Thursday, May 26, 2011

A night of music.

I have been pretty fortunate to be surrounded by creative people for a significant part of my life. Fist it was art classes where you always wanted to be good at what you do, then it was art school where you learn soon enough that you have to be good because the art/design industry is very competitive and at times brutal. Spending time with talented people made me notice that the most successful works seem to be those that people enjoy doing. Many designers, myself included, get their inspiration from constantly noticing things around them and constantly seeking new visuals around them. I also know designers with a deep understanding and appreciation of music, whose love for sound and melody make their design work dynamic and in many ways musical. I'm a little jealous of that because even though I can appreciate good song with a genuine attitude and thought through lyrics, I don't have an almost innate understanding of rhythm, melody and musical instruments. At least not the kind I'd like to have.

Yesterday I went to a small performance by a local band called Loss Leader. One of my former classmates and a former typography instructor are two of the members, the other two are also local designers I've heard a lot about in school. Last night they were playing what I would like to call strong, meaty rock 'n roll. I absolutely loved the music, but the thing that struck me the most was how much those guys were enjoying what they were doing. It seemed like pure fun for them and that whole attitude transferred to the audience. I'm usually the girl that pays attention to songs for the first half of the show and then gets caught up in her own world in the second. They played maybe 5-7 songs, but I enjoyed every single one and really didn't want them to stop. I don't know if that's an effect of live music or I was simply in the right mood.

The band that played after them was radically different. They played kind of depressing rock and seemed to care about their appearance far less than I consider appropriate. I'm just being mean, but I did not enjoy that band at all. Those guys definitely liked their music and enjoyed themselves as much as Loss Leader did, but their excitement was strangely confined to their own little group. I can't speak for everyone else, but I felt like I was just surveying a band practice in someone's basement. That band did not interact with the audience at all. All I can say is: boring.

Looking back at last night, I'm starting to realize that good music is like good design: it inspires the audience, provokes it and stays memorable. That is not to say that good musicians and designers do everything to please the public. You obviously enjoy what you create, but you also know how to make people see that. Maybe I don't have a great sense of rhythm, but I feel like I can definitely tell a good performance from a mediocre one.

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