By 'this', I mean music. We go see music together. It was something that I did before I met Michael, and something he did before he met me, and now it is something that we enjoy doing together. It was a shared love that, in the beginning, helped to bring us around to each other. Kind of a "You can trust me---I like candy too!" quality that made it easier for a wallflower like me to relate to another hominid. And it is a love that has assisted us many times in finding our way together since then.
It is not something that we are likely to ever give up.
. . . I know that this probably won't make sense to everyone. After all, I am, for all intents and purposes, a suburban housewife. (Just looking at that phrase in print is unbelievably strange. That term describes me. Unreal. Moving on.) My husband goes to his job every day, he is dedicated, and he works hard. I take care of a toddler, and often a 6 year old, too. I play games, and make grilled cheeses, read bedtime stories, and change diapers. We are parents. We are responsible friends and neighbors. We are members of the freaking Home Owner's Association. And yesterday we got a babysitter so that we could spend our evening in an eclectic little bar, where we MIGHT'VE been some of the oldest in attendance (some would say 'old enough to know better'), just so we could see some music and get home well after midnight on a Thursday evening.
If I was trying to explain why we did this, all I would be able to come up with would be: It was important.
We went, primarily, to show support for a friend. He is a singer/songwriter, a caring father, and an all-around nice guy, and possibly and quite probably related to my husband in some not-too-distant fashion. We've been promising him we would catch one of his shows for ages, and last night we decided to make it happen.
So we showed up at Bottletree around 9-ish, and not too long after that the first band went on. Voices In the Trees.
I'm not ashamed to say that I had never heard of them before. (I'm a music-lover, but I am nowhere even CLOSE to being hip. You'd do well to never confuse the two.) I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with their performance. Not that their style, which I think can best, and most fairly, be described as "schizophrenic", was exactly suited to my tastes. Because it was not. Truth be told, each member of their 5-piece ensemble seemed as if they could easily ALSO belong to another band of a different genre entirely. And their lead singer, to MY mind at least, was an impressive amalgamation of Fiona Apple and mythical banshee.
I probably won't be purchasing a CD.
But I enjoyed their set all the same. Because last night I sat there and watched 5 people from five seemingly different walks of life get on stage and (sometimes DESPERATELY) express themselves. They got up there and CREATED something together. And so what if it only lasted the length of a song? It happened.
Human beings are strange and complex creatures, and these five decided to stand in front of some of their own and just wrench some emotion out of thin air.
You have to marvel at that. And, if you're me, you have no choice but to respect the hell out of it.
Next up was Baak Gwai. (Pronounced, to the best of my knowledge, as 'bok-gwy'. But I could be wrong. I could look it up, I guess, but I'm a woman with things to do. And you didn't come here to be coddled.)
I have been peripherally aware of them for some time now, but last night was the first chance I'd ever had to see them perform. Let me just say it: I was impressed.
They gave an unassuming, refreshingly real performance that I would just describe as awesome rock. You didn't feel that they were there to impress you, and that they would've probably given the same happy performance if no one had been watching at all.
I like that.
They reminded me a little bit of early Pavement, back when Pavement kept it real. . . .And it is entirely possible that they would consider that last sentence to be slanderous. They are likely far more hip and gritty than I have ever been or will ever be. Or possibly not. (The lead singer WAS wearing a snuggy hat, that he made a point of telling us was a Christmas gift, so. . . I dunno. I tend to trust folks like that.)
My revue? They were fun, and talented, and awesome. I wanna see them again.
Finally we came to the last performance of the night, which was our friend (and possibly distant relation) Justin Turberville and Future Enemies.
And it is at this point that my fingers are getting tongue-tied.
Their performance was incredible. I feel like I just need to get that out of the way to begin with. Because it WAS.
If it hadn't been, I would probably still be kind about it, because I'm not one to try to tear down hardworking musicians. But it is a comfort to me that I can honestly say it was a great show. (I'm a straight-shooter like that. That's what old men often say about me, in fictionalized situations in my head: 'That girl's a straight-shooter.' So you can trust my opinion.)
But it was really just a beautiful thing to watch them play.
And as we were standing there, with the bass echoing in my gut and teeth, and only a few feet away from the stage, but still BEHIND Justin's dad, I realized: This is why we go to shows, and why we always will.
Justin is a musician, and a damned talented one at that. I would be hard-pressed to come up with an instrument that he could not make music with. To my knowledge, (and I could be wrong, but don't think I am) he does not have a 'day job.' He is a MUSICIAN. It's what he does for a living. It's what he does for groceries, and gas money, and for pure joy. And so we stood there last night, and let him speak to us.
We learned a lot.
We related a lot.
We shared some happies, and some sads, and some gut-wrenchers. And there were many, many moments of: "Damn. Yep--I've been THERE." Which is, for ME at least, the very definition of what a good musician does.
Musically speaking, one of the most impressive things about his music to me was the fact that JUST when I thought I knew where he was going. . . he wasn't. He took us somewhere else. You thought you had the song scape all mapped out, and then he changed it.
Because it was his.
And he was telling HIS story. And that's really just the only way to do it.
It was honest, and imperfect, and just stunningly beautiful.
And yes. I WILL be seeing him play again.
Possibly in my garage, after we have all stuffed ourselves on some grilled delicacy that Michael has prepared (but no shellfish, as we do NOT want him to die), but preferably in another bar-type setting.
I am not a betting woman.
But you could probably take this one to the bank.
. . .When I was about 11 or 12 years old, I started writing poetry. (Mostly 12 year old type stuff, largely self-involved and whiny, and nothing worth sharing here.) But through it, I learned that my greatest fear in life was that I would come to the end of it and realize that I had not lived. That I had not noticed it, or appreciated the struggles AND the joys, had not actually EXPERIENCED the sadnesses and the exhilaration, and had just skated through and let it pass me by.
This was the most horrifying thing I could imagine at the time.
And it probably still is.
But, through books, and music, and people like Justin ---who go out there and DO IT, and make the effort, and KEEP DOING IT even when it might sometimes be easier to stop --- I have decided that I don't think that will be my fate. Through THOSE things, I have lived a thousand lives.
I have felt the pain, and I have related to others who have, too.
I have shared the joys with them, their triumphs, and their smashing failures. I've been there for the biggest events in their lives, some of which closely mirror my own. And I've been there because they CHOSE to let me in.
And, as I have mentioned, I have stood close enough to the stage to feel it resonate throughout my entire body.
And I have seen a grown-ass man stand 6 feet away from a stage his son was playing on, and not move from that spot for the ENTIRE PERFORMANCE. If there hadn't been another soul in the room, I don't know that either man would've noticed, or cared.
And THAT is beauty.
And I just feel so damned lucky that I got to see it.
I saw it last night.
And I honestly almost cried.
. . .
Because sometimes. . . sometimes there really IS such DEEP beauty in this world that you just don't know what to do with it.
You have to be paying attention, though. And sometimes you have to leave your living room for it. But if a hermitzed, antisocial coffee-junkie like ME can do it, I'm fairly sure anyone can.
You experience things through music.
Yes. It was important.
And THIS is why we do it.
It is why we always will.