Wednesday, November 17, 2010
we're inviting you anyways ...
I'm not sure how well I can put all of this into words. A lot of people think I'm crazy or immature because of my deep, borderline obsessiveness with the music that I love. From the thousands of cds I own, to the hundreds of bands that I have seen in concert, my words, my writing, my home, and frequently my mind are all a testament to a deep seeded love that goes back to my very early youth. My mother jokes that this is all her fault for placing headphones on her pregnant belly.
While my taste has continually evolved over the course of almost 37 years, I have never turned my back on anything I love. Whether it is trendy to love, utter cheese, or something random and obscure, I've never quite grasped the concept of "guilty pleasures". If I love something, I love it, whether it's Kurt Weill, Motley Crue, David Bowie, Boy George, Minor Threat, or Pink.
Although I'm always stumbling onto music that I fall in love with, it's extremely rare to come across an artist that truly gets to the core. That "goose bumps, tears in the eyes, shit eating grin" moment of joy I get when a song or musician kicks me in the gut. I was familiar with The Cure from their videos on 120 Minutes in the late 80's. If you were a little adventurous and weird, they were the go to band during that time. However, it wasn't until I heard DISINTEGRATION that I was absolutely overtaken by an album. It was such a profound moment for me and one that still stands to this day. After 21 years, 2 cassettes, 2 cds, vinyl, reissues, etc, it is still an album that I get lost in. I've seen them 3 times and it's always been such a moment for me. My fiance actually proposed to me during their show the last time I saw them.
I was completely certain that no other band or artist could affect me in that way, to that degree. Sure, the music of The Smiths, Joy Division, Tom Waits, Nina Simone, etc all have a special kind of hold and magic on me, but nothing quite touched that feeling that The Cure gave me.
In the early 2000's, I heard stories about this "weird" band from Boston who were taking Weimer Republic ideas of art and performance and melding it with a do it yourself, we're all a part of it, punk spirit. Being a huge fan of the free spirited, sexually liberated, art vs. camp spirit of cabaret, as well as just a big dorky goth/punk goof, it was something I knew I had to check out. While "Coin Operated Boy" was a creepy/cute little ditty, I put it aside and would break them out from time to time. It took the release of their second studio album, YES, VIRGINIA, for me to really take stock of what they were doing. I began to actually listen. Underneath this truly original melding of influences were two amazing musicians writing some of the most heart wrenchingly clever songs that I had ever heard. Beyond giving Kurt Weill a postmodern spin, these songs spoke to the outcast, weirdo fuck ups. The were love songs for the disenfranchised that while dark, and sometimes very angry, had a non sentimental glimmer of hope. Things may be shit, love is often nothing more than a rapidly drying wet spot on an old mattress, and the world may not fucking understand, but there are other fuck ups who know. There is music, and art, and books, and film, and those brief, often rare moments in life that make being a freak the most beautiful thing in the world.
Last night, that moment lasted two and a half hours. Although, I had seen them a few years ago, last night's performance was like nothing else. After a 4 hour drive from Kansas City to St. Louis, 5 to the car, we were all amped up and excited, but a bit worn out from the drive. From the moment they walked on stage until the final fade of their encore, this was truly one of "those" moments. It's rare to see a band so tight and on, while still being casual enough to carry on conversations with the audience, take requests, and joke around. Their shows are less like "concerts" and more like an amazing night with friends. At the risk of sounding like hippie bullshit, the sense of community and oneness in the crowd and with Amanda and Brian is unlike anything that I have ever experienced at the hundreds of concerts and shows that I have been to. From dark ballads to anthems, from intense walls of sound to playful covers, there was no moment that I wasn't completely involved. In a night full of friends, jokes, incredible music, and emotion, there was one, however, that truly outshines them all. The opening strains of "Sing" gives me goosebumps just sitting in my living room. Coming full circle from their opening cover of T. Rex's similiar in spirit "Cosmic Dancer", hearing a theater full of people singing their guts out to "Sing" and its lyrics about the transcendent power of music, singing regardless of whether anyone thinks you can, and that losing yourself in something that you love, no matter how shitty the world is around you, was, for lack of a non sentimental word, absolutely fucking magic. I stood there, goosebumps, tears in my eyes as one of those "motherfuckers" singing my guts out, today, as well as someday.
Last night I felt like a kid again. Ignoring things like the 4 hour drive back home, my unemployment, money, my weight, being cool enough, that I can't marry the man I love, my frustrations. Losing myself completely and totally in a moment. Losing myself in the music that I love. This may not be profound, or deep. It may even come across silly to a lot of people. I don't care. This is my love letter and my thank you note to my amazing fiance, Michael, my best friend Kendra, and my new friends Cynder and Sam for being there with me, as well as to Amanda and Brian for continuing to stir up that passion and joy inside of me. I am turning 37 next month, but last night, I was 16 years old and full of hope, love, and optimism. Thank you...
there is this thing that's like touching except you don't touch
back in the day it just went without saying at all
all the world's history gradually dying of shock
there is this thing that's like talking except you don't talk
sing for the bartender sing for the janitor sing
sing for the cameras sing for the animals sing
sing for the children shooting the children sing
sing for the teachers who told you that you couldn't sing
there is this thing keeping everyone's lungs and lips locked
it is called fear and it's seeing a great renaissance
after the show you can not sing wherever you want
but for now let's just pretend we're all gonna get bombed
sing 'cause it's obvious sing for the astronauts sing
sing for the president sing for the terrorists sing
sing for the soccer team sing for the janjaweed sing
sing for the kid with the phone who refuses to sing
life is no cabaret
we don't care what you say
we're inviting you anyways
you motherfuckers you'll sing someday...