Why music is made better in community

Editors note: This blog post was originally published October 25, 2014 on my former blog Road to Twenty-Something.

 

A concert has truly served it’s purpose when your spirit is so affected everything in the room dissolves. A concert has truly exceeded it’s purpose when your spirit is so affected it’s the only thing that dissolves.

For the last ten years, I’ve been an active concert goer. From VeggiTales Live to Mercy Me, from Cage the Elephant to Band of Horses, from Tyler Hilton to Miley Cyrus, and Switchfoot to Foster the People.

I’ve seen some of the best and the worst shows in the Pacific Northwest.

But last night was different. Last night was surreal.

Within the book covered, plaster chipped, brick walled Bucers Coffeehouse and Pub I experienced live music as it always should be experienced. Words were being brought to people, people were being brought to community, and community was producing activity.

You see, four beautifully voiced human beings played vocal racquetball with the booze and espresso scented makeup of the venue.

Men, women, sons, daughters, business people, college students, anyone and everyone filled Bucers.

The music was made better by the composition of it’s audience. The music was made better by community.

I mean, the performers were Kyle Worsham, Jane Worsham, Mike Thomas, and Josh Martin. They have talent, but their voices couldn’t score any magic. They did work, but they couldn’t achieve it alone.

Kyle didn’t have any tricks up his sleeve, Jane didn’t woo anyone with a siren song  Mike wouldn’t melt any hearts, and Josh wouldn’t make you think twice.

What made the music radical, what made the music transform it’s environment, was the natural elements already at play.

Nearly 100 people gathered together in Bucers at the peak of the concert performance.

Some were laughing, and some were holding back tears. Some were deep in conversation, and some were hanging out by themselves. Some were zoned into the music, and some were zoned onto the fly parked on the wall. Some cared a lot, and some cared too little.

The colored hues of their cheeks matched the rosy crayons drawing stick figures on the tables. Uneven paintings hanging on the walls shifted with the rise and fall of child like excitement.

Acoustic originals of love, life, and faith rattled from the steel strings of a guitar. Covers of terribly terrific pop songs summond aggressive finger waves and mellow clapping.

As the speakers increased in volume, so did the conversations in the room.

People drew closer to each other and made eye contact with whoever they were speaking with. People watched mannerisms and devoted effort into communicating.

Idaho natives were bonding with Washington visitors. Baristas were hanging out with customers.

Countless worlds were revolving around a sun made of musicians. The heat sparked a fire in the entire room and that fire maintained the heat for a short lifetime.

The power of every force in Bucers made me overwhelmed and filled with joy. My emotions were so intense I had to step out of the building for several minutes.

Memories of life spent skating around Portland, Oregon looking for the next best show took over my mind. Dreams of finding that next best thing on the Eastside of Washington began to fade away.

Four people performed a part of their story last night. Nearly 100 more people responded with the same thing.

Combined, in a stew of diversity, one epic tale was created.

It was a period of joy – a period of celebration – a period of desire – a period of bliss.

It was music doing what music does best and being awesome and intentional and changing lives.

Lance Lijewski