Sometimes you end up in the presence of a true musician, someone who lives and breathes music. Rhythm and melody are their blood; they feed on life but mix it with creativity to offer lucky audience members a taste of what God must have intended for the human race.
Yann Tiersen is such a soul.
Shout-out to Sam, who messaged me a month ago to ask if we wanted to accompany him & Nate to Tiersen’s show in Atlanta this weekend. I’ve been familiar with Tiersen’s work ever since Nate IM’d me a YouTube video with the command to “Watch.” I’ve learned to trust Nate’s music sensibilities — his radar is calibrated to “quality” — and I was intrigued.
Yann plays I-don’t-know-how-many instruments. A rough list would include piano, various keyboards & synthesizers & electronic bits, mandolin, accordion, guitar & electric guitar, and violin.
For example, he can tear up the violin…. or break your heart with gorgeous melody … or mix it all togetherinto a great composition.
Returning to my story —
The Atlanta concert was a true delight. An odd time, though — Tiersen was scheduled to play at The Masquerade with doors opening at 9:30pm. The Masq is the main hardcore venue in Atlanta, and they had a major show running on the upstairs stage that same night. As we waited patiently for “something” to happen downstairs in Hell (the upstairs and downstairs Masq stages are titled Heaven and Hell, appropriately), we saw the ceiling above our heads thump and sway at least 6 inches beneath the weight of hundreds of moshing teenagers. [The Masq always looks like it’s going to literally fall down on your head — it’s part of the atmosphere. lol]
After the opening act and then watching a hardworking sound guy set up 12 instruments by himself, our patience finally was rewarded by the emergence of Yann & friends.
And it. was. AWESOME.
“One! Two! Three! Four!!” …. soft mandolin notes opened a song of marvelous beauty. The stage musicians included a bass player, drummer, guitarist (Gibson SG), a guy on some kind of electronic thing that I can’t identify, another guy on keyboards and ukelele, and Yann himself playing guitar, mandolin, or violin as needed.
I find an intense joy in watching an artist glory in his art — squeezing every drop of JOY out of the experience of stepping onto a platform and baring his creative soul to the mass of people drinking it up. Nothing replaces the exuberance of a live performance. Every raw note stands as its own monument to ART, to creativity, to expression.
It was a good audience too, for the most part. Older than typical for the Masq, and culturally diverse. They were etiquette-diverse too — I was pushed or jostled by people speaking at least 2 different languages (besides English or Spanish) and some giant hairy fellow stepped in front of Sam to “take this empty spot right here.” (It wasn’t “empty” at all, and we asked the red-haired giant to please not stand in front of us since it was impossible to see overtop of him.) But those were isolated incidents. Mostly, we all just stood and enjoyed every bit of the 90 minute set.
I recommend spending some time with Yann Tiersen on YouTube or Grooveshark if you like “world music,” classical, folk, indie rock, or Phillip-Glass-style movie soundtracks. We could all use some more beauty in our souls, and Tiersen channels enough for us all.