Saturday, November 1, 2008

On good concerts and being musical

EDIT: Check out this awesome footage from the concert; the action beings around 4:50.

I avoid writing reviews here, largely because I don't think I write them very well. So, this is not a review of tonight's Decemberists concert.

The Decemberists

This was the best concert I've been to in almost a year (since I saw TMBG last November, I've seen Jonathan Coulton + Paul and Storm twice, Electric Six, Rilo Kiley, and The Fratellis). The music was fabulous--and well-mixed--and Colin Meloy was hilarious and amazing. The way he engaged with the audience was awesome, and it was really exciting to be a part of it, even considering that I was sitting way up in the balcony, and most of my favorite songs didn't get played. Just, a terrifically fun experience (and keep an eye out on YouTube for a get-out-the-vote video we all made together!).

For me, the best concerts are those that give me a different experience than I get from listening to the studio tracks on my computer iPod, and what it omes down to is how and how well a band or musician manages to engage the audience. There are plenty of ways to do this--audience participation (clapping, stomping, callbacks), good banter, shaking things up somehow (improv, solos, etc). I admit, I'm a sucker for the audience participation; the reason I go to rock concerts to become a part of something bigger than myself, and getting to be part of the music, along with a whole bunch of other people, really does that for me.

Anyway, tonight's show really made me miss being a musician--or rather, an active musician. I no longer have any...formal? outlets for my musicality. Actually, that's a lie; my musicality comes out through my dancing, but it's not exactly the same thing. I played classical piano for 13 years, but I seldom play anymore. I used to play guitar and write songs and sing them at open mics; I wrote a song last year but I think I've forgotten how to play it by now and I didn't even bring my guitar to school this quarter. I was in a really goofy a cappella group for two years, but we fell apart due to a lack of interest in leadership. And, consequently, the only singing I do anymore is singing along with my computer.

Is it possible to find an outlet for this after I leave school? I don't know if I'd like to join a band. I don't know if I could find a choir I wanted to sing with. I don't know if I'll have the drive or inspiration to start writing music again. I won't have access to a piano. It's interesting, and quite sad, to think that something which was such a large part of my life for such a long time--making music--has almost entirely disappeared from it.

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