An Intense Musical Experience

I’ve recently contemplated music and how it affects my life.  I know that everyone has their own musical preferences and their own artists that speak to them, so I’d like to think that it’s universal  in nature. It has the world as its audience and influences us all in different ways.

I just went to a concert last night with my brother.  Well, and his ex-wife was there as well …awkward. Anyway, the concert was Shinedown with Three Days Grace and P.O.D. as the opening performance and we were right up by the stage!  My brother and I always go to see Three Days Grace (and Breaking Benjamin until they disbanded.  Get it? Disbanded?) when they come to town.  It’s been a tradition of ours since I was a freshman in high school.  Unfortunately, this tradition will likely end since the lead singer, Adam Gontier, has left the band indefinitely.

Exactly!

I know!

During one of the TDG’s songs, I had this weird moment of clarity.  I felt separated from the concert.  I was an observer, watching the audience participate in the music.  It dawned on me that hundreds of people from all different backgrounds had come together for a mutual experience. We were all united from that moment.  All of us were here to listen to music we love by the bands that impact us so greatly.  It was such a surreal moment for me. As much as we like to isolate ourselves, we can be drawn together by the purest form of expression: music.  Going to a concert of an artist you love is such a phenomenally superior experience to listening to a record. I know you all have had an experience where you really connected with someone, no matter how brief the encounter.  Just imagine that, but radically magnified- shared with hundreds or thousands of other people.  That’s what one person or group can do. They can unite us in one single purpose – one connected experience.

Sadly, this experience was somewhat dulled by the broken TDG performance.  Don’t get me wrong, the replacement singer did a great job with what he was given.  It’s just that he had no connection with the audience.  He was there to perform, not express.  When Adam is on stage, he just loves it.  He bonds with the audience( at least the Nashville audiences) and puts himself into his songs. Simply awesome.

Left to right: Barry- lead guitar, Adam-vocals, Neil- drums, Brad- bass

Left to right: Barry- lead guitar, Adam-vocals, Neil- drums, Brad- bass

However, when Shinedown came on stage I was blown away.  I had never seen them on live and I was only vaguely familiar with some of their hits. But, by the heavens above, they were so static. Every band member was in their zone, they loved their music and their audience and we loved them right back.  Before they even played a song, Brent Smith (the vocalist) asked everyone in the audience to turn to their neighbors and shake hands, high-five, and form a connection.  Just that simple act of connection –which I am a total sucker for- heightened the experience. More than just loving what they were performing, they sounded amazing doing it.  Later in the performance Brent actually took a break and discussed this very concept- the unification of people through one single medium: music. Specifically, rock music, but this is applicable to any meaningful song. Anyway, Brent has fantastic voice and Zack and Eric were smashing on guitar and bass. Barry is a decent drummer, but he can’t hold a candle to TDG’s Neil Sanderson.  They really rocked it…geddit?

No?  Okay...

No? Okay…

Getting back on track, I was captivated.  The images playing in the background of their songs, the poems and stories they played between and within their songs, and their talent really cemented the experience for me.  I could feel the meaning in each of their songs.  I understood their lyrics and got something out of every song.  Their music is more positive than I expected.  It can be sad, even mournful, at times, but there is a kind of optimistic tilt  in their songs.  I’ve been so influenced by more positive, upbeat music lately.  I don’t necessarily mean poppy, fast music, but music that isn’t depressing or angry. This is why I think Shinedown is one of my new favorite bands.  Their music reflects the changes that have come over me much more accurately than my past favorites. Maybe this is just another sign of my increasing maturity and inner growth.

Or something like that...

Or something like that…

I’m going to try to include a few videos or at least links to videos of some of their songs that stood out to me the most, but I want people to check out all the songs possible.  Like I stated at the beginning, music is subjective and a song will affect you differently than it will me.   I went to Amazon and bought their first three albums and their live CD.   It’s been more than worth it, especially the live set.  I think they are classified as alternative rock, but many of their songs resemble ballads and have a lot more positive implications than other alternative artists.

Whomever reads this post please take a minute to think of your favorite artist. Genre is irrelevant. What matters is that you really think of the one that is the most influential and inspirational to you. Find one band or person that has been there for you in your life.  Whenever you were down, who did you listen to uplift yourself?  Whose lyrics have spoken to you? Inspired you to change how you view or express things?  Why are they so important to you?  Feel free to post in the comments if you wish.  I’m always open to any new musical suggestions and eager for new discoveries.  I love hearing about people’s passions and inspirations, and maybe you will get something out of it, too!

Left to right: Zack- lead guitar, Eric- Bass, Barry- drums, Brent- vocals.

Left to right: Zack- lead guitar, Eric- Bass, Barry- drums, Brent- vocals.

Simple Man- Shinedown

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbN99f9esS4

Save Me- Shinedown

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8dyxGiBx3g

If You Only Knew – Shinedown – One of their most well-known songs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NCDqYynUQk

Diamond Eyes- Shinedown

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hez6tDpiWDA

Her Name is Alice -Shinedown – influenced by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHQQUH0DomI

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Vanity and Modesty

I think that girls- mostly the shy, modest girls- need to have just a touch more vanity in their demeanor. We live in world where women are constantly being put down, putting ourselves , and putting each other down.  For a woman to have confidence, ambition, and a touch of vanity is still being frowned upon…like we’re not worth feeling good about ourselves.

                                                We obviously don't have the best self-image...

        We obviously don’t have the best self-image…

Well, why not?  Why shouldn’t we feel good bout ourselves?  Because we’re not 10, or 30, or 50 pounds less than what other people think we should be?  Because our skin tone, or hair, or body type isn’t what public –or private- society thinks they should look? Why not just embrace our bodies for what they are- vehicles in which we explore the world that need to be strong and nourished, not beaten down.

Take me for example, I absolutely loathe my chubby tummy….I can’t stand the sight of it some days.  I don’t like it because other people – who don’t matter in my life one bit- tell me that it’s unattractive or unhealthy.  I know how strong my body is, not them.  I know that I follow a primarily veg/fruit diet with no junk food or sugary carbs.  I know that I’ve been a regular exerciser for almost two years now.  I know that I used to barely be able to walk up stairs wit out getting exhausted and now I can walk over n hour from home to campus without being flustered at all. I know that I can do workouts/exercises that most girls (and a lot of guys) would find too challenging and I can now regularly curl 15lb dumbbells, and can dead lift up to 50-60lbs.  When I sit and try to reach for my toes, I can bring my face to my shins and my chest to my knees (not that it has far too go…)

Despite all these positives-and more- I can’t help feel that I’m disgusting, and fat, and ugly. Because I have broader shoulders than a lot of women, and that my thighs are thick and still have dimples in them no matter how many squats or lunges I do, or how long I bike or do wall-sits (up to two minutes, I’m proud to say! See. a little vanity does help now and again) and that dreaded chubby tummy…  Even when I was at my all-time low as an anorexic (and with my wider body type it looked pretty misshapen) I still had a bit of cellulite and a chubby, jiggly tummy.  That’s just how my body is and I hate it most days.  Any one of us women (and many men) could tell the same tale with themselves and any body part of their choosing.  We always find ways to hate our bodies not realizing that there are people out there wishing for our body regardless of our perceived flaws- big/small breasts, curvy/straight figure, pale/dark skin, curly/straight hair, etc.

goingmad

I think this post needs some Simon Tam…

         It’s absolute insanity! Your bodies are strong enough to have brought you this far in your lives, right? All your memories, experiences, successes and failures are all been carried out by the body that you’re in-muscles, fat, “flaws”, and all.  And I’m just as guilty of bringing myself down under the guise of modesty or being humble and avoiding being proud of myself -and my body- for fear of being thought vain. I don’t know how being modest makes us better people when it causes us to disregard out triumphs and maximize our flaws. There is no strength in treating ourselves or others in that manner.

     Your body is going to be with you for the rest of your life- for better or for worse- and now is the time to make peace with it.  Keep fighting it, and we’ll just get weaker and more worn down as time goes by; cherish it and it will strengthen. Starving myself didn’t make me any happier, neither did over-exercising, or purging and cutting.  It makes me sadder, weaker, and emptier. So I’m going to keep pledging and re-pledging to take care of myself and love my body…no matter how many times I move backwards or want to harm my body. I implore you to do the same.  Share your experiences with others, move your body more, and activate your mind. Failure to tend the garden causes the crop to wilt and suffer.

I had kind of hoped that this would be more than a rant by me, but the best laid plans of mice and men…  I do hope that I had imbued this with some type of clarity, and it doesn’t seem like the angry ravings of another female on another blog.  Also, drugs.

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Hurry! Your people need you!