The live experience

12th April 2008 – 11.36 am

I saw an advertisement for Blitzen Trapper playing live soon, so I am off to get myself a ticket. I picked up their second album some time back, although I can't remember how I found out it had been released. The advertisement for their gig states that the album is out on Sub Pop now, suggesting that it hasn't been available in the UK for too long, and I now that I bought the CD from Newbury Comics. I don't really care if that means I've had it longer than others or not, I mention it because of another reason. I Am Kloot also have a tour coming up and I have a ticket to see them too. I wondered if this tour coincided with an album release as well, as they tend to. Sure enough, I Am Kloot have a new album released soon. In fact, the album will be available the day before I am due to see them play, and this doesn't thrill me.

I can understand that familiarity can spoil the enjoyment of certain forms of entertainment. For books and films, where the narrative is important, there is much to be said for not knowing what is coming next. I know that the enjoyment can come from the journey and not the destination, and it is the enjoying the journey that allows me to watch films and read books several times without getting bored, but I can certainly appreciate why some people don't get the same level of enjoyment out of a narrative more than once. There are aspects of the story that don't instill the same emotional effect when you have prior knowledge of their coming. But, for me, music is different. Instead of familiarity dulling the sensation it heightens it. Knowing the passages that are coming up lets me appreciate more fully the current passage, it gives me a sense of expectation that I know won't be disappointed, because the music is the same every time.

This appreciation of the familiar is why I am not as excited as I could be about seeing I Am Kloot soon. With a new album out the day before I may not even have time to pick it up and listen to it before I go to the gig. Whilst I am quite likely to enjoy the album in time I won't appreciate the new songs soon enough to get a lot of enjoyment out of hearing them live. Indeed, hearing them live may be the first time I get to hear the new songs, and that has a slightly different effect on me in that I then recognise them on the album and tend towards favouring them early on. But this is why I am glad I picked up Blitzen Trapper's album early, and why I mentioned it, because it has given me many months to become familiar with and appreciate the music, so that when I go to see them play I can enjoy the live versions all the more.

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