LCD Soundsystem’s “Shut Up And Play The Hits” Is A Concert Funeral?

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Yep, we love exploring concert movies that capture the essence of the live music experience. And we’re excited to share the news that LCD Soundsystem‘s Shut Up and Play the Hits will be arriving in theaters this summer.

James Murphy and company wanted to go out in the spirit of the Last Waltz.

And by looks of the trailer, LCD Soundsystem was seeing their final show at Madison Square Garden as a celebratory funeral between them and their fans.

That said, it’s interesting to consider this concert movie as a continuation of our exploration into how concert fans experience grief, loss and mourning during a live show.

But in this situation things are a bit different.

The loss is the ending of a band and not necessarily the loss of a life or a tragic event that happens at a show like the Sugarland tragedy.

And this show isn’t like our 9/11 experiment where fans gathered at a concert to collectively and communally mourn after a shared national tragedy.

And as they mention in the trailer, James Murphy and the band have complete control over the how their “funeral” goes, what songs get played and how longs it lasts.

Those elements of control have me wondering a lot, because celebration, grieving and mourning are central elements to traditional wakes and funerals, and it’s extremely fascinating to re-think having more emotional control of those rituals in the context of the live music experience.

Were You At the MSG show?

What’s your favorite LCD Soundsystem live music love story? What do you think about a final concert being compared to a funeral?

Share your concert experiences and thoughts in the comments below, on Twitter @livefixmedia, on Facebook , Google Plus, or call the concert fan hotline at 773-609-4341, and we’ll include them in a future episode of Live Fix Radio.

For more information about the film before it’s release this summer visit www.shutupandplaythehits.com.

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RIP Mikey Welsh: Fans, Bandmates Mourn Death of Ex-Weezer Bassist

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As we mentioned before Weezer is scheduled to play the Blue Album in its entirety as part of Riot Fest tonight. And it saddens us to report that former Weezer bassist Mikey Welsh, who planned to attend the show, died yesterday at a hotel in Chicago.

According to the Chicago Tribune:

Welsh, 40, was found unresponsive on the floor after failing to check out of his room at the Raffaello Hotel in the 200 block of East Delaware Place at 1 p.m. Saturday, according to Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Laura Kubiak. Hotel staff found him.

Weezer had these words to say about Welsh on their blog:

…Tomorrow we play the RIOTfest in Chicago as planned – Mikey was planning on attending this show and we were looking forward to seeing him again. As sad as it is to think about, we know Mikey would never want the rock stopped on his account – quite the contrary in fact. While we wont see him, we know he will be there rocking out with us!

As a tribute to Welsh’s impact on Weezer fans and their live concert experiences, I’d like to share this entry that Welsh posted on his Facebook page on September 27 as he chronicles the band’s return to the stage in 2000.

It was early summer of 2000, and we were on our way to our first stop on the Vans Warped Tour. Weezer had started playing live again just a couple of weeks earlier, and we were all very excited to be out of the rehearsal space, and back to rocking live.. But the mood in the van was rather somber. We were about to start a two week leg of this rather “punk rock” tour, and we were all fairly convinced that we were going to get lynched. Particularly rivers. We were driving north from LA to meet up with our first date of the tour… rivers sat on the far back seat of our van, not really speaking.. pat and I were sitting together on the front bench, trying to lighten up the mood, but it wasn’t really helping.. so we finally arrived at the concert site, and out van eventually made its way back by all of the tour busses.. the mighty mighty bosstones were one of the bands on the tour, [along with green day, nofx, the lunachicks, etc…] there were two main stages, pretty much side by side… I immediately went to say hi to the bosstones guys, who I had been friends with for a long time, back in boston.. I found out soon enough that the bosstones were playing right before us, on the stage next to ours… I walked up on to the side of the stage to watch them play… the bosstones had always been a big inspiration to me when I was younger, and I was really happy to be on tour with them.. so I made my way to the side of the stage to watch them do their thing.. they got to about to the end of their third song, when I started hearing an ocean of fans chanting something.. I couldn’t really tell what they were screaming, because dicky barret was trying to talk to them in between songs… but I think dicky heard what was going on, because he suddenly looked rather agitated… then I could hear it… WEEZER WEEZER WEEZER. I was simultaneously incredibly embarrassed, and incredibly stoked.. I didn’t watch the rest of the bosstones set… I walked back to our dressing room with a huge smile on my face… now, it was time.. weezer’s first major reintroduction to the world… in front of a sea of people.. along with some of our peers.. we were led up to the stage, the crowd still chanting our name.. many heavy rockers had taken their places on the side of the stage, to watch the return of the weez… billie joe Armstrong, fat mike, my good friend joe sirois [drummer of the bosstones] they were all waiting for us… we opened with “my name is Jonas”. I was playing and witnessing a mass frenzy.. the crowd was singing louder than we were playing… rivers gave me a big smile… and all was right with the world….

How Will Fans Respond Tonight?

Again, we’re saddened by this news. And we send our thoughts and prayers to Welsh’s family, friends and all our fellow Weezer fans.

As we shared before with other artists who have passed on too soon, moments like these are highly emotional and I imagine that tonight’s show will be very palpable and raw as fans grieve and mourn Welsh’s passing in song and lyric, and recall memories of seeing him live in concert. And judging by the photo above that’s from a fan-created makeshift memorial in VT and the creation of RIP area on Weezerpedia.com, that process has already begun.

We’re heading out to the show and we’ll be sure to let you know how things go.

If you’ve seen Weezer before, or you’re going to tonight’s show, we invite you to drop a comment below about your experience, and we’ll share your story during a future episode of Live Fix Radio.

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RIP and Live Music Mourning: Remembering DJ Mehdi at Empty Bottle

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When I read the news that DJ Mehdi had died this week from a tragic fall from a rooftop at his home in Paris, I immediately thought back to when we saw him perform alongside DJ A-Trak at the Empty Bottle in 2007.

And what I remember the most about that show was having just as much fun dancing to DJ Mehdi’s beats and I did watching him get lost in the music and smiling constantly through his set. The guy was a blast to watch and the pleasure he had playing live was undeniable and infectious.

What I’m describing to you by looking back at DJ Mehdi Empty Bottle set is what I like to call live music mourning, which is the process of a concert fan grieving in the wake of an artist’s death who you saw perform live.

The grieving process happens in many ways in our lives when people or things we love to do die or cease to exist.

And as a concert fan, I’ve realized that live music mourning is a unique kind of grieving that I’ve learned a lot from by reflecting on what’s going on in my mind and heart before, during and after the show.

For me the live music mourning process is defined by the build up, feeling and the processing of emotions associated with that live music moment.

It’s also the process of feeling and sorting through all the thoughts and emotions associated with the music that artist created on album. And just like other grieving moments, live music mourning isn’t just a one time event, it’s an ongoing process and can last for a long time, and it can be triggered by a song, photo, a word, a sense or anything associated with that moment or artist.

DJ mehdi RIP empty bottle

For me, when I heard about DJ Mehdi’s death I thought back to the Empty Bottle show and I found myself reminiscing about everything I saw, heard, smelled and felt.

I felt big sense of sadness about his death because I felt that he had a lot more music to share with the world, and I was sad that other fans wouldn’t be able to experience the same thing I felt that night at the Empty Bottle.

I felt happy and joyful this past week too because it was a pleasure to voyage back to that concert where I had such a great time.

I’ve also found myself thinking about all the other artist we’ve seen live who’ve died. I’ve thought about Amy Winehouse, Sparklehorse, Michael Jackson, Jay Raetard and Mike “Eyedea” Larsen.

And I’ve been thinking about my Dad’s death last year and his love for Neil Diamond live.

And I’ve been thinking about fellow concert fans who’ve died and their favorite concert experiences, and fans who’ve experienced traumatic events like the Sugarland tragedy.

UPDATE 9/23:

As a tribute to DJ Mehdi we shared one of our favorite tracks “I am Somebody”  on the latest episode of Live Fix Radio.

 

What’s on Your Mind?

Do you have a DJ Medhi concert memory? Have you experienced live music mourning? Let us know what’s on your mind and we’ll share your story during a future episode of Live Fix Radio.

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How Did Live Music Help Fans Cope After 9/11?

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Over the last ten years, I’ve heard many personal stories about what my friends and family felt during and after the tragic events of 9/11.

And today, in one way or another, you’ll probably be sharing stories of where you were and what you felt when you heard the unbelievable and shocking news that the World Trade Center Towers had been attacked.

As I think about all the 9/11 stories being shared today, I’m reminded how many of the ones I’ve heard include details about how concert venues all across the world became unlikely shelters of comfort, support and cathartic solidarity.

I wasn’t at a concert right after 9/11, but I imagine such a scene would be similar to what it was like at Rock The Bells after Michael Jackson died. For me that concert was a very odd, uncomfortable and awkwardly sublime mix of mourning, entertainment and escapism.

And to continue our exploration of how traumatic and emotional events like 9/11 define our concert experiences,  I’d like to share with you a 9/11 live music story.

This story was originally posted as a response to our Joy, Grief and Community Experiment by our friend Mike Philips who explains how a post 9/11 PJ Harvey concert experience helped him to process and cope with the confusing mix of shock, sadness, grief and guilt.

It’s no easy task to describe what you feel during such a palpable moment.

But nonetheless, as you’ll see, Mike does a great job of taking us back to the scene.

One of my favorite things about his story is his honesty in expressing the emotional complexity of the moment. A complexity that I’m sure we can all relate with on many levels.

So without further ado, here’s Mike’s story, followed by an invitation to share yours.

Mike’s 9/11 Live Music Story: PJ Harvey at the Riviera

Allow me to share a grieving moment of my own through music.

September 13, 2001.

Two days after the horrific day of September 11. I remember the city of Chicago was dead silent. No airplanes, no loud music, no horns honking in traffic. It was a collective feeling of sadness and respect for human kind that hushed the normally bustling streets.

I had tickets to PJ Harvey at The Riviera in Chicago on the 13th, and was struggling; trying to decide if going to a rock concert was the right thing to do. It was a tough decision, but we decided to go – mostly because we didn’t want terrorists and hate-mongers to continue to alter our lives.

Before the show, the crowd was on edge. There were whispers and nervous laughter as nobody knew exactly what they were doing there. Everyone’s eyes revealed sadness and lingering shock.

PJ Harvey took the stage. She talked about an earlier band meeting – how they debated whether they should do the show. Were they being disrespectful? In the end, they decided they absolutely must play. That in times like these it is crucial for people to gather and mourn and help each other stand up.

She plugged in and ripped the first chord. It was loud. A chill shot up from my heels to the back of my neck. The air was suddenly warm and you could feel the audience take one giant deep breath and slowly exhale – as if we’d been deprived of oxygen for the past 48 hours. I became overwhelmed with sadness, then the far away screams of thousands of innocent people got a little quieter. We were all happy to be together. And we were exhausted but ready to rock.

Because that’s how we roll.

What’s Your 9/11 Live Music Story?

We thank Mike for sharing his story and now we invite you to share yours. Were you at a concert right after 9/11? How did that show help you grieve and cope? How was that concert different than other concerts you’ve been to? Did that experience change the way you think about live music?

Let us know what you thinking in the comments below and we’ll share your feedback during a future episode of Live Fix Radio.

Note: The video is from PJ Harvey’s show in New York on 9/8/11 via gardenfiles. It was the closest I could get to Riviera show. But if you have video of 9/13 concert let us know and we’ll post it up.

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Indie-rap Community, Fans Gather for Michael “eyedea” Larsen Memorial

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On Monday, we shared the sad news about the death of indie-rapper Micheal “Eyedea” Larsen, of Eyedea and Abilities. And tonight, and this week, the indie-rap community and fans will gather to celebrate his life and mourn his passing.
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What Emotions Do Fans Feel During A Ra Ra Riot Show?

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Ra Ra riot at Metro in Chicago

Ra Ra Riot has come a long way since I first saw them perform in 2007 at moe.down festival near their home in upstate New York. During their recent show at Metro in Chicago earlier this month, I had the chance to see how they’ve grown, get glimpse of their future and wonder what emotions fans feel during their performance.
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R.I.P. Michael Larsen of Eyedea & Abilities: A Tribute To His Life And Rhymes

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Sad news about the death of indie-rapper Micheal “Eyedea” Larsen, of Eyedea and Abilities, was announced yesterday. So let’s pay tribute as fans mourn his passing and celebrate his life and rhymes.

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Saul Williams Spares A Penny: My Eternal Afterthought

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That video above is evidence that something eternal happened last night at the Saul Williams show.

It was a case of my brain processing one thing while my heart processed another.

During what I believe was the song “A Penny for a Thought”  I misunderstood the lyrics in a way that surprisingly served my soul and comforted my mind and heart.

It was an unusual show in that the energy of Williams wasn’t quite at his normal level, which is still pretty intense compared to most artists.

That said, I had a hard time finding an emotional entry point into the show. 

But then, towards the end of the show, he played what I believe was “A Penny for a Thought,” but I’m still not sure. 

In any case, there was a verse that caught my ear as Williams kept repeating it:  “Even death is a part of life…Even death is a part of life..”

And each time he repeated that verse the doorway to the emotional entry point I was looking for opened wider and wider.

So I stepped in.

And then it hit me. 

For the last three days, my wife and I have been mourning the death of her Uncle John who died last Thursday after his battle with brain cancer.

One of the reasons it’s been hard for me is because I got to know Uncle John’s love for live music earlier this year when I interviewed him for Live Fix about meeting Kid Rock backstage.

And naturally, that conversation and John’s death have been on my mind and heart in some pretty heavy and profound ways.

So during the Saul Williams concert I believe something eternal happened because this morning as I was writing this post I looked up the lyrics to “A Penny For A Thought” and realized that the actual lyrics were “Seven mountains higher that the valley of death/Seven dimensions deeper than the dimensions of breath..”

Now, I’m pretty sure I heard Williams sing “…even death is a part of life..”

But what I think was eternal and even spiritual about last night was that, for whatever reason, I heard what I needed to hear so that I would find some level of comfort and clarity as I grieve and process John’s death.

Whether I misheard the lyrics or not, what happened last night my friends was an eternal aspect of live music. 

And I think it was one of the most beautiful moments I’ve had at a concert in recent memory.  I didn’t plan on having it.  I just happened. 

Writing this post makes the whole experience even feel predestined or preordained in a way. 

It was as if God knew I needed to hear Saul Williams croon those words right into my heart.

So, as I mention in the video,  I encourage you to take time to listen for moments like I had last night when you go to your next show.

Have you ever had an eternal or “misheard” moment during a concert?

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Experiencing Grief, Joy and Community in Live Music

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Two things have been brewing in my mind lately.

1) The Community of Cathartic Mourning

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2) Building Relationships in Live Music

The Community of Cathartic Mourning

A good friend of my wife and I shared this Bonnie Raitt Star Tribune review with me a few weeks ago (the video above is one she excitedly posted on Facebook before the concert).

I share this review with you because it was one of my favorite reviews I’ve read this year.  And when I finished reading the review I thought about something very important that happened to me when our friend sent me the link.

My life changed.

I was transported straight to the heart of Raitt’s palpable concert atmosphere.

I read the review and I felt rushes of  joy, sadness, hope and an overwhelming sense of cathartic connectedness with the fans at the concert that captured the essence of live blues so beautifully. And this review represented one of the aspects of live music I love the most:

I love how live music can be an unexpected yet appropriate environment for group mourning (just like it was for fans at Rock the Bells after Michael Jackson died).

And it goes both ways.

Because live music can be just as cathartic for the artists as it can be for the fans.

The review writer/reporter, Jon Bream, didn’t say it overtly, but because of the way he wrote the review and captured the emotional intensity of the moment, I could feel that he too was traveling through and expressing his own version of cathartic mourning.  I could feel the emotion in the words as he took me step by step through the emotional progression of the show.

And the progression allowed me to travel though my own internal emotions from the past.

As I read the review, I recalled similar emotionally intense situations were I’ve been ambushed by grief at concerts. One that always stands out is Lollapalooza 2007,  where I unexpectedly mourned a friend who died.  That friend loved Modest Mouse and specifically their song Float On. During that song I welled up and had a moment of grief that was unexpected and somewhat undesired (like most of us I’m still working on expressing sadness and grief among strangers).

When you read the Lolla 2007 review you’ll see that I didn’t mention the Modest Mouse moment because I wasn’t quite sure how to make it appropriate for the review.

But nonetheless that moment was good for me.

And I’ll never forget that moment.  Ever.

Judging by Bream’s review, I imagine Raitt did her own mourning during the show as she mourned her brother Steve who recently died of cancer.

And I know, too, by reading the fan comments after the review, that other fans at the show were mourning in a similar way like I did at Lollapalooza 2007.

Which brings me to my second reason for this post: connecting with others during the live music experience.

Building Relationships in Live Music

Recently my friend Benjamin Slayter–who I had the pleasure of meeting at Rothbury this summer–asked me in a Facebook comment how I write my live concert reviews. This was the first time any body had ever asked me.  It was a honor to answer Benjamin’s questions and a pleasure to share what I’ve learned about writing live music reviews. So I gave him a short version of my approach which led me to write a more fleshed out and formal rundown that I’ll be sharing with you in a future post.

LFMourningCommunity

The reason I mention Ben’s request is because meeting him at Rothbury was one of many relationships and connections I’ve made over the last year with other music writers, photographers, business owners and fans. And lately, I’ve been really excited as I think about how cool it is when relationships and community can be built because of live music.

So what I did was compile a list of people I’ve connected with over this last year or so because of live music.  The list is in no particular order and is a mix of artists I’ve interviewed on-site; writers and photographers I’ve met and had great chats with in the media tent; vendors and PR I’ve connected with at concerts. I’ve included links to their online work so you too can enjoy their words, music, photos, businesses and daily experiences as much as I have.

If I’ve forgotten anybody I do apologize. It’s not because I’m a jerk. It’s because I suffer from the occasional brain fart. So by all means feel free to send along your link so I can add it to this post.

As always,  thanks for reading. And I hope to see you at a show, or talk live music with you very soon!

Ann Teliczan: photographer, artist at Michigan Sweet Spot

Greame Flegenheimer: writer at Brooklyn Vegan

Mike: writer, editor at Sound Citizen

Garret Woodward: writer at State of Mind and RFW

Jesse Borrell: writer at  Jam Base

The crew at Rock for Kids

Lewis Cooper: writer, photographer at Gonzo Shots

Photographer Leigh Ann Hines

The crew Arts of Life

Dan Hyman writer at Popmatters

Jules Esh at Earphoria

Chicago emcee, producer, activist, poet Jessica Disu (AKA FM Supreme)

Jamie Ludwig: editor, writer at Alarm Press

Jen Cray: writer, photographer & editor at Ink19

Steve Wienberger: author of No Air Guitar Allowed

Chicago producer and beatmaker Radius

The crew at Pitch Perfect PR

The crew at Madison House

Sgt Tibs at GoWhereHipHop

Scott Legato: photographer at RockStarProPhotography

The Crew at Future of Music Coalition

Ben Ratliff: writer at New York Times

S.D. Green:  writer, editor at Ink19

Eric Mueller: Pirates Press

The Crew at Cornerstone Promotions

Drew Fortune: writer, editor at Popmatters

The Crew at Open Books

emcee, poet, activist Saul Williams

Ben Slayter: photographer, designer

Lily: Director of Popmurals.com

David Miller: writer, editor at Matador Travel

Photographer: Anthony Nowack

Dean Budnick: writer, editor at Relix Magazine

Janine Pumilia: writer, editor at Northwest Quarterly

The crew at Live Music Blog

Writer David Shehi

Frank Krolicki writer, blogger at Windy City Rock

Jason Petros editor, writer at Chicago Independent Music Review

The crew at I Pledge Eco

Wolfgang's Vault - Bonnie Raitt Live Concert Recordings

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