The Truth About Love, Live Music and Concert Fan Couples

Ever since I discovered and interviewed Japanese new-wave quartet Polysics I’ve been looking forward to experiencing their mad love for Devo live.

And last Wednesday, at the Double Door, their surges of thousand-gigawatt melodies and onslaught of sequenced rhythms re-calibrated my synapses in ways that Devo never has.

I clearly had fun and got my fill of electro new-wave rock during the show. But I also was faced with the harsh reality that my wife doesn’t always like the same music as I do — which means it’s time for us to talk about how, as concert fans, we don’t always have as much as fun at concerts as our mates and spouses do. So how do we deal with that?

What Do You Do When Your Mate Snoozes During A Show?

It’s inevitable. If you’re dating or married, at some point, you’ll realize that your mate doesn’t like the same music as you. And that sonic disconnect will most certainly show is ugly head in the live concert experience. You can either fight it, deny it, or just accept it and hopefully find a way to work it out.

During this Polysics show I had to face the truth that my wife Colleen doesn’t always like the same music as me, or doesn’t always enjoy the concerts we cover as much as I do.

Now, let me say this first.  My wife and I have shared many awesome moments together at concerts.  And when it comes to our tastes in music we share many of the same favorite music ranging from country and rock to hip hop and pop.

But within those genres we still have disconnects. And I’ve struggled with that disconnecting truth for a long time. I’ve had an especially hard time accepting it when it’s in a live concert setting.

So how did I deal with our disconnect during the Polysics show that came just a few days before Valentine’s Day?  Very carefully.

Here’s how it all happened.

In my Ink19 review of the show I wrote that Polysics’s mix of Japanese pop, metal, rock and punk sounds and feels like you’re strapped to the hood of Speed Racer’s car while he blazes along at top speed. It’s a fun and crazy ride that only gets better when the band is raging, pulsing and exploding in front of you during a live show.

Obviously, this Polysics show exceeded my expectations. But Colleen couldn’t say the same.  She was on the other end of the pleasure spectrum (way on the other end) —  which means that this show was a classic example of how there are certain bands that I love and she doesn’t.

It was a complex situation to think about because when it comes to covering live music for music publications we’re a team. I write the words and she takes the pictures. And I’m very proud of what we do and how well we work together. I always tell her that I need her and she needs me. And we’ve always agreed on that point. We might not always agree on what bands to cover but, as this story shows, we somehow find a way to work things out.

When we go to cover a band that I’m really excited about, like Polysics, and she’s not that into them, it always presents a strange feeling for me because I want to connect with her — through the music — during the concert. I want her to feel, at least on some level, the same thing I’m feeling.

But as the years have gone by — and as well-intentioned as it might be — I’ve quickly realized that it’s not a very realistic expectation. But my realization hasn’t made things any easier.

So needless to say, I experienced both pain and pleasure during the Polysics show and what happened afterward made me come to terms with this hard-to-face truth yet again.

Now, I share this next part of the Polysics story with you with Colleen’s full permission to disclose. And I should also say that although what happened was pretty funny, it’s still a rare occurrence for Colleen to do such a thing.

I told Colleen that I wanted to tell you our Polysics story because it illustrates a very important topic.

I told her that it was important for me to tell you about what happened because I was confident that we’re not the only concert fan couple that struggles with this.

Here’s our brief Polysics story:

About halfway through the show — after Colleen had taken her shots of the band during the first three songs and as I was completely locked in to the frenetic groove — Colleen asked me if it was okay that she go sit downstairs in the underground lounge to relax while I stayed upstairs and enjoyed the rest of the show.

I was upset at first. But then reality set in. And I quickly realized that she wasn’t going to be getting in to the show as much as I was. So, as hard as it was, I told her it was okay and that I would come get her after the show.

So after the show, I went down to the lower lounge area to get her and found her snoozing on the couch.

It wasn’t a very rock and roll scene but still it was sort of cute to see her there catching some z’s, so I chuckled to myself as the situation got more interesting.

Now, if you’re not familiar with how the Double Door is set up, you should know that when the show is over the artists have an option of exiting stageleft and following a flight of stairs down to the lounge area where Colleen was snoozing.

So as Colleen was napping, Polysics — still clad in their bright orange jumpsuits — came down the back stairs after the show and walked right by Colleen.

I laughed as I walked up to Colleen and wondered what Polysics might have thought as they saw Colleen — who was taking photos of them during the show but was now taking a nap .  I wondered if Polysics thought it odd or a bit insulting to see one of the show’s photographers snoozing after they had just given their all and put on a great show. Maybe they didn’t even notice. Who knows?

In any case,  I chuckled again as I quickly nudged Colleen from her slumber.

She woke up, we left the Double Door and headed home.

Then it was time to chat.

As we drove home, like we always do, we talked about the show.

But this time it was mostly me doing the after-show buzzing and talking about how great the show was.  And like she always does, Colleen just smiled at me, nodded her head and told me that she got some good shots that I would like (and I did.)

Then we started to talk about this whole “I like and she doesn’t like Polysics” thing.

First, I told her that Polysics had walked by her when she was sleeping. She laughed and shrugged it off.  She told me that she had fun shooting them but with all due respect and nothing personal to the band, she wasn’t really concerned about how they felt about her snoozing during their show because Polysics just isn’t her type of band.

I always appreciate and can count on Colleen’s honesty.  So as we finished our chat, I told her it was hard to accept the fact that she doesn’t like or understand Polysics.  But that, at the very least, I hoped that she understood why I like them.

She quickly told me that she did understand —  mainly because she knows me and she completely understands why Polysics and their live show would move me and get me all giddy, goofy and jazzed up.

We talked some more as we drove home and then called it a night.

We’ve had other chats and situations like that after concerts many times before and I always look forward to our post-show debriefs.

And the more I think about our Polysics adventure, the more I realize how big and crucial this topic is, so I’ll be taking a deeper look at it as Live Fix rolls on.  And should you care to share, I look forward to hearing about your stories, too.

That said, I’ve been meaning to ask…

How About You?

How do you handle the musical taste disconnect with your mate or spouse? How do you handle the live concert situation?

Is it hard for you to deal with the reality that you might not like the same music or enjoy concert in the same way that your mate or spouse does?

Coming Up Next

It’s Part Two of our Polysics adventure.  But this time it was the openers who inspired another exploration of the Little Things, tattoos and the allure of the almighty set list.

All photos by Colleen Catania

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