guest post by Matt Blankenship Jr / The Sometimes Island
One Giant Reason To Go See A Concert
When I first heard about the bombing at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, it was an extremely difficult, emotional moment. I read an opinion piece that seemed to pin the blame on inadequate security. Then, between the lines, it went on to extrapolate that big concerts like this are a security risk, and are therefore somewhat irresponsible to put on in the first place. I nearly fell over. Was this really how someone felt? It was like a challenge to our humanity, and drove me to put together just why live music matters today.
Everyone is digitally connected to one another to an unprecedented degree. This is extremely convenient in a lot of ways, but it has begun replacing real, face-to-face interpersonal connection. This technological alienation has become commonplace. Radiohead sings about it all the time.
I decided to become a musician based on my experience of live music. Because, in deciding what to do with our lives, we select something we’re hopefully good at, that we enjoy… but not just that. It’s ideally something that is personally rewarding, something that speaks to us. We pick something that matters on a scale expanding ever larger than ourselves, be it our families, our communities, our entire society. Because of this, live music is more important now than ever before.
There’s something primal about it. We all get together, in one place. It’s not always the most comfortable thing, standing around trying not to spill an overpriced drink… but once we begin to get lost in the music we’re forced to be in the moment. We’re just there! It’s a group experience, something that we thirst for and crave on a biological level. There’s research coming out that suggests personal connections are a primary factor in one’s overall happiness. We make connections at concerts. Connections with the music, but more importantly with one another. My parents met at a concert! I wouldn’t even be here if it weren’t for the power of live music.
Yet, a very tiny, sick and misled portion of humanity recognizes the power of this group experience and for that reason has chosen to attack it in recent years. From Manchester to the Bataclan in Paris, it’s happened. This attempt to make us fearful, however, doesn’t seem to be having the desired effect. The benefit show Grande held in Manchester in honor of the victims stands tall, a beacon of resiliency that will continue to remind us, as it does now, that love and light always beats darkness. The show will go on.
Live music still comes under fire. There are plenty of reactionary responses, especially in the immediate aftermath, from both governments and the media. Calls for armed guards, invasive searches and big fences are to be expected, and whenever a tragedy occurs they are heard. A headline that tries to pin blame is a headline that sells. But flashy headlines aren’t always true. The truth isn’t always the most compelling story, but it’s always there.
We need to come together! Live music provides that opportunity to connect in a way that we rarely have an opportunity to do. We should treasure it and let it inspire us, especially when things seem like they’re falling apart. As an individual, I suggest you go to a concert, whether it’s your friend’s band at a bar, or whether it’s Ariana Grande at a massive stadium. It’s good for everyone. We’re all busy, and there’s always stuff in the way. From small things like parking or ticket prices — up to big things like existential fear or repression, these all can be overcome just by making a decision to go out. You’ll be rewarded.
Breaking out of LA’s bustling music scene is The Sometimes Island, the moniker of Austin born Matt Blankenship Jr. Fusing electro beats with breezy, layered lyrics, this is a form of dance music meant for the new generation. His 7-track EP Bad People, is set to drop on July 28th, followed by a West Coast Tour. Follow The Sometimes Island on: