This past weekend, I was lucky enough to attend the National Association of Campus Activities’ annual Northeast conference. The conference consisted of a variety of different events, including education sessions and time slots where schools could show off their programming councils and campus activities boards. During the afternoons, NACA held showcases where various bands, comedians, a capella groups and other entertainers performed for conference attendees.
For me, one of the coolest things about the conference was that after each showcase, performers would set up booths in one of the exhibit halls where each was able to introduce people to their music, talk to attendees, and discuss booking with those who were interested.
I was able to meet a lot of really talented performers, including Boston’s own Darlingside, rapper Kosha Dillz—who has toured and performed with artists such as Matisyahu, Snoop Dogg, Cage the Elephant and Aesop Rock—and a ton of great acoustic singers. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but I was so happy to discover that virtually every artist I encountered was eager to meet and talk with attendees, and they all seemed to love answering questions and hearing what people had to say about their performances.
It’s not often that I get the chance to talk to performers that I admire—I’m usually at large festivals where large security guards with their arms folded across their chests ensure that that’s not an option. However, looking back at my attendance at smaller shows, it’s safe to say that I’ve had only positive interactions with the bands that I love. Collecting autographs from members of Hellogoodbye (it was my 15th birthday, okay?), getting Yuri from Gogol Bordello to sit still and smile for a picture. I got so much fan-girl joy out of being able to experience all of these moments with my favorite performers, and it seems to make them happy to see their fans so enthusiastic, too.
I think that sometimes people take for granted how important going to live shows is. Live shows are incredible for a variety of reasons (cool stories, great energy, meeting people, battle wounds from moshing too hard), but one of the greatest remains the fans’ ability to show support for the bands that they love. Especially since downloading music illegally is so easy, a lot of performers really count on touring to act as their main source of income.
But ‘support’ shouldn’t just be taken to mean financial assistance. If fans didn’t come out to shows, bands wouldn’t have anybody to perform for. Musicians don’t just want to record an album, try to sell it, and leave it at that; they get their joy from performing and seeing their fans smiling, rocking out, and enjoying the music. In case you’re not satisfied with any of the above reasons, there’s always the fact that you may discover a new artist that you really like since headliners often bring other bands along with them on tour. Finally, going to live shows is just fun. There is nothing quite like the energy that can be created between a band and a sea of their fans.
So get out there and go get to know these people that you’ve got blasting on your ipod all the time! There are always great performances to be seen here at BU Central – including rapper Killer Mike’s upcoming set this Saturday at 9P.M.—and there are a ton of other awesome venues near the BU campus where you can always catch a show, including Paradise Rock Club, Brighton Music Hall, and House of Blues Boston.
Hope to see you at some shows!
p.s. Here’s the video for “The Ancestor” from Darlingside, so I don’t leave you all with a media-less post. These guys just played a sold-out show at Club Passim and seriously, seriously rock.