Showtime had arrived, guitars on racks tuned, electricity so strong in the air our hair seemed to stand up on our heads. Looking out at hot lit stage from the wings as a DJ personality conjures the first roars out of the crowd, then as he
reaches an arm our way and says, “your very own Stoic Frame”, the place erupts and we walk onto the stage looking out in awe at a Kid Rock crowd of 15,000.
The First Few Notes
You can tell a lot about the approaching performance from the first few notes, they set tone for the entire symbiotic vaudeville to ensue, whether good, a bit shoddy, or simply soul shaking. This was a day that the notes resonated in the rafters, ignited the awaiting
tinder-box of emotion, and filled my heart with a singular joy that supersedes words.
This is the triumph, the unbridled joy, the the enchantress, the oracle, the perfection, of performance. I often paraphrase Jerry Garcia in his description of the indescribable magic on a night when the mojo has truly kicked in: “all I know is there are moments on stage when we are putting out sounds that not one of us is capable as musicians of making.”
This is the mystery and magic, the sanctity, the raw exposure of sonic tapestries that envelop the audience’s yearning, and in turn the performer’s heart, like a warm blanket sown together with threads of affinity; this is the mirthful face of performance.
There is another, more serious, if not slightly scowled, face often setting its unrelenting gaze upon me; that if not mentioned, would indicate an insincerity in my portrayal of the craft and vocation of performance. There are moments in the performing musician’s experience that weigh on his or her shoulders, and melody-whittled skull, like a half-ton sheath of troubadouric armor.
In consulting another of my unknowing mentor’s books of Rock-n-roll scripture, John Fogarty aptly says: “if I only had a dollar for every song I sung, and every time I’ve had to play while people sat there drunk…” I am lucky to have honed a craft that often allows me to wield my fingers against the strings, instead of a shovel into the earth, but there are moments when a weary dreamer, in full realization of thenecessity to rise early in the morning for his daytime job; is required to fill the stale air, and slurred conversation filled barroom, with the best sounds he can muster through hoarsened vocal chords, and an exhausted mind.
The Memory Weaver
These are moments of hidden strife a performer must endure. The lone memory weaver, tucked under corner stage lights, has to maintain a velveteen sound, utter focus, and unscathed showmanship, even when his passionate out-pours end, un-celebrated, onto deaf ears and no applause.
There are moments when it feels like you’ve handed your carved opus to the curators and they’ve peered right over it and instead found interest in a blemish on a wall.
Although resembling the sensation of sharp gravel in your shoe, it’s within these many unfriendly hours that performance is most skillfully mastered. These hours are doors that all determined performers must pass through, and a cart of nails they must bear up a mountain, in order to reach the summit of spontaneous connection with an audience that creates an ornate banquet of the senses within the convening of strangers and their valiant jester.
This indescribable joy in small rooms, or large, is why we faithfully strap hole-ridden instruments around our necks, continually sharpen our chops, and ceaselessly attempt to conjure magic and touch the hearts of those we tender, and those we will
never know. – Keith Sanchez
Ana Romero Sanchez and Keith Sanchez are combining their creative talents for the forthcoming multimedia eBook, “A Collection of Human Noise – Anthology” to be published by Community Publishing.
Community Publishing brings local artists of all mediums together in creative collaborations for distribution as multimedia eBooks while promoting literacy in our communities.
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