Spotify Playlist of the Week

Michael Quick

“We’ll Do It Live”
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Putting on a great live show is something that every artist should strive for and a good portion of the time it’s what will bring them fame in the long run. So for this week’s playlist, I put together a bunch of exceptional pieces of live music in order to show that there is more than just the polished studio versions.

The Grateful Dead (AP photo)
The Grateful Dead
(AP photo)

To me, live music is the lifeblood of an artist. It is with this that they expand their audience and show their fans what their music sounds like without a bunch of producers or other people from the record company putting in their two cents. Obviously, there are audio engineers helping to put on the show, but if the drummer wanted to go off and play a twenty-minute solo, there’s little they could do to stop them, short of cutting the power to the house speakers. This is what really sets live music apart, and musicians that can make every show sound wonderful and different – be it through some new song structure, solos, or setlist – are really next-level. Any fan of music knows at least one “Dead Head” that can name the year and city of a particular Grateful Dead concert recording, and that’s because there is enough variation in their performances to be able to distinguish between them. This is why jam bands, like the Dead and Phish, are so popular for so long: there’s always something new to experience.

Another thing that makes experiencing live music so great is the crowds. Not all concerts are created equal, but, for the most part, everyone in attendance is there because they share a common interest: the band. So there is a sense of community there that is unlike anything else. The crowd also acts as its own organism, ebbing and flowing with the music and each member feeds off of the others’ energy. The most obvious example of this is in the mosh pits of metal and hardcore acts, but I’ve been to a myriad of different kinds of shows, and this weird mob phenomenon has existed in all of them, to some degree.

Finally, there is no better way to support an artist than by going out and seeing them play. With the advent of the Internet and music piracy, live shows and merchandise sales have become bands’ biggest source of income. So go out, see a show, buy a t-shirt, it’s good for you and for them.