We went to Hebden Bridge last week to see a band I love and also half a band that I love. The first was ChumbaWumba and the second was Becky Unthank from The Unthanks. I remembered all over again why I love country and folk music which does not carry with it all the paraphernalia of celebrity and useless stardom baggage. It is all about the music. All the bands were superb. In fact it was a Folk Festival so we also saw Grace Notes and a young band called Maia.
It is quite a while since I went to see a live band and it made me think about a few things. I do love listening to music on my iPod – either playing through speakers or headphones. But there is something important that digital sound cannot do for you. It is seeing the artists and understanding the physical and emotional WORK that artists do to produce their music that makes the live experience so fantastic. Especially when you see musicians who are really into it all because they have written, arranged or researched the music they are playing. I love the way they look to each other, that they produce music that reacts to the other band members that there is a kind of conversation going on within the band and aslo with the audience. I always feel that when you see a musician who is working so hard to produce the music, that you are being allowed to witness something intimate. Sometimes they even look like they are in pain; there is extreme concentration that you see; sheer physical hard work; enjoyment and a sense of fun – a full range of emotional STUFF. For me this very personal aspect of live music is so important and you cannot get it from your iPod alone.
So this is a post which remembers the value of things that digital reproduction cannot do for us and that it has its limitations.