I have learned a few integral things during this “year of music” (my own declaration of this new year in my life since my birthday in late March). One is that albums should be listened in their entirety, over and over, until you know the songs backwards and forwards, enough to sing-a-long to them, have interchanging favorites, and memories that imprint on them. This is how I used to consume music, back when going to the record store was my true love and obsession, and I would come home with a stack of vinyl that I would unwrap and unravel, lying on the floor reading lyrics and liner notes, as the album spun on my stereo (giant speakers included). Sure, I fell hard for mix tapes, which evolved into mix CD’s, and later became endless playlists, but those relationships I forged with albums as a whole, well I missed that, and have reunited with it recently. Part of this has come from my newly acquired addiction to buying vinyl (again), part of it due to my weekly new album release posts, but mostly, it is borne from me missing experiencing music this way.
The other lesson I’ve learned this “year of music” is that there is nothing – absolutely nothing – like live music. Being in the crowd at a concert is better than sex, better than kissing, better than coffee, better than double-features, better than road trips, better than letters in the mail, jukeboxes and used bookstores, and even the ocean. Yes, yes, I know I just listed so many things I LOVE, but none of them can hold a candle to seeing a live show. It is the place I can lose myself in, a state of mind and body and soul that only music can unleash, and it is truly the source of my bliss. When I decided to take on a Summer of live music I didn’t take it lightly, and I can ecstatically report that so far, since the start of this “year of music“, I’ve yet to be let down by a show. Honestly, they just keep getting better than better.
Last night I had the privilege of seeing one of my favorite bands play live at one of my top venues of choice in Southern California: Neon Trees at The Fonda Theatre. I discovered Neon Trees when they opened for Thirty Seconds to Mars, and have loved them ever since (see my favorite artists/bands feature on Neon Trees here). Their music has accompanied daily commutes, dancing with reckless abandon moments around the house, moments of realization that I’d fallen in love (and fallen out of love), and have played muse to a story I’ve been writing (especially the Pop Psychology album). The entire band is incredible, guitarist Chris Allen, bass player Branden Campbell, drummer and co-vocalist Elaine Bradley, and the enigmatic and consummate front man (he’s some musical magic, yes he is), Tyler Glenn, and I was delighted to be a part of the audience Thursday night for this “Intimate night with Neon Trees“.
The band has gotten better and better over the years and three albums. Tyler is so charismatic on-stage, yet at the same time so genuine and generous, gifting the fans with energy and musicality, as well as inclusion into the show itself. We all felt like part of the show, encouraged to sing-a-long, invited to dance and scream and wave our hands in the air, and thanked multiple times for being there. We even got to help carry Tyler across the crowd, which felt like the breaking of the fourth wall experience from film and television. Tyler also acknowledged the fact that it was something special when “we” not only knew the lyrics to the radio played songs, but also the non-air-played album tracks (see the first “year of music” lesson mentioned above, falling in love with entire albums).
Everyone did seem to know the words to every song, which was incredible to be a part of. I know that I spent the entire show scream/singing-a-long and dancing until I was drenched in sweat and sore, but completely blissed out. I woke today to my body aching and my voice gone, but still feeling that live music high, because oh my stars what a show last night was.
Highlights of the night? Tyler’s dancing, singing my heart out with the crowd and the band, Tyler’s “prayer/confession/declaration” pre-First Things First, his crowd-surfing the surprise closing song cover of Dexy’s Midnight Runners’ Come On Eileen, Tyler and Elaine singing together at her drums, and the fact that they played all but one of my favorite songs (would LOVE to hear Voices in the Hall live someday).
The tour is still going, and if you can you should check them out – remaining dates here.
Thanks for the music! Come back to Los Angeles again SOON.