old time relijun at the voodoo

wo man wo man wo man. i just love live music. nothin’ (ok well almost nothin’…) puts a smile on my face like watchin’ musicians groove. my ass just wantsta move as the vibrations run through my body. i just beam when the vibe is good, and the musicians can see it too.
last night, i went down to the local hipster haunt called after an african religious tradition transplanted in caribbean soil and watched some olympians get get get down. a three piece called old time relijun, touring on their newest release 2012. and wo man were they on. i absolutely loved arrington’s comment (guitar and voacals) about being kinda a dance band (not like any dance band you ever heard…lessin’ you listen to some riteous weird tunes) and that you should get up if the music moves you; otherwise, you can sit there like you are watchin’ a movie.
reminds me of a comment that was made at the fifth anniversary ladyfest in olympia last weekend…it all started there and like another olympia institution procession of species it has gone worldwide…no lie. the comment was made about how the music scene in olympia encourages interaction of all kinds, from singing along, to clappin’, stompin’ with the rhythm section, to shakin’ yo ass. and wo man was the gossip fuckin’ on fire, von iva was pretty damn hot too. but then the whole scene made me feel like i was home again. i miss oly fiercely, like my friend wardog said, “this is the spiritual capital of cascadia.”
music, especially live music is a participatory event, not some spectator sport. when i first arrived in cascadia (pacific northwest for you non-bioregionalists), i was struck by the lack of dancing at concerts in seattle. people just sort of milled about or sat in their seats. it didn’t seem any where near as lively as some of the shows i had been to in houston…one particularly good show by bad mutha goose and the brothers grimm at the axiom where it was sooo hot and sweaty (the music, not the temp) i was up on a stack of pa’s just movin’ and groovin’. that was one blissful night of delicious music.
when i saw kíla recently in eugene, i had seats really close to the stage. there was an area in front of the stage that was perfect for dancin’… and well their music is ripe for a good ass shakin’. my friends and i and many others danced during the first set. we were approached by a staff member and told we could dance but we would have to do it in a wing off to the right of the stage. now i had paid good money for these tix, and where i was sittin’ was certainly far better than where i was being asked to dance. we asked the people in the front row if they were bothered by our dancing. they said no. but we were told we either had to dance stageleft or ask the band to let us dance on stage.
now as an old theater student this was just taboo. it would detract attention from the musicians. we asked rónán (bodhran, percussion and vocals) if we could dance on stage, he said he didn’t mind us dancin’ in front, and that the band said it was ok. checked with the staff. no dice. well we ended up dancin’ on stage. much to my chagrin. it was a lovely night and the band appreciated our contribution. although you could tell they thought it odd to have all these yanks shakin’ and twitchin’ on the stage with them. needless to say i will never go see a show in that venue again.
so next time you are out and about and hear sweet music coming from some bar or dance hall. stick your head in, if the band is on and the groove takes you…get your ass on the dance floor (no parking mind ya!) and show the musicians that you can feel the music in your body and are moved by it. like rumi says the voice in your ear is pounding on your ear drum, is this not intimate?