I went to go sit down at the bar counter in between band sets to grab another half-priced beer from the advertised Taco Tuesday deal. I dug inside my black vegan leather jacket to stuff my phone in one of the tiny pockets and asked the bartender to add another beverage to my tab. I squeezed juice from the fresh wedge of lime that hung onto the rim of the of my glass into the chilled Corona and gazed around at the group of people loudly chatting away. I was there to get some photos for a couple of the bands that I covered in a few of the articles that I wrote for an online publication. It was late to be out here on a work night, and I was already exhausted from the long day of editing and scheduling content. However, my tune changed after hearing from the person who slid into the bar stool next to mine.
“So how do you know the band?” A young woman around my age brushed her thick black shoulder-length hair with her hand so that it was positioned behind her and adjusted her black-rimmed glasses.
I mentioned my side job as a writer and editor and spoke about how I had previously written about the band that she had come to see that night. I told her a little bit about the blog, how we covered minority and local artists of all backgrounds, including film, music, theater, and art, and how our content attempted to promote creators by telling their stories.
“How cool?” She turned her body to face mine while a guy standing right behind us at the bar, whom I had met before at another one of the band’s shows, tried to buy her a beer. “Let me ask you this,” she continued. “Why do you like writing about local music?”
“Well,” I said after I finished taking a sip of my beer. “I enjoy music and seeing it live.”
She nodded and released a smile in anticipation of what she planned to reveal to me next. “Let me tell you why I love going out to see local musicians,” she responded with stifled excitement behind her speech. “I love the community that local music creates. I feel as though many people around here don’t want to come out and support their local artists. They rather stay home. I like the passion and energy that these artists bring, and I love coming out to socialize. People like you who write about local bands encourage people to come out and socialize with their these talented people again. I think that’s really cool.”
The girl at the bar turned to face the guy standing behind us. He noticed that our attention had shifted to him and so he shrugged and added his two cents into the conversation. “It beats staying home, I guess.”
It was all true. Seeing a musician perform live in an enclosed space is widely different than listening to a track on a streaming service. The music that floods out from your headphones and into your ears is still wonderful, but seeing the artists behind the sound pulls you in deeper into a feeling that you can relate to. The music suddenly sounds better than ever before, and sharing stories from these artists allows people to know that that they are out there.
These artists that put their hearts and souls into their creative work, and who then share it with the public are passionate and brave. It was the painter, Henri Matisse, who said, “Creativity takes courage,” and helping these courageous people share their story is an amazing experience to be a part of. It makes it worthwhile to know that you are shedding light on artists who show slices of life through their work in a way that helps us to better understand the world around us.
“I agree,” I said. “There’s a community in going out to see a band perform live at a show, and it definitely beats staying home.” I took another sip of my discounted beer with a renewed sense of what it means to share the stories of local artists. Their stories are important and necessary to hear in order to understand the multi-dimensional painting of human society. In order to grow, we must learn, and in order to learn, we need to hear about the “other” by sharing their stories.