Thursday, July 19, 2012

Human After All

It's always a weird experience when you spend years liking something and let it become a part of your life without knowing anyone else who knows what it is. And even weirder when you then suddenly end up in a place with a bunch of people who love it as much or more than you do.

With the internet becoming what it is right at the time I was starting to become what I am, I often found myself looking beyond my own peer group for all things art and music related.

Growing up in a small, fiercely paternalistic and culturally xenophobic evangelical community in rural northern Pennsylvania, this was a huge blessing as it allowed me develop a diversity of tastes and likes that would have otherwise probably been limited to Country or CCM.

At the same time, it was a curse, because it caused me to become alienated from whatever tiny shreds of ability to relate to those around me that I may have had before. I would frequently become a fan of something, and spend years being the only fan I knew of it.

One of those things was a band that would become one of my favorites. LCD Soundsystem.

I bought my first couple of their tracks after hearing them on a videogame soundtrack. Later, when I went to Europe the first time for a semester––also my first time away from home––I listened to more of their music, and it seemed to take on a new meaning for me.

And that's how it's always been. Whether it was driving home from a good party early in the morning, feeling lost in a foreign country, or dealing with the death of a friend, their music always seemed to meet me where I was.

And all that time, I didn't know a single other person, at least in real life, who had ever heard of James Murphy or the band LCD Soundsystem.

Their concerts were always 300+ miles away, and if they ever came closer, it was for music festivals that I didn't have time or money to go to (not to mention that kind of thing tends to be awkward by yourself). So LCD Soundsystem came and went without me ever interacting with anyone else about them.

Last night I drove to Ithaca (by myself) to see SHUT UP AND PLAY THE HITS, which is a documentary about the band's final show and the days preceding and following it. I normally wouldn't have driven that far just to watch a movie, but if you know me, you know documentary film is my favorite kind, and the subject was obviously something I like.

I got there an hour early, and after walking around the Commons––which is interesting even on a Wednesday night––stopping by Starbucks and then Ithaca Ale House, I made my way down the dark alleyway that led to the art theater where it was being shown.

It was crowded inside––so much so that the people who frequented the theater seemed surprised by it. I got in line, and then realized that all of the other people there were in line for the same room as me.

The film was great. Totally worth the drive. But I think the weirder, and more memorable part of the experience for me, was, after six years, finally being in a room with 200 other people who liked LCD Soundsystem. They were out there after all.

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