Even if you’re the kind of person that, for one reason or another, often finds themselves standing awkwardly in the ocean of space found at a local gig, it is a rare occasion indeed to feel anything close to anything besides boredom and sore ears. But these occasions do exist. Once in a while, one of that plethora of bands, almost infinite in number and mostly infinitesimal in relevance, shows something that burrows into that usually dark area of your mind and lights a joint. Something that gets you into their corner, something that gets you wondering what you can do to help them launch their next record. That fleeting moment where you are no longer in competition but are banded together in your vague and pointless mission to save music from it’s own fuck boring competence.
The last band I saw that gave me that feeling was The Shops (sister band to Celery). As I watched the three piece spit out vaguely new wave-ish folk rock songs, I fell deeply in love. I’d shared the stage a good many times with each member of the rhythm section in the past, and all that history added to the sense of connection I felt with them. I felt the same way listening to the latest Slaughterhouse 5 recordings as well, showcasing that ultra rare ability to make heavy music sound as if it wasn’t made for and by douchebags. It takes me back to the days when my ego out shone my sense of realism, when me and my bandmates were checking out some demo-ish recordings from a band called The Blow Up (on MySpace, lol) who we were scheduled to play a show with in the near future. Our snotty little selves thought the tracks ridiculous, amateurish to the nth degree. A childish cacophony of unmelodic nonsense. Then the show rolled around, staged of course at the old Hyde Park Hotel, and The Blow Up blew up my fucking brain. They were the most inspired, original and engaging live band I’d seen in my then short career as a failed musician (for those counting, my career as a failed musician is now long and illustrious). They broke up (blew up?) within the next six months. But I never forgot them or that moment. They were a band that shat all over the sea of competence and imitation that local music is mostly comprised of. So when you see one of those bands, one of the rare moments where you’d rather be inside watching than outside smoking cigarettes and hanging out with your friends where you’ve a chance to hear the conversation, you should let them know. Because they probably don’t know. They probably think that they’re not tight enough. Not polished enough. Not well-connected enough. Let them know that the rare splash of soul they show, that they wonder at night if they really possess or if it was all just a wistful dream, is real and breathing, rare and beautiful, relevant and meaningful despite the glut of ability we find ourselves drowning in every day. And buy them a beer, because they probably finished their rider before their set started.