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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
Simple Man- Shinedown
Save Me- Shinedown
If You Only Knew – Shinedown – One of their most well-known songs
Diamond Eyes- Shinedown
Her Name is Alice -Shinedown – influenced by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland