Originally posted on The First In Line / Jillian Bashore
From watching her friend’s band to being the first in line, Ashley briefly recounts the first live show that turned her into a music junkie and the shows she’s loved since.
Within the last year, I’ve gone to close to 20 shows. My first show was the one that started my obsession with live music. A girl I went to elementary school with was in a band, and she put something on Facebook about having a show at Jammin’ Java in Vienna, VA. I went with some friends and it was unreal. I’d never been to a live show before and seeing the musicians put so much heart into their performance, and sharing the experience with a hundred people in that room, was amazing.
Ever since I saw that show, I’ve been hooked on live music. I felt like I’d missed out on not going to shows before that.
I think what makes a good show is the artist’s interaction with the audience. If their banter is good, it adds a lot to the show. It makes it feel very “in the moment.” When they’re into the show and talking to the audience it creates a connection. It’s also the little moments, like getting people involved in singing along. There is nothing like the shared experience of everyone singing out loud to our favorite song. The combination of all of those things and hearing a song you really like is what makes live music so great.
I know some people are fine with just listening to an album, but until you go to a live show, you don’t really understand or know what you’re missing out on. It takes music to another level and makes it so personal. You realize the artist is a real person, who created the music, and here they are, playing it for you. It adds that personal aspect, especially if the show is smaller and intimate.
The reason I am the first in line, besides being a generally punctual person, is obviously because I can secure a good spot for GA shows. I have my pick- balcony for an all-over view, or front row to see the sweat on the artist’s forehead, or those gestures they make to their drummer. Getting close to the artist takes a show to another level.
Some of the best shows I’ve been to in the last few years were The Civil Wars at Jammin’ Java- it was awe-inspiring. I also loved Laura Marling at Sixth and I, and Asaf Avidan at 9:30 Club because I had no idea what to expect, no idea what I was getting into. I left with my mind blown at his talent and ability to command the room.
The line that amazed me the most this last year- and I’m so glad I was at the front of it- was Paloma Faith. I love her and knew she was a huge deal in England, but didn’t think anyone in the US knew her. When we walked up to U Street Music Hall and saw the line wrapping around the block at tiny little U St, I could not believe it. It was unreal. That show was one of my favorites ever- she put a lot of heart into that performance and every time I think about that show it takes me back to that amazing night.