Erin McAuliffe | Friday, November 6, 2015
You attend concerts to hear what artists sing, but often times the words they speak into the microphone linger long past the melodies. This personal connection enabled only through concerts by spontaneous sharing is integral to my love of seeing artists live.
Perhaps it’s the journalist in me, but I itch to hear opinions and stories from those whose melodies I drink in daily. These glimpses past the lyrics leave you not only feeling closer to the music but closer to the artists. Following are a few of the most interesting things I’ve heard artists speak into the mic.
“I like dreams … and symbolism.” — Stephane Wrembel at Legends. He also mentioned things about the universe, French impressionism, how he doesn’t think of time in terms of years and lots about the archetypes.
“This one is for all the stoners out there.” — Cayucas, a “California chill” band with catchy surf pop and luscious blonde locks, directed at a plethora of middle-aged dads head bobbing in band T-shirts. The comment was met by some half-hearted, anxious “woo”s as the dads checked for their kids’ friends in peripheral.
“Who else feels like a melty cat?” — Genevieve. She was playing at an outdoor music festival, and it was hot. Genevieve was apparently overcome by liquefying felinity and wanted to know if this was the norm.
“This could be your last song ever. You never know!!” — Joywave as they order the crowd to crouch down for the bass drop.
“This concert was only $5?! That’s not enough for a Joywave show … ” — Also Joywave.
“We woke up at 6 a.m. to drive here. Wow, it’s hot. We’re only doing two more songs.” — Bully. After belting out their situationally relevant lyrics to “Picture,” “I hate it so much, I hate it so much,” they wilted offstage after a 27-minute set at an August music festival.
“This week, I met my idol, Paul Gallagher. He asked if we were ‘Always’ like the shampoo. I shouted back, ‘No, like the tampons!’ He turned around and said, ‘You’re worth it.’” — Molly Rankin of Alvvays.
“This is what it looks like when you die in a post-industrial society / All the dogs had meningitis and the ostrich got struck by lightning / My mom read us Plath poems over our pets’ graves.” Sufjan Stevens. Sufjan played the entirety of “Carrie and Lowell” before speaking, but when he spoke, he spoke as only he could. He went on an extensive rant about his childhood pets and the rather dark happenings surrounding their existence and non-existence. Seeing as he extensively reflected on his childhood and aloneness in “Carrie,” the musings felt like further insight into the memories that his lyrics originated from.
**Throws Nature Valley granola bars, Apple watches and a French press into the audience** — Action Bronson
“It’s just gummies, don’t get allergic.” — Victoria Legrand of Beach House as she throws candy into the audience during a Halloween concert.
“That didn’t feel good, and we are only going to play one more song,” Cleo of Girlpool after leaving the stage with her sister when someone yelled out that they loved Harmony’s breasts.
When artists are in front of a live audience, they are vulnerable and, unfortunately in this case, they were taken advantage of. Artists can use their microphones to deliver their musings, their music or to take a stand, like Girlpool’s powerful confrontation of harassment. Whether it’s light or heavy, I’m constantly listening for what an artist is going to say off-script next.