One of the top aspects of the custom installation business remains the installation of distributed audio systems. That’s because most people love listening to music. Whether working out, working around the house, relaxing, enhancing meal times, zoning out, or actively listening, music enhances our lives in a variety of ways.
Growing up, I can’t remember my parents listening to much—if any—music around the house. We never had a stereo beyond a cheap General Electric clock radio in the kitchen, and the only real music-related conversations that I can recall are from my parents yelling at me to “TURN IT DOWN!” when I finally got my own stereo in high school. What I do remember, however, is that on long family car trips, my dad would pop Van Morrison’s “Moondance” into the tape deck and we would listen to that over and over. Today “Moondance” remains one of my favorite albums.
Unlike life at my parents’ house, music is a constant companion in my life now. I have the new Control4 Triad audio matrix and multi-channel amplifier driving a mix of speakers throughout my home, and from my morning shower, to food prep, to our nightly dinner, music is a non-stop anthem.
Like any parent, I want my girls—Lauryn, 11, and Audrey, almost two—to love the same things that I do. During dinner, I’ll query Lauryn as to who is playing or what instrument we are hearing. She can identify Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, and Michael Buble far above her grade level, and she is aware that Miles Davis blows the trumpet and Sonny Rollins is, indeed, the Saxophone Colossus.
But as great as recorded music is, few things compare to the experience of watching a live performance.
While most of my favorite bands are either no longer together—Talking Heads, REM, The Cranberries—rarely tour near us—Elvis Costello, John Mayer—or aren’t especially kid friendly— Fiona Apple—one of my favorite groups actually checks all the boxes: They Might Be Giants.
Recently, I took Lauryn on a daddy-daughter road trip to Charlotte to see her first concert. Leading up to the trip, we listened to TMBG nightly at dinner, during car rides, and just randomly around the house so she could learn some of the songs to better enjoy the show. Their live shows are always super entertaining, with in-between-song banter that is generally very PG and hilarious, making the live show a completely different experience than the album. Also, they generally perform in smaller venues where it is easy to get right up next to the action.
Lauryn and I arrived at The Neighborhood Theater in Charlotte an hour before doors opened (an hour before the show’s start time) to ensure we got a great place inside. We were able to get right up to the stage, standing about three feet from the band. I’ve seen the Johns—Linnell and Flansburgh—more than 10 times, but being able to see them with Lauryn, and watch her digging the music and the performance and singing and dancing was definitely the best experience to date.
We left the two-and-a-half hour show hoarse from cheering and singing and have listened to hours more of their music together since the show, and she is building her own library of favorite songs. And now, no matter what musical genres are in Lauryn’s future, she’ll always have a special memory of her first concert.
Audrey, you’re next…
A JVC boombox purchased at Macy’s primarily because it had a five LCD spectrum analyzer that I thought was dope as hell.
For the complete Top 10 list – at least as of 7 years ago – click here.
I fear Dana, my wife, will never embrace Jazz, as it seems to just get her agitated.
My first concert was The Beach Boys with my parents back in the early ’80s.
I first saw TMBG in the early n’90s in San Francisco where they played their first album straight through, and then pulled out a boombox and played along with random songs found on the radio.
Lauryn’s favorite songs from the show were “Birdhouse in Your Soul,” “Dr. Worm,” “We Live in a Dump,” and “Instanbul (Not Constantinople)”