In my family, music is a second language. We have created many of our best memories over the sounds of our favourite artists. We grew up on the energetic highs of Stevie Wonder and the simple timbre of James Taylor. We learned to appreciate the complexity of a double kick bass drum during Austin’s scream-o phase and the artistry of 100 bows moving in sync during my time in the symphony orchestra. From pop to rock to acoustic to jazz, we can enjoy just about anything together. We recently had the opportunity to see John Mayer as a family; we sat in awe, we cried for the memories attached to so many of his songs, and we talked for hours afterward, rehashing every minutiae of each moment.
So, I knew that this particular “moment” had to be a good one. I couldn’t just go to any concert and call it a day. I got lucky that my sister’s good friend from high school is in a local band called Funk Velvet. My siblings had seen them play a couple times, but I never had the privilege. So, when she told me they were putting on their final concert as a band, I jumped at the opportunity. We drove down to The Aviary in Edmonton, a tiny hole in the wall you would never know was there unless you know that it’s there. The tiny concert hall had a few tables and chairs here and there, but mostly open space for standing. They stamped our wrists and we sat for 45 minutes while the room filled up and drinks were served. I realized about 10 minutes in that ventilation was just a wish my heart makes, and with not even a ceiling fan in sight, we grew hotter and hotter by the minute. But, the buzz in the room was contagious as people visited. Small bands like this have a following of their own and most of them seem to know each other. They mingled, and we got to visit with Taylor, the drummer and my sister’s good friend. My siblings, my husband, and I laughed and told stories, the volume of our voices rising as the room became fuller and louder.
Finally the band took the stage and the music did not fall short – it was worth the wait. Under a few strings of lights, a drummer, a bassist, and an electric guitarist covered everything from The Temptations to Led Zeppelin and even threw in a few originals, which were equally impressive. The room was fully alive as people danced and sang along and cheered loudly for every solo. The bass player and lead singer had just the right amount of personality and goofiness to carry the band’s carefree and fun-loving sound. I think one of my favourite parts of the evening was looking around and realizing that nobody was on their phones. In fact, the couple of times I pulled mine out to grab a clip or snap a photo, I almost felt like a spotlight was on me. 99% of the people there were truly present. They were having fun, dancing together, interacting with the band on stage, and just enjoying the moment without a need to prove you enjoyed it on Instagram. I can’t actually remember a time when I attended any kind of event and there weren’t a thousand phones out all around me. The absence of them created this kind of need to genuinely savour each note. This wasn’t going to happen again and we can’t rewatch it later, so you better soak it up right now.
How often am I doing things for the purpose of sharing it with others? How often am I watching my life through a screen instead of in person? How often can I say that I’ve taken in an experience entirely for myself, for my own edification, without the need to use it to up my social status? I went for a concert last night, to check another moment off my list, but I ended up with an experience I’ll never forget and a reminder I desperately needed. It is exciting to me to watch this project come to life and bear fruit in my life. This is exactly what I hoped would happen. To live my life with more intentionality and to create more lasting memories, to enrich my mind and challenge my heart, to peel back the paint that’s been smothering my soul for too long – these are the true goals of Project 100×30. I’d say so far it’s been a smashing success.