Saturday, February 26, 2011

Concert recap: BNL

It'd been a long while since I'd been to a live concert. Almost long enough that I'd forgotten how a well-crafted show can hold your attention for almost as long as a good play or movie. And certainly long enough that I'd forgotten how it feels to be sitting through the concert and then suddenly hear something so delightful that you and two-and-a-half thousand people get up and start dancing. I understand that BNL is known to put on a particularly good show, so it was fortuitous to have a chance to see them live last year. And disappoint they did not.

I went in to the show remembering that they sang "Pinch Me", one of my favorites, and the song that goes, "It's been, one week since you looked at me.... yah dah dah dee dah dah dee dah yah dah." So it was a pleasant surprise when they brought out "If I had a million dollars", "You run away," and other songs that I knew, but didn't realize that BNL sang.  When you hear a song that you haven't even thought of for a decade, but that you heard every day on the radio for an entire summer ten years ago, it's amazing how the mind not only brings back the melody and lyrics, but also other thoughts and feelings that were associated with that song back in the day.  That's something that's just so powerful about music.

I left the show better understanding the appeal of the band and why they developed such a following over the years.  They alternated between acoustic and electric songs, with each member of the band playing different instruments and singing different harmonies for a variety of arrangements that kept the show fairly dynamic. From barbershop acapella to improvised rap to banjo-driven folk, the band sprinkled novelty numbers around their mainstream hits.  I left the Mountain Winery humming and singing their music for the next few days.

No matter how much the world has changed in the way we consume media these days, it's hard to imagine anything that can truly replicate the impact that a successful live show can have for a band.  And there's nothing else that inspires a musician to dust off his instrument like attending a live show.