MUSIC REVIEW- Moody: State of mind colors reception
Some of my favorite records I disliked the first time I listened to them. I can think of two in particular: Funkadelic's "Uncle Jam Wants You" and De La Soul's "3 Feet High and Rising." Now I can't believe that I almost wrote those records off. I didn't understand at the time how some music is not meant to be "gotten" right away, but is meant to grow on you. Other music is made to attach itself to a specific mood, and that mood may not always coincide with the mood you're in.
A large part of enjoying music is putting yourself mentally and physically in the position to accept it. It doesn't matter how good the music is, if you're not ready to receive it, that music won't be good to you. That's the x-factor. It's the indeterminable subjective force that can impair our judgment, cause us to dislike something we would normally enjoy, or keep us from being open to new experience. Our own unpredictable moods, although at times they may seem fleeting and insignificant, can have long-term lingering effects.
So the trick is, whenever I go out to review music, to attempt to clean my slate, completely open myself as a hollow vessel to whatever it is I'm going to experience. Some nights it's easy. But (although I'd like to think otherwise) I'm human and can't always turn off how an entire day has made me feel.
Case in point, my experience with the band Shapiro at Starr Hill this past weekend. I could tell as I walked up the stairs to enter the venue that I was preoccupied. My mind was wandering due to an extremely hectic week that was far from over. I was already late for the performance showing up just as the headliners were beginning their set.
Shapiro didn't sound bad, but the chaotic indie pop spewing from the stage was too much for my little overtaxed brain to handle. Shapiro very well could have been the next big thing (although I seriously doubt it), but I just wasn't in the frame of mind to listen.
The past few weeks have been filled with shows on the loud rock end of the music spectrum. Truth be told, I'm kind of over it. This weekend I was in the mood for a bit of a pace change. Saturday I trotted over to Old Cabell Hall for classics in the form of Blues for Orchestra, a collaboration between John D'earth, the Charlottesville and University Symphony Orchestra, and The Free Bridge Quintet.
The music here was very dreamy and at times very solemn- not surprising since the music is rooted in blues chords and structure. However, after a hectic week, the deeply emotional strings of the Symphony Orchestra paired with D'earth's evocative soloing was therapeutic, to say the least.
The night began with D'earth as featured soloist for the Orchestra and climaxed with the performance of his own Concerto for Quintet and Orchestra featuring the Free Bridge Quintet. In this piece D'earth explores the trading of licks with instruments that wouldn't necessarily find themselves in the same ensemble with him– marimba versus jazz drumming, piano and harp, saxophone and oboe, just to name a few. The music was calm yet driven. The arrangement commanded the attention of the audience because of its unpredictable nature.
At the end, the audience rose in a standing ovation. I rose as well, physically and in spirit. Once again the Symphony had come through in the clutch and provided the perfect music for a moody critic. Shapiro, I'll catch you next time around. Maybe the timing will be right.