Foam plugs stuffed in my ears, shoes attached to the sticky floor, neck craned, back aching, complete strangers in intimate proximity, blinding lights and of course…the kind of loud, live music you can feel in your chest.
A couple of nights ago we went to see MuteMath play at the Hifi. I like their music and their creative expressions of faith and Adam was confident their live show (first tour in Australia in eight years), would be something special.
Several times throughout the evening I wondered, ‘Why am I here again?’ It crossed my mind over dinner at the Bavarian Bier Cafe. 5 guys and me. Apart from us, the other guys all have kids.
‘Why am I here?’ was also in the back of my mind during the average support band, in the long half hour waiting for the guys to start playing and over and over from around 10.30pm as my feet, back and legs ached from standing up so long in the packed-in-surrounded-by-tall-people crowd. Now I acknowledge this is a first world problem, and I’m really thankful that I have the money, time, freedom and opportunity to see live music. Really. Yet I was planning a conversation with ‘future Nai’ where I would say no to the next live concert. Those thoughts didn’t stick around though, because deep down I know that given the opportunity (and a reasonable ticket price!), it will almost always be a yes. Why?
Great live music is about making moments. I remember seeing Chris Martin from Coldplay sing an entire chorus lying down on his back, minutes after literally sprinting around the Sydney Entertainment Centre in 2006. Last year we saw Jon Foreman from Switchfoot climb into the audience and on to the stage from a second storey balcony railing, all the while singing the opening of the first song. Like so many things in life, it’s all about creatively engaging with the people.
MuteMath did not disappoint. The whole band entered from the back of the venue, walking through the crowd like they were in a parade – with drum and percussion and carrying a banner of fairy lights. Unique. The lead singer crowd surfed on a giant mattress and did handstands off the keyboard. The drummer did some epic drum solos including one where he let the crowd hold his ___ drum as he played it. So many moments. And then this:
In the midst of the giant crowd, I was suddenly front row as lead singer Paul Mooney sang an entire song right next to me, while standing on a big black box. I don’t usually swoon over celebrities but I must confess, this was my favourite part of the show. The waiting and the pain, the tall people whose heads I was trying to see over and the late night and clumsiness at work the next day – it was all worth it. MuteMath might do similar things at every show on their tour, but it felt pretty special nonetheless.
Adam was right. The show was something special and while I don’t have his passion for live music, I have come to love the anticipation and the experience of previously Ipod constrained songs coming to life on stage. Who knows what moments await us at our next live show?
“I can’t believe I never noticed my heart before.” Noticed, MuteMath