Kaleidoscope

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Everything I could have ever hoped for came through me like a column of burning colors and blinding light. On the stage stood my only physical deity, my only icon, my only mirror into myself. Synthesized harmonies danced into my ears. Heart-wrenching lyrics crowned my head. A simple 5-piece band, on their first headlining tour, mythologized my meaning of music. Maybe it was the fact that I had a constricted breathing space, the fact that colorful mandalas circled my peripherals, or the fact that before that night I had felt a sense of nothingness that pushed me into this transcendental experience. I’ve always been an avid fan of music, and my ultimate life goal was to become record producer (even though my fears of rejection always kept that dream in the dark). Concept albums, nihilistic repertoires, instrumental illusionists, and thought-provoking odes; they all intrigued me. But all those interests only scratched my surface. It wasn’t until the beginning of my fifteenth year that I discovered one man who brought all those aspects and mixed them into one cutting kaleidoscopic apparatus. At a local record store, I accidentally picked up the quietly detailed, oddly constructed, yet stunning album, “Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?”; but I still had some trouble letting it into my closed soul. A year later, I found myself surrounded by fluorescent spotlights and staring into dark, frenetic eyes. Listening to that very same strange album live, I submissively entered into the hysterical spell of Kevin Barnes, lead singer for the band of Montreal. My soul had been opened. All of my intangible dreams of producing music seemed so unreal, until I saw that magical man on stage. My adolescent musical life had ended, and I entered the world of artistic maturity.
On that April 9th evening, before the much-anticipated headlining band stepped onto the luminous platform, I found myself sitting down in boredom. The opening band (which I had never heard of before, nor did I remember much of after that night) was terrible, and I anxiously awaited the people who I had paid to see. I spent my good money to see what I heard on CD, and right then I was getting nothing but sloppy verses and out-of-tune guitar playing. Everyone around me collectively hoped that this would not foreshadow the progress of the night. But, soon, the obnoxiously childish music ended, and the lights had dimmed to blackness. All those who were sitting (like me) stood up and congregated toward the front of the concert hall. The rest were already there, patiently waiting for the musical electricity to begin. There was no sight of the musicians through the cloud of black, but the noises began to purr through the speakers. A few seconds later, like lightning, the spotlights had exploded the stage alive. There he stood, wearing an outfit even the most eccentrically fashionable couldn’t explain, moaning into the microphone. Cheers ensued, but I couldn’t hear them. All my mind matter could process then were the hypnotic keyboards, the disintegrated guitar chords, and Kevin Barnes’ voice like rough silk. All of my sensations were experiencing a monumental moment. All the walls I had built to protect my ego had fallen, and Kevin had exposed me to the dynamic and important meaning of influential music.
It was never until that night that I fully understood what music really meant to me; a sort of auditory ribbon that tied the universe together. Kevin crooned lyrics like “the past is a grotesque animal, and in it’s eyes you see how completely wrong you can be”, with no hint of emotional detachment. His words were filled with passion, which used to always contradict my indifference, until I felt those very same words vibrate throughout my body and into my psyche. I’ve been to plenty of concerts in my lifetime, but so far none have come close to the show put on by of Montreal. The three hours I spent without blinking, fixated on the sight before me and hearing the music around me had altered my perception of music for good. Yes, I had heard this music before, and yes, I had memorized all the lyrics, but when it comes to you in a physical form, it’s very different. I felt like a changed person from the aesthetic bliss that eclipsed my pre-existing dysphoria. Kevin Barnes knew me, and had sung words of pain and delinquency in the most intellectually constructed and beautiful manner that mirrored everything I never had the language to say or do myself. It was by far the most enlightening experience I’ve ever had. Having someone who knew nothing of me speak the words I could never say had vulnerably, yet necessarily, opened me up to the universe around me. He had also opened me up to my dreams.
Through music, I have found myself bringing my subconscious fears and worries of failure to my acumen. I have found my inspirational icon through Kevin Barnes. The dichotomy between Kevin and me—I, being trapped in the company of trouble and Kevin, being unchained of his own despondencies—used to keep his music and me separate. Now, I accept his words like sacred writings. He has allowed me to forget my trivial worries and remain positive of the beauty I will be able to produce in the future. My ears will never be closed to new sounds, my soul never locked, and my mind never judgmental. With all this new insight I had gained about myself, I knew that whatever goal I wish to pursue—whether it be music or not—that I would be successful. I left that show knowing, no matter where I go, Kevin and I are the same strange animal; we will always be touching by underground wires.





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