I have a confession to make. I don’t like going to concerts all that much. Music, for me, is a personal thing. It’s quite literally a drug because of the chemical reactions it releases in my body. I hallucinate, I’m “not there,” and after a really good song is over I want more. Now then, I can tell you from experience that I’m not very good at being drunk, nor am I good at being high, So when we talk about the powerful drug that is music, I just don’t want to be in a crowded auditorium when I’m having that experience.
Also, you motherfuckers who push and shove and then sing along with the artist, and you’re only three flats off key? Fuck you. I didn’t come to listen to your drunk/high/both ass sing my favourite tunes off key. There are buskers in the city who are more than capable of providing me that service for free.
Maybe that’s why I’m such a fan of sessions that recorded “live in the studio.” It’s the perfect medium for feeding my addiction. I get to hear my favourite music live, but without the screaming, shouting, smell of pot, beer spilled on me, and all the stuff that tends to happen at concerts. There are no lavish sets, no light-shows, and nothing extraneous. It’s very intimate, very close. The music is live, completely, but it’s right there. If I were in studio, I could reach out and touch the music.
Many times you get the artist to do acoustic sets which can be incredibly special. For example, I recently learned about the Australian group Boy & Bear through their song Southern Sun.
The catch is, I heard it on whatever Sirius/XM calls their “coffee shop” channel where they play a lot of acoustic stuff. So my first exposure didn’t sound like the (admittedly awesome) electric version. It sounded like this:
Another facet of my love for the live in the studio style is how the musicians will try different things when they don’t have to concern themselves with set design, theatre, and pleasing a massive crowd. Those who don’t write music might not be aware of how many iterations a song will go through. Lyrics get changed, switched, and music gets tightened, loosened, or completely rewritten. Naturally a musician might have another way to do a song that they love, but it just didn’t make the album.
Dig on Haim here. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a huge fan of Haim. Falling happens to be one of their best songs so far and god knows I’ve listened to it a few (hundred) times. So when Danielle suddenly launches into a lengthened second verse? That’s pretty awesome right there.