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El Matamugu And Some Realizations

Victoria and I went to Tarpon Springs last night to hear El Matamugu at The Zone. It was a great night for some Reggae on the patio, even if it was kind of chilly outside (even with a fire in the firepit). I enjoyed the show. Levi Matamugu is a fun artist to watch, and guitarist Ed Foraker drove the band with a fun touch. All of the musicians had fun, but I especially enjoyed the horn section. There’s just something cool about sitting outside on a patio with a horn section. I turned to Victoria at one point and commented, “You know, I need to get myself a horn section.”
Looking around at the crowd, I couldn’t help but be amused at one absurdity. I don’t know if there’s a School for The Deaf nearby, but at one point I couldn’t see the stage because about ten people were standing together as a group in front of me, talking furiously in sign language. I couldn’t help thinking that a bunch of deaf people were literally standing in the way of someone who was trying to enjoy the music. But then it did occur to me that I should be grateful that I could close my eyes and listen.
It occurred to me, from looking around at the young, beautiful and painfully hip crowd at The Zone, that my bands are painfully uncool. I couldn’t imagine either Systematic Chaos or The Just In Time Band performing at The Zone. We’d be terribly out of place. We can kid ourselves that the ancient music we play is still relevant, but that music only matters to other old dinosaurs like ourselves. The rest of the world has moved on, and I’d desperately love to move on with it. How’d I wind up in two different bands, playing the same old songs I played in bands back in the 1980’s?
If nothing else, I owe El Matamugu and Ed Foraker for reminding me of what music is supposed to be about. Music is a celebration and a joy. It shouldn’t just be an excuse for a bunch of old farts to get up on stage and pretend they’re still relevant. So far I’ve kept my own musical explorations to myself, separate from the bands I’m playing in, because my bands have no interest in doing anything remotely original. More than anything, hearing El Matamugu confirmed my suspicion and conviction that, where my bands are concerned, I may have been tragically on the wrong course.
Hats off to El Matamugu and Ed Foraker. I had a good time. And I desperately needed a lesson in music theory.

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