To witness true art -- these are the moments of my youth I will not forget. And these are the moments that fill me with joy, so pleased to experience. Tonight I went to see a band called The Music Tapes. The man who formed this group, Julian Koster, was the bassist/singing saw player for the band Neutral Milk Hotel. Jeff Mangum, a once underground artist-turned-popular-turned-scarce was the head of NMH, a band which has been a beautiful inspiration to me for a couple of years. He has an incredibly unique philosophy on life which pours through his lyrics. To fall in love with someone who is dead is a heart-wrenching experience - I'm sure - which is what Jeff Mangum did after reading The Diary of Anne Frank. He was overwhelmed with sympathy for her..and he devoted a whole album to her entitled "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea". The album is filled with WWII imagery, as well as hopeless romance all in the name of Anne. Having that background on the band and my deep feelings for them, maybe you can imagine how it felt to be in the presence of Julian Koster tonight, someone who had been part of this amazing project (Neutral Milk Hotel is no longer together). It was hard to hold myself together, and seemed surreal as Taylor, Connor, Whitney and I casually offered the band help to bring their instruments and props inside the house where they were playing. They're going across America and Canada only playing house shows. I think this says something about their character and their value in intimacy. Because watching someone on stage is one thing...but sitting in a living room with interaction between the audience and performers throughout the whole show is a whole other thing. Julian has one of the biggest imaginations I have ever encountered and it made for one of the most magical nights of my life. It was like music being played and stories being told by a five year old boy who's physical sight to the world around him just is not enough. Creativity bursting out of his every pore. Afterward I tried to keep myself "cool" as I talked to him and said how much Neutral Milk Hotel means to me. Didn't really work. But that's okay. Going home and listening to Neutral Milk Hotel brought about a completely different experience after meeting him. The lyrics hit my heart so much harder than before. I had just been in the same room as him. I felt like I was part of it. The overwhelming emotion due to awe left me wanting to cry at the sound of
"One day we will die and our ashes will fly from the aeroplane over the sea. But for now, we are young, let us lay in the sun and count every beautiful thing we can see."
Once I've experienced artists like Jeff and Julian, it's hard to go back to mainstream because you just don't feel the same way. Love sick songs from Taylor Swift wont be my cup of tea - that's just the way it is. Probably because she is actually sane...and most of the time someone needs to be a little insane to create music so vibrant with poetry, but that's beside the point. True art changes you. It leave you wanting more. And it gives you emotions that you can't really even identify. It's quite the unique experience. Whatever you would call this.