Do You Have The Sixth Sense Of Live Music?


Like Haley Joel Osment saw dead people in The Sixth Sense, I’ve been seeing patterns lately. 

I don’t normally search so hard for coded messages, but I guess I am what I read since I’ve been soaking up the latest Wired issue about  cracking codes and hidden messages. 

What also sparked this deeper dive into a search for codes and patters, was that, a couple weeks back, I had a day full of hidden codes that involved the recurrence of the Letter “B.” 

And, trust me,  there is a live music connection to all this.


Because ever since that day I’ve taken a look back at my own and other photos of ticket patternsmedia passes and concert photos to see if they might reveal something more about the show or what those shows meant to me.  

 A Day of “B’s”

Here’s what I wrote on Facebook profile about my “Day of B’s”. (You can friend me on Facebook to see all the referenced photos and video)

This Saturday seemed like any other Saturday. But when I looked back at what had actually happened, I realized it wasn’t just any Saturday. It was a Saturday of “B‘s”

Talking a break from writing projects, I visited Elgin Books with Colleen and when she asked me to grab a book from a top shelf the books began to slip off the shelf. And I was forced to hacky sack the porcelain kitten Bookend (see photos) to keep it from shattering on the floor. I successfully launched the kitten into the air with my toe, caught it and placed it back on the shelf as Colleen laughed to herself.

Then we encountered Bugs in Downtown Elgin (see video) as they swarmed the cars, smacked Colleen in the forehead and covered the vacant Festival Park. If you saw these bugs to I’d like to know what kind of bug they were.

Then as we walked back to our car we encountered a dead Bird in downtown Elgin (see photo) laying on the grass infront of the new Townhouses. I asked Colleen if she thought it might be because of the bird flu but she said no. And we moved on.

(btw, all of the above media was captured on a BlackBerry Storm)

Then later that evening we watched the Bulls lose game seven.

And this all happened one week after my Birthday.

Now, this all may seem like a strange alphabetical coincidence. But I beg to differ.

It’s Monday and I still don’t know the reason for all the “B‘s” in one day. But I bet I find out some day.

To start, one of my thoughts about why all this code and pattern stuff might be important is that I think we might be missing major connective themes when we go to concerts.

At first, I thought I was just being silly by looking for patterns in live music. But then I thoought about how companies and their marketing departments spend thousands of dollars looking for and trying to understand the buying patterns of consumers. So I thought, ‘why not take it a bit deeper with the live concert experience and see if there are any patterns within the live concert experience  that might releave to why so many people love concerts.

We get so absorbed on the surface with the usual pleasure  factors we’re familiar with and long for (great performance, embracing, moshing, drinking), that we might be missing the  underlying messages that make those standard pleasure factors so powerful and meaningful to begin with. 

Micro vs. macro patterns

After my Day of  “B’s” I first thought of patterns in terms of micro and macro.

Micro patterns are smaller ones like the individual “B'”s that are harder to notice. But when you do noticed them they link together and turn into larger macro patterns that might just tell you something about who you are and why you felt a concert was so “amazing.” 

But then there’s the other kind of macro that can show us the broader strokes of emotional patterns or phases we go through in our lives.  For me  I liken it to the way we listen to and go concerts because we feeling a certain way for a period of time in our lives. 

Music Listening Life Patterns

For example, there was a period of time when I loved and only listened to  hard and aggressive rock music, and went to many hard and aggressive shows because that was the only kind of music and concerts that seemed to give me pleasure and release.  And looking back,  that period of my life was filled with large amounts of emotional stress, turmoil and confusion. 

Seeing a pattern like that in hindsight can sometimes tell us a lot about who we were, are or might become. 

We hold on to certain genres or music experiences for many reasons. Sometimes it’s because we’re holding onto the same emotions and longings associated with that kind of music.

Sometimes we grow out of those phases and our emotions develop and mature, and the music no longer has the same appeal it once had. It no longer provides the release or comfort it once did.

And because music is such a diverse emotional rudder,  or reinforcer, the same piece of  music can steer or speak to us in two completely different  directions, in two different phases of our lives. Because we all hear music and experience life in different ways.

And I’m thinking that the same goes for concerts. 

We love the whole live concert experience (macro) and it’s the smaller  parts (micro), like the underlying emotions or details about the concert like my Day of B’s, that collectively enhance the live concert experience.   And we all have this macro/micro experience in common.

Keywords of connection

It is fascinating to think that this type of emotional experience is what connects all live music fans.  It’s this common connection that makes us go home and tweet about our experience to the world, or update our Facebook status. And in the case of concerts, to get a complete picture of what’s going on, I think that update should ask us “What’s on your heart?”  Because we end up packing  that small space with the contents of our heart as it overflows with the jubilation and elation we just experience with hundreds of other concertgoers for two hours. 

Ongoing Twitter Experiment

I’ve been doing an experiment on Twitter using the keyword search watching all the tweets about concerts and live music. And my keyword search has pulled up some amazing insights. 

Like the B’s, I’ve seen themes throughout all the tweets and I wonder if all those concert-loving tweeters know the depth of their connection.

As I writer, I know that words are my way of connection with you even if I don’t know you personally. And words are the bread and butter of Twitter and key element to human connection and seeing the patterns.

Is there a pattern within concerts?

Since my Facebook  B’s post, and my secret message post, I’ve been recalling some of my recent concerts to see if there are any underlying letters or codes to unlock the deeper meanings of the concerts I’ve been to.  I haven’t seen any yet, but it’s still early and there’s a lot of emotional sifting to do so I know it’ll take time. But I’m sure they’re there for me to dig up and discover.

But, again,  I’m not so sure that letters are the only decoding device for live concerts. 

As I’ve learned in the Wired articles I’ve read, the message could be sent to our hearts and mind is many ways, using means possible.

The important thing here is to be able to see both the big and small picture, the macro and the macro, and balance both so that the enjoyment of the concert experience doesn’t get lost but only enhanced by looking for the connecting  patterns and messages

And I know that if I find them I’m sure to soak up a deeper and maybe even the true meaning of the live concert experience.

What patterns have you noticed in your concertgoing  lately?

This short interview with Osment is about The Sixth Sense but he could easily be talking about our  sixth sense to see the patterns that connect our live music experiences:


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Photo credits: mereshadow, Colleen Catania.

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