On Springsteen, Mostly Autumn and Panic Room

Good piece by The Guardian’s Michael Hann on the appeal of a Bruce Springsteen show

I can understand people who just don’t like Springsteen. I was well into my 30s before I could even tolerate much of his music, let alone adore it. And for a first-time attender, a Springsteen show can be a little like attending a meeting of some religious sect – intriguing at first, then slightly terrifying as you realise quite how long it’s going to last. But once the rhythms of the night seep into your soul – as you understand how you are going to be swept up, then brought down, then lifted again; as you come to understand your part in the liturgy – it becomes hard to resist.

I’m not a Springsteen fan myself, but that paragraph somehow sums up what’s so great for me about seeing bands like Mostly Autumn and Panic Room live. Some people wonder exactly why I’ll travel considerable distances and stay in sometimes dodgy B&Bs to see a band they’ve never heard of play before a couple of hundred people.

The comparison with religion is spot-on.

There have been times when I’ve seen Mostly Autumn and been on a high for the rest of the week, to the extent that work colleagues have noticed. It’s not quite the same as Springsteen’s universality, of course. Sometimes it’s knowing more about the backstories of deeply personal songs about love, loss and bereavement than has ever been put in the public domain that gives the music such a powerful emotional punch. And the dynamics of a small intimate club gig where you frequently get to meet the band after the show is different from the electric atmosphere of an arena show. But the parallels are still strong.

What about you? Who is your Sprngsteen, or your Mostly Autumn or Panic Room?

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4 Responses to On Springsteen, Mostly Autumn and Panic Room

  1. Sam Lewis says:

    I was at the Springsteen gig at Wembley, and can agree that it was stunning, one of the best (if not the best) gigs I’ve ever been to :) I would of course agree about Mostly Autumn too, the two gigs I’ve been to in Leamington (Heather’s last gig, and December’s mammoth one) stand out the most I think. Another band that does it for me is The Quireboys, simply for the extreme fun factor they have :)

  2. Tim Hall says:

    I’ve seen The Quireboys a couple of times (both at CRF), and they’ve never really done it for me. Know Andy Smith is a huge fan, though.

  3. Sam Lewis says:

    I always assumed they were a bit crap, but then I had to watch them as they supported Saxon one time I saw them and they blew me away. They’re now one of those bands I will always go and see no matter what :) Yeah, I remember Andy Smith saying that before actually. He looks like he would fit in with the band too haha!

  4. Tom B says:

    I think for me it’s probably Magenta. As Sam says about The Quireboys, it’s the sheer amount of fun they have. It’s the only band I know where the guitarist is likely to get off stage and go walkabout in the audience mid song. You can tell they’re having a good time and it kind of rubs off on everyone present.