“The Force” of Life and Live Music
This past weekend, I witnessed my former band Pigeons Playing Ping Pong sell out the 9:30 Club. After 8 years of playing with these guys, it’s always a treat to witness the music and energy from the other side of the stage. I remember some of the earlier moments of performing together, in the 2007-2008 era, where we learned to harness a certain feeling that would eminate from the music, something that fans would start to call “Pigeon Funk”. It was a combination of the feeling of movement, groove, loudness, familiarity, originality, camaraderie, positivity, excitement, creation, fun, intoxication, and flow…all combined into it’s own brand of energy. It was energy that reflected each of our individual musical experiences, influences, preferences, and style, merged into one entity. It was like a feeling that had it’s own DNA…it’s own signature, unique to only certain moments with certain people in environments created for the sole purpose of creating and reciprocating this “vibe.”
This reciprocation and the excitement of fans at the hundreds of shows played, especially during specific moments or songs, was a form of feedback that we could feel and take mental note of for future shows. Like some type of ongoing meditation, artists can learn to isolate this energy over time, write more songs that can deliver it, and improve the technical ability to express or play the subtleties of the energy on an almost microscopic level on your instrument or orchestrations…until it becomes routine. Every musician has that extremely subtle, finessed “move” they know will set people off.
All of you music-lovers out there probably know exactly what I’m trying to describe. Every artist has their own concoction of energy they bring to the table. I liken it to “The Force” we all know from Star Wars. I believe it’s the one ethereal thing that could explain why humans around the globe go see live music, besides the overall good times shows can provide. Since I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing both the perspective of being the artist and the audience for the same band, I’ve realized that live music is the best example of isolating The Force, and it can apply to nearly every facet of life.
Since I’m writing this…let me just get this Space Balls reference outta the way real quick:
I might buy that shirt…
The Force can show up in a lot of different ways. I’ve felt it in relationships, in my physical energy, and even in business. I’m grateful to be aware of it at all, because just like Luke Skywalker, you can absolutely use The Force for good. On the contrary, you could probably think of a few bad apples that spiraled out of control, Anakin-style, because they turned to the “Dark Side” of The Force…usually energy that derives itself from fear and negativity. No fun. In business, what is it about your product or service or brand that resonates with people? What is The Force that you harness in your daily relationships? In your intimate relationships? With your family? Everybody has a specific vibe when you’re with them, even whole groups of friends have one. No matter what, I would hope you choose to always go back to that unique brand of relational energy that is infectious, positive, and makes you feel as good as you would at a live show. Avoid the Darth Vaders of the world…
It’s such a weird thing to try to write about, but I felt The Force so deeply this past weekend at the show and I know everyone else did as well. I’m proud as hell to have been a part of honing in on this energy over the years, proud they’ve continued to evolve it after my departure, and SUPER proud of Alex, the new drummer, to be able to step in this year and keep the energy flowing with voracious chops. The Force is strong with that one!
Individuality is an art in itself, and no matter what, it should be a reflection of your authentic, true, warts-and-all self. I believe you can definitely hone in on this feeling from within in order to reflect how you want to show up in the world. The more you keep it real, the more you can cultivate your own brand of energy that can serve you and the people in your life. What’s your “Pigeon Funk?”