Something unique to humans, a major part of every culture, speaks volumes about the spiritual health of a generation, and takes you to places no other art can reach.
Even though it is incredibly enjoyable, can hold major amounts of meaning to someone, and be so tied to memories that listening to a certain song can take you back in time–there doesn’t seem to be any practical use from an evolutionary standpoint.
Cognitive scientist Steven Pinker had this to say on the topic:
many of the arts may have no adaptive function at all. They may be by-products of two other traits: motivational systems that give us pleasure when we experience signals that correlate with adaptive outcomes (safety, sex, esteem, information-rich environments), and the technological know-how to create purified and concentrated doses of those signals.
Although music doesn’t seem to serve a function, we are drawn to it because it represents what people are capable of.
**If you want to read more Pinker, I suggest starting with How the Mind Works, that book allowed me to understand the almost unlimited potential of the brain, which was a necessary realization for an angst-ridden teenager**
I’ve always been stunned at how much of an emotional response is possible through music that hits you in the right way.
The hairs that stand up on your arms during peak moments, the overwhelming feeling of joy and beauty in your skull, sadness transmitted to your heart through a voice, rage channeled from rhythms–music can stimulate the deepest responses, many which are difficult to access otherwise.
Rockstar philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer described it this way:
The inexpressible depth of music, so easy to understand and yet so inexplicable, is due to the fact that it reproduces all the emotions of our innermost being, but entirely without reality and remote from its pain…music expresses only the quintessence of life and of its events, never these themselves.
We may never figure out the exact reasons why music is such a strong force, but there is no arguing its power.
And being such a major influence, you should take advantage of the potential and use it to the maximum.
I’ve been to 100s of live shows, most of my close friends growing up were in bands and I spent a bulk of my time in college working in the radio station–this provided me with free concert tickets and access to interview musicians.
It was an exciting time to be involved in the NYC music scene during the early 2000s, the combination of 9/11, George W. Bush, cheap rent in Brooklyn, and limitless venues to perform, inspired musicians from all over the world to come and collaborate.
I was spending 2 or 3 nights a week going to shows and experienced some of the most exciting moments of my life at them.
Small live performances helped me escape the prison of social anxiety and overwhelming introversion I was going through at the time and gave hope of overcoming it.
Now I try and attend at least 1 show a month, and because I’m extremely picky with the music I expose myself to, I always leave feeling great.
You can also find high quality girls at shows, many of them are on the shy/introverted side (which I prefer in females), and starting conversation with them is incredibly easy.
“Do you know when the next band comes on?”
“What did you think of those guys?”
“Have you seen xxx play before?”
“Are you performing tonight?”
And so on…
I’ve met plenty of girls at music venues and the connection is much faster and stronger than if I had met them while at a bar or club.
After the show is over, it makes perfect sense to invite them somewhere else for a drink, and you’ll have plenty to talk about if the band was good.
A small concert is also a great place to bring a date.
There is a girl in my neighborhood who I’ve had my eye on for over a year. She’s a quiet one, heavy on the introvert side, demure, and people who know her describe her as “a tough nut to crack”.
I finally got her to come out one night and took her to a show that I knew was going to be high energy, easy to dance to, and sexy.
Sure enough it was, and by the third song, she was out of her shell dancing and hungrily accepting my kisses.
We were both so horny after the show, it didn’t take long to get her back to my place and in bed.
Here is a song from the band we saw:
Its a real miracle to have such easy access to any band you want, decide whether or not their sounds fit your taste, and then arrange to see them live.
Take advantage of this opportunity while you can.
My favorite places to see shows in New York:
The Mercury Lounge
The Bowery Ballroom
The Music Hall of Williamsburg
The Knitting Factory
(Le) Poisson Rouge
*For tips to up your game at a show, check out my book Advanced Game Techniques
**To read about some of my favorite bands and albums, check out this post: The Most Influential Bands and Albums in my Life (pt.1, the 1990s)