20 March 2013

Let Me (Start) Talk(ing) About Music For a Bit...

Last night I attended a show at the Keswick Theater in Glenside, PA (just outside of Philadelphia), which shook me in its intensity, its energy, and its theatricality. Sharon Van Etten opened the show; Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds headlined. Van Etten received a warm (if not always enthusiastic) response from the audience*; Cave and the Bad Seeds? The audience gave them a thunderous response throughout/

I was struck by this rapturous audience's makeup: many people older than me, sure (Cave himself is 55), but people younger (some much younger) than me made up a significant part of the crowd. How did these adolescents and young adults discover Cave and musicians like him, e.g., unconventional or non-mainstream performers? In the Internet age, it seems a foolish question, true. Really, though, isn't the answer the same as ever? Musical discovery, and the development of taste, is determined by environment and technology.

Contrast someone raised in a small, homogeneous community with limited resources with someone raised in a city like Philadelphia, with its diverse musical history and wealth of radio stations. In the latter, it's a no-brainer that you'll be exposed to music of all genres. Add the Internet, a primary source for music for at least 15 years, and the problem becomes one of filtering what's good rather than trying to find music at all.

My experience has been vastly different from that of the average Millennial, and I'm sure it's an experience that people born before 1985 or so could relate to, especially if they were raised in a small, rural communities. so I am going to talk about that in a series of posts (that's the plan, anyway). A musical biography, if you will. If your experience is similar, feel free to chime in with your own anecdotes and memories.

And if you have a chance to see Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' tour? Do it. Don't think. Don't consider, simply do it. You'll be well rewarded.

* Van Etten noted that she wasn't Nick Cave more than once, and at one point said she had "only two more songs" before the Bad Seeds would come on. Apparently, someone in front commented on this remark: Van Etten relayed that "the girl dressed like a princess says 'yeah!' [and to the girl in question] "Good to see you again."  Take from that what you will.

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