that elusive hit song, and let’s not forget, a little bit of luck.
I hope these pieces help even a few people feel closer to the artists they have chosen to connect to and whose music has made a significant impression on their lives. We should never underestimate what music can do, from expanding our hearts to influencing our innermost selves. It truly is a beautiful gift.
Photo courtesy of Greenscapes Photography (That’s my son by the way, he is 4 years old. To say he has a passion for music is the understatement of the year. Since infancy he has connected with music in a way that has given him a foundation of self that I am still striving to find as an adult. Talk about a gift.).