Friday, November 11, 2011

Music and the Realization That I am Getting OLD

I thank my brother who is ten years older than me for exposing me to great music at a very young age. (Despite the fact that seeing the cover of this album was pretty disturbing to me) One of the most influential albums was the Pretty in Pink soundtrack which included bands like The Psychedelic Furs, New Order and The Smiths, just to name a few. I credit this album with my later great taste in music. (However, I will shamefully admit to liking this song and buying the album. Check out the look that defines the word fierce at 1:17!)

In my twenties I went to my first big Concert. The Cure in Minneapolis. I went to a few other big concerts in that decade, The Smashing Pumpkins, The Cranberries. (I had a strict rule about only seeing bands with 'The' prefacing their name. Just kidding.) I also had the pleasure of seeing some great Canadian bands. One them was a band called The Gandharvas and I have to post the video because I think it has held up over time, as has the song.

However, they are not the band that inspired this post. That band is Big Sugar. I was lucky enough to see them twice in my twenties and again on Wednesday night. Before I talk about that, let me enlighten you.

The first time I saw Big Sugar play Gordie Johnson came out wearing tight leather pants and cowboy boots. Normally this would have made me roll my eyes. I didn't roll my eyes that night. They were promoting Hemi-Vision which I loved but I had NO idea how much my world would be rocked by experiencing them live. If a band puts out an album, you expect them to be competent musicians. I can honestly say that this is the only band I have seen live who has literally blown me away with their ability to play their instruments. Especially Gordie. It is awe inspiring to watch that man play guitar. The thing I found even more astounding, was how he connected with the audience. At least I felt connected. There were moments when our eyes met and volumes were spoken. The conversation went something like this...

Gordie - You're having a great time aren't you?
Me - You seriously have no idea.
Gordie - I'm having a great time too! I love my job! And I love that you are having a great time.

No joke. That's what we said. And believe me, I've seen a lot of bands in this place where I live. A place which would easily be one of the smallest on their tour list, a place that could easily have been skipped over. And it's been more common to see that look on performers faces wondering, why exactly it wasn't skipped. Why. are. we. here? And it's insulting. I bought my ticket. In a lot of cases I bought their album, maybe even an ill fitting t-shirt. I help to pay for them to do what they do. That's why all rolled into one, I fell in love with Big Sugar that night.

The second time I saw them it was when they were touring for Heated

which is my favorite Big Sugar album. The caliber of show was equal to the first time I'd seen them. Perhaps better. We shared the same glorious telepathic conversations and I basked in talent, beauty and Gordie's long black hair.

I was even lucky enough to run right into him coming off his bus on my way out and he graciously signed the tour booklet I'd purchased.

Fast forward to this week. In anticipation for the upcoming show I pulled out my albums and proceeded to rock out in my car everywhere I went. I also checked out a couple of their new songs, and was happy to find that they have remained consistently good. However I was faced with one glaring, unavoidable fact. They were older. It's ridiculous, I know but I admit to being surprised that they had aged. And then I was faced with the inevitable conclusion that this meant I too am older. I don't feel older, don't think I look that much older... then I went to the show. I took my spot at the front of the stage but I had to share it with three young men. At first I dismissed them as kids that were just there for the beer and live music. Once the band started to play in was apparent that they were fans. BIG fans. Belting out the lyrics beside me.

This spurred many emotions in me, mostly irrational ones. I felt some kind of warped ownership of the band, as though anyone who liked them should have to meet my approval. And I wasn't sure these kids did. After all, they must have been in Kindergarten when I saw Big Sugar last time. And there it was. I'm old. So there I stood. Feeling old, watching the band who is also old, next to kids who were probably wondering who the old lady beside them was and why she was fighting them for the front of the stage with such intensity.

After a while I didn't care because I got lost in really loud, genius guitar playing and telepathic conversations. It was comforting to find that in fact, they have only gotten better with age. Perhaps this is the case with me as well.

They finished the show with this song and I thrashed around with the reckless abandon of a twenty year old.


Lori said...

Oh darlin, I understand about the children at the show...hipsters. They think that once they've found something, it truly exists, because they believe that until they find it, it wasn't there. I was but a step back from you on the dance floor, I saw you hold your ground, and I saw, on the faces of those nearest you...admiration for the lady who appreciated and defended her precious real estate!! Honest. I saw it. As for being older than so many of them, both you and I were younger than so many more of them, and remember, it's the young ones who will happily spend money they can't afford on the shirts, the tickets, the swag, the things that make the trip worth it to the band's management. Basically, we tolerate the kids thinking they've found something new so that we can see once more the (aging but still amazing) bands we love. Yes, the band is older, and I totally understand the shock, but a) the alternative to older is most unpleasant, and b) older but still glad to be here in Podunk Nowhere...I'll take it!

elizasmom said...

Ohh, I forgot to comment. Dammit. Sorry. Anyway: I loved this post. I only marginally know this band's music (I had heard the last song but that's about it), but you nailed, for me, so much of what a really good concert brings up emotionally. I was right there with you. Great writing, and I'm so glad you had fun!