went to the Lez Zeppelin show at the State Theatre a few nights ago expecting to hear some tasty Zeppelin (as I always do when Lez Zep plays) and what I came away with was the revelation that rock and roll is the.single.greatest.thing every invented by humankind.
No, I’m not joking about that. It’s fine if you disagree. You’re still wrong.
Yes, potable water is keen, and indoor plumbing is groovy, and smartphones and the Intarwebs are pretty awesome, but what expresses everything it is to be human with more passion, energy, and honesty than rock and roll? I’ll tell you: nothing.
Rock and roll – real rock and roll created and performed by artists, not schlock created in a masturbatory paint-by-numbers effort to make money (those bands know who they are) – real rock music comes from that place just south of your stomach and a little north of your fun bits and expresses everything about what it is to be human, which I maintain is the highest pinnacle art can achieve, and it does it with the force of a runaway locomotive. (“But what is art?” you say. Listen: Art is the outward expression, through creation, of what it is to be human. You’re welcome.)
Rock and roll is anger. Rock and roll is pain. Rock and roll is ferocity. Joy, hope, love, sex, despair, disillusionment, fury, rage, conquest, exhilaration, happiness, sorrow, revenge, abandon, resentment, mystery. It’s a fist in the face and a fingertip tickle down the spine. Rock and roll squirts humanness out your pores. It churns up from your belly and erupts like a lava-spewing Krakatoa of thermonuclear humanosity. Rock and roll’s gift is that unmistakable feeling of “Oh, yeah, this is what that feels like.” Nothing else does that with the depth and breadth of emotion of rock and roll.
All of this came to me while I was at the Lez Zep show with Stunt Wife. We were front row, just right of stage right, bellies pressed to the lip of the stage. The band was killing it and it struck me that Lez Zep took a dead space – an empty, bare-bones stage – and lit.it.up with fire, magma, and devastation. They created energy from nothing and shot it into the crowd where it transmogrified into joy, passion, ferocity, and a Whole Lotta Other Stuff. What does that? Rock and roll does that. What else does that? Nothing else does that. Oh, and they did it on Jimmy Page’s birthday. So there’s that too.
So many thanks to my muse, Steph Paynes, and her partners in bad-assery: Shannon, Megan, and Leesa. Thanks for lighting it up, taking no prisoners, and for bringing the fury.