(Editor's Note: last week we brought you Maud Deitch of PureVolume with her exclusive music column, this week, PV Music Editor, Zach Dionne, in an alternating week's music column we're now labeling 'Alter Ego'.)
I missed a lot of the bands I paid good money to see as a teenager. I was too busy gawping at the couples standing all around me -- they held hands, they made out between songs, they kinda, sorta danced, all while I was stuck crossing my arms and trying to look serious or tough. Where did all these guys get all these cool girlfriends willing to come out and see Slayer and Sabbath and Slipknot? (My musical diet at the time -- 100-percent metal food group.)
Buying tickets to concerts and road-tripping four hours to the nearest half-decent venue (The Palladium in Worcester, Mass., emphasis on the 'half', less on the 'decent') had nothing to do with impressing females, but the hordes of horny couples rocking out distracted me every time. Where was the special, smokin’ hot lady I could convince to endure hours of face-melting shredfests?
It’s been years and a handful of show-going girlfriends since those sorry, misguided times. I quickly learned how taxing it could be to shield your lady from the maelstrom of a full-force moshpit; I also came to realize that ladies can TKO errant moshers as capably as a skinny stick-figure like myself -- and they’re often thrilled to do so. What took me the longest time to understand, was that my enjoyment of a gig was actually independent of the attendance or lack of a gal. These days my lady and I attend a variety of gigs together -- soft singer-songwriter shows, danceable rock gigs, hippie-filled festivals, and, yes, the occasional bout of metal mayhem -- and while we have a blast together, our mutual attendance is only a slight bonus to how much fun we each have seeing live music.
Last week’s MuteMath gig in Los Angeles may have been the apex of understanding all of this. Standing at The Troubador with my editor, crammed at the back of a floor filled with sweaty, swaying couples -- perhaps the biggest date-night concert I’ve ever accidentally attended -- I realized that while I wished my lady could be there to see the entertaining act, I was having a blast without her. While all the rock-loving lovers were fretting about whether or not to dance, wondering when they should or shouldn’t talk, or worrying their significant others were eyeing the lead singer a little too keenly, I was rocking out, plain and simple.
Sometimes, good music needs space to breathe.