Gig: Lizzie Esau and George O’Hanlon at The Louisiana

Like coding more, I’d like to go see more live music this year. Just after new year, I poked around gig listings for Bristol and came across The Future Icons Tour feat George O’Hanlon & Lizzie Esau + How Nice. While I’d not heard of any of them before, I enjoyed the music in the videos on the page, listened to a few more tracks on Spotify and convinced a friend to take a punt on the gig with me.

Lizzie Esau with her supporting band.

I’m glad I did. Music is… different live. I’m not sure I’d fall in love with any of the artists I saw, but I sure enjoyed watching them play live a lot. That’s is no slight on these artists, I’ve found it often with live music, the electricity in the room can’t be matched by a recording.

George O’Hanlon singing solo.

It’s at least ten years since I’d visited The Louisiana, a stalwart of the Bristol music scene. It had changed very little. The upstairs bar had been converted into the sound desk, but other than that, and a fresh looking lick of paint downstairs, everything was a little deja vu familiar.

Speaking of falling in love with new music, does that just happen less as one ages? I hope not, but I don’t find myself putting songs on repeat the way I did when I was twenty. I’m now thirty-nine, so that was long ago now. Maybe when one is younger, one has just heard fewer things.

I remember listening to Nirvana for the first time in a friend’s bedroom when I was fifteen. Something in Nevermind reached down deep inside me and twisted something gloriously, viciously, painfully, delightfully. I’d felt nothing like it for other music before. Things changed, somehow, that day. They did again when I put on Mezzanine by Massive Attack and Ambient Works 1 by Aphex Twin in the space of a few weeks in a basement flat during my second year of university. I learned music without guitars could also poke at those places.

I don’t quite feel that so much about Nevermind any more, and, looking back, I think my mum was right to say I couldn’t get the several-times-the-price gold-plated CD. But other tracks still reliably twist my insides and leave me elated. It just feels less common, and that feels like a loss. Maybe it’s just that life gets busier. One has to effortfully make time for music and gigs and exploration. Perhaps that’s something I can get better at this year, and coming years, too.

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