A few years ago, I experienced a deep and isolating depression that ended up costing me almost every friendship. Inexplicably terrified by and anxious about the world, I retreated from everyone I knew, leaving the house only to go to work or to wander around in the desert. I returned no calls, no emails, and I avoided everyone—and this went on for over a year. A long, dark, very lonely year. Then, one day in 2010, a persistent friend got me out of the house to see A Hawk and a Hacksaw and Rocket Parlour play live at the Kosmos. It was a great show, Balkan pop and ambient sound, and I remember looking around at all the happy freaks in attendance—thinking, “I don’t know any of these people. But I should”—and vowing to myself that I would start going to more shows.
Maybe that seems like a minor thing, but I really do think that resolution changed my life. I think it saved my life. I’d go to a show, dance, discover a cool band, meet some cool people and just feel better. After a while, I felt I’d found a community, that I didn’t feel so awful, that I had been depriving myself of necessities: music, dancing, friendship, community. These things are not optional. Not for me anyway, and I suspect not for most of us. Humans are social animals, and when we neglect those aspects of our lives, we shouldn’t be surprised when isolation and sadness soon take over.
So I go to shows because I have to. Not because the Alibi says I have to, but because I know that community and music are the best weapons I have for staving off the darkness. Because these things bring me joy, and joy—have you tried it?—is pretty great.
Last month’s joys included six live shows from experimental pop genius Lady Uranium, but since she and I are dating—and since she thinks I’ve written about her way too much and wants to succeed on her own merits—I’m not allowed to tell you about them. You’ll never know what they were like. Sorry. Maybe they were cool.
Another serious joy was the album release party for Sad Baby Wolf’s delightful Electric Sounds, at Low Spirits on May 3. I cannot tell you how much I love them. I’ve seen them several times, and they never get old. Their sound is just so unbelievably solid and satisfying. Every time I hear them play, I feel as if I’ve just finished a Thanksgiving meal—they’re so full and loud and fuzzy and good. Do you like beautiful noise? Jangly guitar? Does distortion ever give you chills? Then, oh god, this band. I wish they were playing again tonight. I’d go.
Another real joy—among too many to recount here—was Lindy Vision on May 10 at the Glitter Factory, a fun little house full of Christmas lights and a picture of Carl Sagan. The band is comprised of three Las Cruces sisters, and their sound is an effervescent fountain of pop and New Wave loveliness. Everything they did was startling and fun, and everyone with a working nervous system simply had to dance. Make it a point to see them, and seek out joy wherever you can find it. It’s in books and art and nature and friendship, but let me just say, it’s also in our local music scene. Get out of the house, and come dancing.