The Kids (well, Not Kids) Are Alright

January 27th, 2019

I do not get out to hear enough music.

There, I said it.

I have no excuses, either. There are no Sam Jr.’s eating me out of house and home, or Teen Sams eating me out of house and home and ignoring me, or Dog Sams eating me out of house and home and urinating on my carpet, or, well, anything alive in my home except for me and my wife, She Who Must Be Taunted, and, while the constant togetherness delights her, I imagine that a little more “absence makes the heart grow fonder” wouldn’t bother her very much, either.

But I am trying. And it’s been giving me a bit of hope for live music, and it’s been coming from a relatively annoying place.

But first, da facts. As you know, I’m one of the four co-hosts of the Somerville Songwriter Sessions (gives ya goosebumps, don’t it?), and in addition to rotating our hosting duties, we also each help out with at least as many shows. I was the helper this past month, when Beth DeSombre was hosting, and our guests were Stephanie Corby and her gorgeous voice, and Ruth Hill, who just moved here from Maine recently after having won the Great American Songwriting Contest (yes, the whole thing). And the place was packed, packed, packed. And it turns out that Ruth has a superfan who posts all her gigs on some meetup list somewhere, and boom, instant crowd. And everybody had a great time and, well, yay.

And the following Thursday I went to the Lilypad in Inman Square, where I had never been before, because my pal Prateek and a musician I’d just met, a fantastic instrumental guitarist named Matt Hannigan, were doing a show there, and a duo called the Couch Potatoes was opening, and the place was packed, packed, packed. And I got the distinct, disquieting feeling that somehow, again, the Intertubes and that gosh-darned social media had something to do with it.

Now, faithful readers of this approximately monthly screed are no doubt familiar with my low opinion of Faceface and Tweeter. I do make light of it, but I’m pretty serious in my impatience with the fake friending and the cesspool of political squabbling and the whole being somebody else’s product because our entire culture seems to be obsessed with getting things for free and so the best way to make money is to sell your users’ eyeballs, without all the icky bits about illegal organ trafficking. I already spend too much time staring at a screen, thank you, and not interacting with actual humans, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to do more of it so Mark Zuckerberg can buy some more wax for his evil mustache.

And yet. People – very nice people, and a lot of them – came to see Ruth, and people – very nice people, and a lot of them – came to see Prateek and Matt and the Couch Potatoes, and SWMBT partakes in a number of lovely Intertubes communities which do not have anything to do with Facebook mustache wax. It seems pretty clear that, done right, these sorts of tools can actually be the salvation of live music. Which warms my heart, because live music rocks.

Me? I’m hopeless. I really, really can’t stand social media, what with the screen time and the wax mustaches. Mostly, what I can do is reach out to you lovely people who’ve invited me into your inboxes and tell you what I’m thinking. It ain’t much, but it’s what I got.

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