Thoughts of music after a wonderful concert (written Sep. 19th, 2012)

I really need to get to more concerts.  I realized last night what the difference is between listening to the music on your iPod or CD player.  The quality is usually better from the studio, but what you don’t get to see is the faces of the musicians as they play their music.  Stage AE in Pittsburgh was a wonderful venue.  Even though you had to stand there were no bad spots.  There couldn’t have been more than 1000 people there and we were standing only 20 ft away from the performers.  You could see their facial expressions, you could see their hands move, their feet move.

Art comes in a number of forms but for me music and dance are different because they allow us to see the expression through the human form which I find to be ultimately more inspiring somehow.  I’m sure a lover of other art forms such a paintings, or sculpture would say that they love to see the expression captured in a stationary object that seems to come alive as a result of the artists expression.  I suppose these things come down to preference.  For me the connection between movement and music and then music to poetry stimulates my soul and intellect in a way that I cannot fully explain.

Both the opening band and the main attraction were wonderful last night, but in completely different ways.  Half Moon Run was the opening band.  From their first chord you could tell that these were musicians, serious about their music, hell bent on finding a way to express their souls through the medium of music.  By looking at them you could see how lost in their music they were.  It was as though they didn’t think of as an audience but simply a group of friends they had over to their house for intimate gathering.  One of those parties where maybe there is some sort of fire, good conversation, and some good wine, and then as the evening draws late somebody picks up a guitar, sits down at a set of drums, and then you hear the voices singing in harmony, with feeling, and with soul and you know your conversation is over and that you have to listen.  It all feels intimate and you feel closer to the person you are standing next to.  I tend to be drawn to bands with good harmonies and their harmonies, live I might add, were flawless.  Good harmony turns the voice into an additional instrument.  It tells the audience we may be 3 individuals, but at this moment in the song we are one, what we have to say or what we have to express is a collective and it is beautiful and you really have to hear it.  And you have no choice but to agree.  These guys were fantastic.  So good you hope they don’t become famous because I know I’ll have to see them again, and I’d hate to have to be so far away from them because they are beautiful to watch.

If Half Moon Run was the end of an evening, the main attraction, Metric, was like dawning of a new day.  Full of energy.  A force that propelled you to move and yet at the same time you knew it was exactly what you wanted to do.  Metric uses synths a lot, and for a lot of people this is often turns people off, but synths have come a long way since the 80’s and make no mistake the members of Metric are artists when it comes to making music.  Their set was much more of a show, a performance.  The knew the audience, they loved the audience and their music was a spectacle for all the senses.  Emily Haines is an excellent lyricist.  Her words are expressive and her voice makes her ideas soar.  Their music itself is not as strong as Half Moon Run but it’s not trying to be.  Everything about their music is genuine, the band is their music and that’s really the most important thing you can ask for from a musician.  You may not like it, but they are creating what they want to create which is why their music is not “pop” music.  And if you pay attention you can see that it is more complex than your average pop song.  Emily Haines in my age and the energy she brings to the stage heartens me that age does not matter because when there is music you can be young, or really be any age you want.

The important thing is to engage yourself in music.  If you can’t make music yourself, go see someone play.  Solo or in a band.  Get as close as you possibly can to them so that you can excite more than just your ears.  Wonderful musicians are incredible to watch.  Music is a great way to lose yourself for awhile and just immerse yourself in beauty.

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