About a week ago (sorry, I’ve been losing track of my days recently) I had the chance to see Bon Iver perform live and finally pick up an actual copy of his album which was released the day after the show so technically I was among the first to purchase it which I like to think is pretty nice. On a side note, of all of the people crammed into the venue that seemed to already know all of these songs that were technically only released in an edition of 200 copies so I hear I only noticed a small handful of people buy the album after the show. It got me thinking about the way music works these days with internet sharing and whatnot. I wondered to myself weather or not these people were going to buy digital versions of the album or maybe they did not really like it or or or. I was just surprised I suppose that more people did not buy a copy…
Anyways, I can now sit down in the dark of the night and put on my fresh vinyl copy of the album. Seeing this show kind of reminded me that sometimes I think that I prefer to just hear music on an album rather than see it live. I do love to see musicians perform and support them by going to shows whenever possible but when it is music like this that it so intimate and quiet I find that I prefer listening at home in the peace of my own home. I heard the songs he performed countless times at night lying in bed with my eyes closed or in my own time and listening to music this way connects you with it on such a personal level and when you go see them performed live there are all of these people crowded around you drinking and talking and pressed up against you and you have to fight your way to see the stage well and hope that you found a good sounding spot in the club and it separates you from the music to a certain extent you know? I did get used to the people and did manage to get lost in the music at times and there was one song where he pulled of a sing along that added to the feel of the song and made the people around me feel less like intruders within this music I knew so well and more like part of the experience.
I think it depends a lot on the type of music as well, with electronic music I love there to be a ton of people there or with rock music or anything with more of an upbeat vibe to it but when it comes to quiet acoustic songs that I usually listen to in the comfort of my own company the audience can sometimes get in the way. I think it is part of the reason I love my job so much as a live sound engineer because I get my own personal space at the show which is more often than not one of the best seats in the house and I get complete control over the sound so I have that personal connection with the artist and the music. Its a bit overwhelming at times to be honest and when the circumstances are just right I feel somehow emotionally involved in my work and chills may run down my spine.
That reminds me of one of my favorite days as an engineer when I was the guest engineer at a live, in studio, radio station performance by Damien Jurado. It was pretty much just me in the control room with the mixer and him sitting in the room adjacent with his guitar. It was like my own personal concert of songs that I loved.
Working back to my main topic here, Bon Iver, I highly suggest you check out his album ‘For Emma, Forever Ago.’ It really is a great record and was one of my favorite discoveries of music last year. Ironically enough (is ironic the right word here?) the person who introduced me to it was a girl named Emmanuelle. Yap.
Below you can see my view of the show which was pretty bad really, as the place filled up I kind of got pushed further and further into the corner and the audio at this club has always been pretty bad and was made worse by the fact that all of the high frequency in the sound system was totally missing my position leaving me with a booming mess of low/mid sound… but they are photos all the same. Nothing to write home about but enough to remember the evening. Enjoy!