Monday, June 2, 2008

Because Nothing Is More Beautiful

When people ask my why I want to make a living doing something related to the supposedly dying music industry I always try to explain myself. "I don't think the music industry is dying at all," I begin. "It's only changing, and because of that I can't think of a more exciting time to be part of what could potentially be a rebirth." Then, as a side note, I usually add something cliched like, "Plus, I just love music and always have."

But even that answer isn't entirely faithful to what I feel. If I were being true and complete in my answer my response would take the form of a story, a story that would probably begin something like this...

Once upon a time (last night) I went to see Rilo Kiley at the Calvin in Northampton. Nik Freitas and Thao with The Get Down Stay Down opened, and as I settled in my seat and looked on the stage for the first time that night I felt my heart quicken. "I'm here," I thought to myself. And by 'here' I really meant home. Not the home where I sleep or eat, but the place where I know I will always feel totally and completely happy.

As soon as Thao with The Get Down Stay Down struck a chord I felt totally and completely at peace. It was as if all the logistics of the real world had dissipated and all that was left was everyone in that very moment. Thao's voice echoed through the venue and reverberated through my body as she stood on stage, keeping time in her high heels with slight sideways kicks. It was as if the people shaking on stage were pumping energy into the rest of the room and the people that filled it. A grin spread over my face and I felt overwhelmed with happiness. I was immersed in song, freed by the lyrics, and suspended in every note.

That's what I love about concerts, the way they so easily transport a room of people to the same place. The main act communicates with hundreds at once, and when everyone sings along or claps to the rhythm they are bonded and truly together. It's unspoken, but when a room full of individuals know the same song it means they've invested a part of their life into that piece of music. It's special to them, a shared experience. Very rarely can you find a place where such a diverse group is so aligned, but I think that's the magic of music. In some ways I think it's how we can save humanity. People relate to songs for all kinds of reasons, but the bottom line is that at a concert everyone relates. Time stops, you're sucked in, and all that matters is the music.

In the end there's nothing more beautiful than that.

Today's feature band is of course, Thao and the Get Down Stay Down. "Bag of Hammers" will always have a special place in my heart for what it was to me before the concert (a dance around the house and be happy song on constant repeat for some time), but even more so for what it became last night. It was during this song, right after Thao had finished beat boxing the introduction (unfortunately that's not on this video) that I realized that home for me is not a place. Home is a series of vibrations that bring back memories, pull you into the moment, and unite you with everyone else who is listening. And home, by chance, is also what I want to do with the rest of my life.

So listen and enjoy. Music is sacred.

Here's another Thao with The Get Down Stay Down song. It's live, and called "Health Life and Fire." It doesn't sound as great as they do live, but it's a taste of what they do with their sound and how they're so innovative.

And if you haven't fallen in love with Thao with The Get Down Stay Down then check out Thao's podcast. You've got to love someone who uses the word "procured" when describing hoodies, and the phrase "I had in my possession..." when telling a story. And in case you didn't see it the first time, they appended "Bag of Hammers" to the end of this video