True Musicianship

There’s so much good music out there and I’m constantly staggered by the phenomenally talented artists I enjoy – Dave Matthews Band, Jimmy Eat World, and Foo Fighters just to name a few.  I don’t know how I know but there’s something that fundamentally separates these people from the average musician or band.  My instincts say it has to do with the emotion they put into their songs and the passion they have for music.

When a band rocks me harder and reaches me on a deeper level at a live show than on their studio albums I know I’m in the presence of greatness – true musicianship.  I’ve listened to a lot of music from a variety of different bands and have been horribly disappointed by some bands’ live performances.  How can this happen?  How can a band – whose studio album I enjoy – suck so much serious ass when they perform live?

From my limited experience, I can understand the pressure that comes with performing live in front of a crowd of strangers.  But, as is not my experience, people have paid to see and support them.  Do these bands rely on music production and sound engineering so much so that when they perform live it can’t be replicated?  Which leads me to wonder is their purpose just to sell records?  And if that’s the case, well, shit, they’ve lost the whole point of music.

A guy I know from high school performs in a ukulele cover band called the Be Arthurs.  The last show that I went to brought the house down: three guys, three mics, two ukuleles, and a miniature drum kit rocked my socks off because of the passion and energy they put into their performance.  I’d rather pay to see the Be Arthurs perform at The Fringe or a pub than some of the bands I’ve paid ten times as much to see.

From my point of view, true musicianship isn’t something you simply acquire – either you put yourself wholly into your music and take risks, or you play it safe, keep your distance, and always fall short.

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