The Joy of Live Music

Along with our civil liberties, a casualty of The Age of The Virus has been live music.  I’ve written about the strains the lockdowns placed on musicians frequently (including my many Bandcamp Friday posts), and have even hosted two front porch concerts to get around venue closures (and, it seems, the increasing number of venues that simply haven’t restored live music to their operations).

Fortunately, South Carolina is a free State, and live music is making a real comeback.  Indeed, I had the opportunity to hear my buddy, poet Jeremy Miles, play a gig with his new band, Jeremy and the Blissters, at a hopping coffee shop Friday evening.

The experience was electric—and not just because of the piping hot sound system and stacks of amplifiers.  The band—which, in addition to Jeremy, consists of good friends from the local music scene, two of whom have opened my front porch concerts—was stunning and powerful, offering up an eclectic mix of New Wave, punk, pop, acid rock, and more.

Beyond their impressive musical prowess and sweeping repertoire, Jeremy’s group reminded me of how fun live music can be—and how desperately we need more of it to return.

Good, local live music is about the music—of course—but it’s also about the camaraderie and community that builds around the music.  At Jeremy’s gig Friday evening, I saw musician friends I had not seen in months—or even in a year.  Reconnecting with those friends was a wonderful opportunity to get updated on their musical and literary projects, and sparked conversations about collaborations past and future.

Hearing live music is also creatively stimulating.  Listening to and watching other musicians having fun and playing well always inspires me to hone my own craft.  Indeed, my buddy John and I should be resuming rehearsals tonight to get ready for this year’s Spooktacular.  I’m excited to get back to jamming, and am inspired to put on a good show in October.  The gears have been turning, too, and I’ve been coming up with ideas for song selection, programming, and staging since Friday.

The benefits of live music extend to non-musicians, too.  Even folks who can’t carry a tune in a slop pale love to sing along to beloved songs.  There is a real sense of joy and energy when a crowd is really into the music.  As a musician, that sense of electricity is incredibly gratifying.  I’ve found that if I put out that excitement and energy, the crowd will pick up on it and respond in kind, creating a positive feedback loop of good vibes.

I don’t get out as much to hear or to play live music as I used to, both because of The Age of The Virus and because I’m getting older—usually I am wiped out in the evenings, and I very much cherish my alone time at home—but I hope to make going out to listen to others play a more regular occurrence.  I’m also jonesing to get out and play some gigs of my own again.

If you’re fortunate enough to live somewhere that allows venues to be open, go take in some live music.  It’s not all great, but you’ll find some diamonds in the rough.  Be sure to leave your musicians a tip, too.


44 thoughts on “The Joy of Live Music

  1. Had a brilliant idea while reading this fun article. I would highly, greatly, suggest getting someone to tape this year’s Spooktacular and posting it on The Portly Politico. Our cousins, especially 39, would enjoy it and so would I – just to name two. It might also stir up donations to the tip jar.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Getting older?! You’re 35, man! You’ve got quite a few more years before you can rightly complain about your age. I’m 43 and even I know I can’t feasibly complain about it for another 7 years! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Live music is brilliant. I’m not, nor have I ever, been a fan of big concerts. I prefer small gigs, where you’re in touching distance of the stage – or bar! We had some crazy gigs at university but I much prefer sitting with a pint watching one man and his guitar. There was a pub in Bangor near the pier that used to do lock ins and people would show up with their instruments and all just randomly play. Some times, someone would get up and sing a song, other times, someone would strike up a tune and we’d play from 11 at night until 6 in the morning. When I was still learning to play guitar, I was encouraged to go down and knock off a few chords which I did and others joined in too. It was great fun.

    There’s a place just up the road from us that does open mic and I keep meaning to dust off my guitar and play there. I’ve never done open mic before but I want to add music to some of the poems Tina’s late dad left and after hearing Harvest Moon recently, I really want to learn how to play it – my singing voice on its own isn’t much cop but with my guitar, I can really belt a tune out. Something to think about over the next few months.

    I noticed, by the way, on your Twitter account, you describe yourself as a ‘piano based pop rocker.’ That sounds a lot like early Muse. Their first two, Showbiz and Origins of Symmetry, were heavily piano based. If you don’t have those albums, put them on your to buy list.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’m actually 36, my good man, closing in on 37 (come January 2022). I can feel my ill-spent youth fading more and more. Wasted years! Wasted years! : D

      You would love open mic. Every one I have ever attended around these parts has been very welcoming and supportive, and I’ve made a lot of great friends through them. They’ve also helped me get my music out there, and I’ve booked several gigs and picked up a number of private students just from playing.

      Setting your late father-in-law’s poems to music would be a wonderful tribute to him, and a fun challenge. I’ve been thinking of trying the same thing, setting someone else’s poetry to music. It’s a difficult skill, but one that is very common in the English chorale and musical tradition. Most of our our favorite Christmas carols began that way.

      Thanks for the album suggestions. I do like Muse. I’ve been compared to Ben Folds, Meat Loaf, Elton John, Billy Joel, and (by the old ladies at church) Liberace. I appreciate the last one musically, though it got me wondering if I’m _too_ flamboyant. Gulp!

      Liked by 3 people

      • 🙂 🙂 🙂

        You don’t come across to me as a Liberace type but I only know you from your comments here – what do I know?! 🙂

        Setting music to someone else’s writing will always be a challenge but it helps once you grab the main feeling behind the work or, in those fortunate circumstances, happen to know the character of the writer. I know what sound I’m looking for, it’ll just be a case of getting it down. I’ll definitely need to put the capo up two or three frets – it needs to be upbeat.

        It’d be like putting music to someone you know rather than a piece of work they’d written. Take Audre, for example. Young, free spirited, patriotic, pious, intelligent but a little mischievous – you could pull a fun song from her! 🙂

        Your musical influences – or those attributed to you – intrigue me. I’m looking forward to hearing some of your stuff.

        Liked by 3 people

      • (blushing profusely …)

        Here’s one for ya – sung to the tune of Happy Birthday:
        You know Audre, too?
        I know Audre, too.
        Like all the monkeys, she should be in a zoo.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. By the way, Tyler, I don’t know if you’ve found the time to play Little Nightmares yet but if you have, and love it like we do, you’ll be amazed at what they’ve got in store for the second one. We started on it the other day and if the first one tingles the spine, the second will have you playing behind your fingers. We thought the Granny, from the first game, was creepy but in comparison to the Teacher, she’s as cuddly as one of those Nomes.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I haven’t had the opportunity, unfortunately. I spent most of the weekend working, either in my yard or on school stuff. It’s been a bit much, honestly. But I very much want to play the game. Here’s hoping I’ll have some free time coming up soon. Tomorrow we have a half-day of school, followed by parent-teacher conferences. I’m hoping that if I don’t have too many conferences, I can book it on home at a reasonable hour.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. PS4’s are quite cheap now, Audre, and the games are easy enough to play. LN’s 1 and 2 don’t have small visuals, which other games do, that make it harder to control so you’ll be fine.

    Off topic but I’m quite excited about tomorrow. Our CW pub meet, which started off with one other poster and is now up to 3, can now count Bruce Mills in. We’re really looking forward to it. I keep getting emails from other posters outside the county who can’t attend but want to so I’ve suggested they look to set up something in their own areas. Barring that, I have wondered whether it might be beneficial for Margaret and Kathy to set something up, as a centralised meet over a couple of days where we can all attend. If they did it as a fundraiser, it could be highly beneficial to the site. I may broach that at some point. Margaret mailed me recently and said she was gutted she couldn’t attend and I got an email from Oaknash the other day, saying the same thing. Fingers crossed, the numbers grow as our meets occur more often.

    Liked by 3 people

    • A CW pub meet sounds brilliant! Wish I were there to join in on the fun. Maybe one day we’ll have a Stateside version, with Audre, Neo, and myself meeting up at some Cracker Barrel or Chili’s just off the Interstate (that’s the American equivalent of your quaint pubs—soulless corporate chains [although, honestly, I love both Cracker Barrel and Chili’s]).

      Liked by 3 people

      • I suggested that to Amie Holliday, an American who comments on TCW. To my knowledge, there are about 8 or 9 Americans who post on the site (though one of them could be happily discarded in that scenario) who would get a kick from meeting in America – Amie seemed to like the idea. I think she said she was in Virginia, there’s a New Yorker there, two in Florida, I can’t remember where the rest are and there’s a commenter called David whose state I can’t recall for the life of me – maybe his site could give us an indication? 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  5. If folks don’t mind, it would be awesome if you could take pictures. Now … you know I don’t know anything about England but bear with me while I develope this idea: in the States, it costs $150 a year for a Zoom account. If someone had a laptop and a Zoom account, everybody with a camera could join the actual attendees and we could all be together. I’d be willing to contribute toward the Zoom – of course, we’d have to find out how long it would take an American check to clear a British bank, but you get the idea.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I’d have to broach that with other attendees. Personally, I wouldn’t mind – though it could be slightly awkward, having to look at a screen every so often – but I know at least one of our attendees is very strict on privacy. I’m taking my camera tomorrow but I won’t take pictures without permission. Hopefully, they’re all okay with it.

    Liked by 3 people

      • It’s fascinating, Ponty. It’s the log tape of a manhattan fire dispatcher (and a very good one) on 9/11. I made it halfway, but I’ve been using two-way radio all my life, so its fairly easy for me to understand YMMV.

        Heh/ I’m not all that fond of Chillis but Cracker Barrel is always on my list, as is Waffle House, unless there’s a diner handy.

        And speaking of putting poetry to music, I picked up this earworm this morning.

        This is the same guy that wrote the Superman theme that came out on 9/11/01.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Thanks Neo.

    I’ll put both on in the morning while I’m getting ready. Getting ready…it’s always a half an hour job. Even when I was teaching or working in an office – SSS and clothes on in no time at all. The idea of being a woman, spending half the day figuring out what to wear, another half getting ready and then realising everything is shut, would drive me crazy. How do they manage?! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ahem … Allow me to step in here … including clothing and makeup, I can be ready to go out the door in 15 minutes flat. Takes Lon at least half an hour and that’s on the shower-less mornings.

      Liked by 2 people

      • You’re in the minority there, Audre.

        After Tina wades through a sea of black and complains that she’s got nothing to wear, despite owning 95% of the clothing in our house, it then takes her hours before she’s ready and then she whines that she looks awful. From what I remember of the women I’ve met throughout my time, Tina makes up pretty much 99% of them so you are massively in the minority.

        Liked by 2 people

    • I used to roll out of bed, brush my teeth, slap on deodorant, and head to class (I’d shower the night before) when I was in college. It was a five-minute process.

      Now, it pretty much takes me an hour in the morning. The shower and such is quick, but I find if I do _anything_ besides shower, use the bathroom, and eat breakfast, it magically eats up twenty minutes of time. Even getting dressed takes longer than I think it will.

      Honestly, I’m not dilly-dallying. I’m not sure what it is. I will say that, since getting Murphy, I have apparently streamlined my morning routine. I take a shower as soon as I get up, instead of waiting until after breakfast. I think that’s made a huge difference: I would delay taking that shower before; now, I’m showered and dressed within fifteen minutes of waking up, and everything from there is just getting it done so I can get out the door to work.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I love my Tina and she knows I’m making observations – even though she is telling me to shut up! 🙂 🙂

    Signing off for the day. See you tomorrow. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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