Music is medicine; it’s emotional and magical. Everything from the words to the melody can move you more than you can imagine. While I have not a single musical bone in my body, I worship at the alter of a good song, and the only thing better than listening to a song is listening to it live.
This weekend I had the opportunity to go to an incredible concert. Even going into it I didn’t realize how powerful the line up was. About a month ago, I order tickets for the 96X Winter Meltdown in Norfolk, VA because Jack Antonoff’s band, Bleachers, would be there. Only after buying the tickets for myself and my two best friends did I realize everything we were in store for. Not only would Bleachers be performing, but Haim, Neon Trees, and more would be there as well. I couldn’t believe the great deal we were getting on so many bands, and while I wasn’t familiar with every act there, I look back on last night as one of the best nights of my life.
Me (in the middle) with the two greatest people you will ever meet, concert ready.
After standing in the rain as we waited to get in, the concert started with the female artist Banks. I’d only heard one Banks song before, but came away from her performance wanting her debut album on my phone immediately. With the bass vibrating through my entire body, I found myself overcome by her female empowering lyrics, and ready for the rest of the night.
Then the most incredible thing happened. My favorite trio of rocker sisters, Haim, was set to perform next, but instead, as the stage crew cleared out, the melodic chime of the keyboard in my absolute favorite Bleachers song, Wild Heart, floated through the air. To say I absolutely freaked out would be a vast understatement. I still can’t process the level of emotion I felt. The song itself means so much to me on so many levels. Add the fact that I wasn’t even prepared for Jack Antonoff to take the stage yet, and you get what looked to innocent bystanders like a psychotic break. Admittedly, it may have been. Of course I wanted to record the song, but actually had to hand my phone off to a friend because I was shaking too much for the camera to focus. Tears streamed down my face as I absorbed a moment of pure euphoria. That song ended, and the band continued to impress over and over with unbelievable musical talent.
A little sample of Wild Heart live also known as my favorite moment in life.
In keeping with the impressiveness of the evening, Haim blew me away as they rocked out with guitar and drum solos. They moved me even more with their lyrics and sound, and the effortless cool with which they performed. Neon Trees brought me to tears with the meaningfulness behind their hit First Things First, but also made me dance like crazy when they played the popular throwback from their first album, Animal. By the end of the concert, my body was a puddle on the floor. I was exhausted, sweaty, and heady with a passion for living this life.
The concert was amazing, and the artists are all insanely talented. None of them get enough credit. They are the type of musicians who should be played constantly on every radio station across the nation. However, I don’t want to talk about their talent, or their specific performances any more; I think the best thing is for you to experience that for yourself. Because when you experience it for yourself, you can understand what I’m saying; you can understand the power of music.
Like I already mentioned, I was literally shaking when Bleachers took the stage; I get tears in my eyes just thinking about it. I’m ridiculously emotional, but regardless, music is just meant to do that. Bleachers’ debut album, Strange Desire, is one in a handful of albums that can constantly affect me, that means more to me than almost anything. For me, it’s the type of album that can carry a person through anything; the types of songs that fill you with a new energy, and that’s what music is about. When I listen to Bleachers, I can feel what Jack feels, and I can’t hide from my own feelings. I can feel his love for long time girlfriend Lena Dunham, and my own desire for a similar love. I can feel his passion for his work, and my desire to feel that passion in my own life. I can feel his pain and anxiety and all the hurt he’s been through, and my own pain is reverberated back across the crowd as I scream along to his lyrics.
Any reference to Jack and Lena is an excuse to post an adorable picture of them.
Last night every band did that for me because that’s just the level of energy and talent they all brought to the stage. Each song filling me up with emotion. Starting in my toes and rising, through pointed lyrics and beats that build into symphonies of sorts, up through my entire body until all of me is in that song; every fiber of my being hanging on the sound of guitar riffs and 80’s synth.
Even better though, last night every band did that for an entire arena. Sure, there were people there who were rude or cruel or mean, who don’t understand what the music is all about. But for the most part, one of the best things about concerts is always that everyone in the room is floating on those lyrics too. I find I almost always make a new friend at a concert because they understand what music is as much as I do. Everyone is losing themselves in the beating of the drums and the booming of the bass. Everyone is baring their own souls as the artists bare theirs as well. It’s this incredibly unlikely safe space to feel everything you’re feeling without shame or abandon. And the songs pick you back up; they become you and they make you better. They live inside of you, not reminders of the pain of the past, but as reminders of optimism of the future.
Music is healing. Music is bonding. Music is passion and love and life and power. It is reminding you to feel. It cuts you deep, but makes you stronger. Find the music that does that for you whether it’s rock, pop, country, jazz, or a little of everything, but don’t stop listening until you find what really makes you feel. Let the music overcome you and take you away. I’m thankful for all that music means to me, and after a show like last night, even more thankful than ever before.
Long live rock and roll. And all music. Long live music in each of our hearts.
What bands and songs move you the way Bleachers moves me? What concerts and shows have you been to that were as powerful as last night’s Winter Meltdown was for me? Have any stories of how music has changed your life or brought you together with others? Share all your thoughts in the comments below.
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