Last night I attended a local music event. The crowd consisted mostly of white, veggie-eating, enlightenment-toting, twenty-somethings. The venue was the back of a West-end café. The wood paneling, hung rugs on the wall and plush couch off to one side made me feel like I was back in my friend’s basement as a teenager. I couldn’t shake the feeling that his Dad was going to enter the room at any moment, throw on the lights and declare that the party was over.
The first act consisted of up to seven players on the stage belting out everything from daily angst to an ode to steamed pears. Yes, that’s right. Steamed pears. This little diddy began with a back story about the lead artist’s recent visit to a Chinese medicine doctor and his subsequent diagnosis of deficient lung energy. Apparently, steamed pears are the cure for such a condition. Eating them will feel like “it’s raining in your lungs,” a good thing if your lungs have been dehydrated by years of smoking, according to the lyricist.
“Steamed Pears” was a hit. Because it was completely ridiculous (think They Might Be Giants meets Barenaked Ladies) and because the group was joined by two kids, one on drums, one on vocals, to round out the playful sound. My apologies for not having the info on the opening act. We arrived for the second act and only caught the tail end of the first.
The rest of the night was ruled by a young sitar player, Prosad, who plays against his own trance backbeats. A unique blend of chanting, Indian ragas and the occasional addition of the didgeridoo, Prosad’s music is not like anything you’ve heard before, which is refreshing. Within a few tracks, the crowd was up and dancing, swaying to their inner Om.
It took me a while to get into the night. As usual, I was in my head doing a little bit of philosophical wondering. Mostly questioning the idea of non-conformity. Is it possible that the more we try to be different the more we end up being the same? I sat there listening to conversations about positive thinking and visioning your deepest dreams and wondered what would happen if someone there offered an opinion different from the one held by the majority of these organic-eating, “become one with the universe”, free lovin’, alternatives.
It seems to me that at the end of the day, we all want to belong to a group, to share a sense of belonging. We all want to feel that we connect with people. And while my past group experiences have been less than ideal I appreciate the appeal. We are evolutionarily wired to be social creatures, to flock to those of our kind. I get it. I don’t have it, but I get it.