Tuesday, October 16, 2012


So I usually brag being from Wisconsin about Summerfest, largest music festival in America, right in my backyard and LSTC's in the great city of Milwaukee, Chicago's up and coming hip cousin.  Last weekend I was introduced to something equally as great as my longtime tradition of Summerfest, the Austin City Limit's Music Festival (ACL)...oh my goodness! 70,000 people hanging out for three days in a giant park that overlooks downtown Austin, listening to so many greats of so many different genres.  I filled my mornings with bluegrass, banjo's and mandolin's playing at rapid paces, and in the evenings I deafened myself with electric guitars and drums.  I had an amazing time and I didn't really peg the true why until the third day of the festival.
Keep in mind there is a quote by one of my friends that I might majorly screw up, but she was explaining to someone my love of music..."no you dont understand, he is addicted to live music, it's like his crack."  Now that is a little over the top, but not too far off and the reason i say this is because of the layout of my third day.
I woke up Sunday morning, I went to church and preached the sermon (oh yeah I was tired, but Stewardship Sunday waits for no one!!!).  I left immediately and I arrived to the park, able to get front and center for this onslaught of music.  I had a little time before Gary Clark Jr, Austin native who plays the guitar to it's extreme, so much so that I think he might be Hendrix reborn.    After that was a newer group called the Civil Wars, with heart crushing harmonies and stories of love lost.  Then came The Avett Brothers, my whole reason for going to ACL, one of my favorite bands ever and a group that just seems to ignite crowds with their behavior and sing along style of music.  I closed out the night and weekend with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who I have been listening to for years.  But why does any of this matter?
Jimi...I mean Gary Clark Jr.

The Civil Wars

The Avett Brothers!!!

I realized why I need or am addicted to live music...Gary Clark Jr. plays with a spirit that anyone recognizes as pure passion for music.  He knows his guitar so well that he can sing what he plays, a rare feat in soloing (Jimi Hendrix could do it).  The Civil Wars have a passion in their lyrics that you realize in the way they sing and harmonize, they really synced with the crowd.  The Avett's have an energy that I have never seen matched.  The way they sing and scream, run around and play with a ferocity that is unmatched, but can slow it down and sing a ballad that brings tears to the eyes.  That kind of raw power can only be created by a few.  Lastly, the longevity of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, knowing their ups and downs and all they survived over the years, and how they have adapted over the years.  They have found their niche and they cant imagine doing anything else.
Live music creates a family that seems to understand each other.  Especially at the front, the theme is that the people we are about to see play music that understands me, excites me, empowers me, and for some including me, got me through the hardest parts of life.  I have seen joy and pain in concerts, people laughing and some crying, others smiling while others look deep in thought.  This weekend was worship; a community living together, breaking bread together, caring for each other, standing in the rain together, standing in the sun together, and singing loudly, always looking out for one another.  We became something more together than apart, the same calling that has pushed me to seminary and kept me in the church all these years.

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