Archive for January, 2016

16
Jan
16

Nashville, The Features, and Skulls…

Your favorite artist consistently turns out new records. They have a sound and overall vibe you’ve come to expect. But they don’t stay the same. They’re always tweaking who they are as an act. Evolving helps them to stay in the game. Why make the same record twice? Each record presents itself a new opportunity for the listener, too. And when that opportunity is a visit to their hometown for a rock show, you bite. If you’re lucky, you string along a few friends to jump start the night. Or in my case, the weekend.

You take away the music, you remove so much; the trips, the random conversation, an unexpected local showing you the town, impersonating Prince amongst Nashvillians, etc. I learned on that first trip outta state to see a show that those opportunities should never be turned down. Ever. The show is the final destination, but it’s the journey leading up to the gig that creates timeless memories. Last weekend in Nashville, I was part of a modern-day classic in the making.

An act not featured enough on this rarely breathing blog was The Features. Why? It was once said they’re too tough to put into words and whatever was said wouldn’t be doing the band justice. Shit, no doubt it’s a tough endeavor. See them live, get lost in their records, it’s a fair statement. The truth? It’s the best band you’re not spinning. A quartet stringing together anthems of love, longing, family, and anything else that in the end really matters. Those themes are backed — formidably — by melodic sunshine, aggressive and danceable grooves, and a  passion and energy always ready to jump off.

My attendance at shows isn’t what it once was. And forget the now a days it’s quality over quantity, because at one point, rarely was I not at a show that was worth noting somewhere or generated conversation tomorrow and a week later, too. The objective of catching quality, intimate live music hasn’t changed, nor has the desire for antics — this past weekend further corroborates this. But today, priorities have evolved and every moment of this experience is special. Nothing is taken for granted. I got into music to be entertained aurally. Over time, I realized it’s so much more than something to hear. The Features and Nashville gave me a reason, countless, really, to continue to be a fan of music and every other opportunity and experience it creates.

05
Jan
16

An Epiphany…

Recently, I had over two weeks time to reacquaint myself with music. Nothing really has changed around here; music still drives my day — sure, its frequency and where and when I listen to it is different than when this blog had consistent posts. Not only do I get crabby when I’m hungry, it also happens when my day has been silent. With that time though, my day’s soundtrack was filled with classics, 2015 cuts, and hell, I even stepped into the world of the Beatles. This consistent listening simply made me happy. It drove me to want to go digging and find something new — forget that once you turn 33 you’re done enjoying new shit. I took the time to be an active listener and hear something that’s been there forever but really take the time to understand it. The phrase, “You like the beat and don’t give a damn about the lyrics” wasn’t uttered more than once here for no reason. Something hit me though this morning — odd timing with the topic of this post — that something as simple as hitting play on a favorite song or record can make you smile. Right now, I realized is a fuckin’ great time to be a music fan.

The accessibility of music helps. Although, if I had to pick truly why this resurgence in music recently hit me would be my time invested over the years curating what aurally sounds good has paid off. I, we, maybe even you, are fans of quality, worth hitting repeat on music. Music I know can jump start a day; turn some bad moment shit into worth noting that everything is going to be all right and maybe even great; give you a reason to hop on a flight to see an act you’ve been hungry for;  or, simply bring a day to a smile inducing close as you hit the lull playlist that someone else didn’t create, I did. And then the Internet goes ablaze with an official announcement from LCD Soundsystem on an imminent tour and new record. A band that was so much more than something to hear. They, and countless other acts, created instantly classic experiences. Like 20,000 fortunate folks, I was there. Madison Square Garden and LCD Soundsystem created a dizzying experience. Hell, I can be seen on the full concert DVD. I returned from that weekend, one that was filled with partying, rocking, and most importantly, living and wanted to make a change. That show and what it brought, set me off. I wanted to step away from where I was residing and find a way to make living in New York City a reality. It was short lived, fortunately. What’s transpired post that decision to stay local is beyond words based on my former self.

The letter itself, even if what is being promised didn’t become a reality, makes me proud to have been and still a fan today. It’s this section though that further corroborates how I felt this morning and most likely will continue to feel as 2016 starts with a bang:

the only thing we can do now is get back into the studio and finish this record, and make it as fucking good as we can possibly make it. it needs to be better than anything we’ve done before, in my mind, because it won’t have the help of being the first time. and we have to play better than we’ve ever played, frankly. every show has to be better than the best show we’ve played before for anyone to even say “well, that was good. i mean, not as good as they used to be. but, you know. it was good.” we know all that. which is healthy for us, because it means we go back to war, like in the beginning. for us it was always war, but now it’s really with ourselves.




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