Returning To the Magic of Live Music
Last week I saw my first live music show in more than a year. It was Dawes, at The Chicken Box on Nantucket. It was magical, and it’s not only got me more comfortable going back, it’s changed the kinds of shows I want to see going forward.
I’m not an avid concert-goer, except for Springsteen shows. Bruce’s 3+ hour marathons are more an event than a concert, a coming home of the rock & roll faithful to commune in the joyful noise. Buffet shows are the same, with grey-haired, beer-soaked Parrot Heads pantomiming shark bites. Same for U2, an electronic spectacle crowded with the ghosts of long ago wrongs, both political and hirsuit. These experiences are sometimes more about the brand than the band, though, and the music — while often great, and sometimes new— is a soundtrack for the experience, not the experience itself.
The show I caught on Tuesday night was different. Part of it was the band, which I got interested in a few years back, and intimate with over the course of Covid. The songwriting hooked me first, with All Your Favorite Bands and A Little Bit of Everything breaking through to do what great music always does… make what’s deeply personal to an artist compelling by touching what’s universal in us all.
I hope that life without a chaperone is what you thought it’d be
I hope your brother’s El Camino runs forever
I hope the world sees the same person that you’ve always been to me
And may all your favorite bands stay together
Talk about nostalgia. Who doesn’t remember that first rush of adulthood, the long-anticipated freedom bought at the unexpected price of responsibility? Frontman Taylor Goldsmith isn’t just a rock star… he’s a thinking, feeling grownup. He’s also a guitar virtuoso, with a vocal tone as clear as a cloudless night sky. And he’s backed by a band whose close relationship you can hear, with every rich vocal harmony and complex chord change conducted with effortless precision and creative generosity.
But there was something else on offer that night, and it reminded me what’s so great about live music from bands you’ve never seen live before.