I was weary about going to the Grasshopper the night of Tuesday, April 1st. Mostly due to a recent run-in with the flu and partly for receiving too many April Fools! Though I had to go, it was for my own health. Music feeds that empty part inside of you. It rejuvenates the body, freshens the spirit – it’s nutrition for the soul. I knew at Comfort Food I would be well taken care of. I would get a shot of musical vitamins. And the Underground would be full of good folk radiating the energy I’d been missing.
On the menu for the night were RCU, Benjamin Hayes, a tag team set by Walter Glasshouse & DJ Form, and K@dog. I arrived as Benjamin Hayes was throwing down some Dilla flavah with beautiful soprano licks. He had the beat on lock and was swinging in some heavy hip hop – not that rim spinnin’, ass shakin’ heavy – this was that head spinnin’, room shakin’ heavy. In front of the speakers, the bass climbed through my body and shook me to my senses. I was feelin’ better already.
Word to the wise: Invest in some quality ear plugs. I spent a reasonable amount on a set that allows me to filter music at different rates. Your ears will stop nagging you with that high-pitched, faint buzz when you’re back in silence.
If I had arrived sooner, I would have caught a killer DNB/ trip hop set by RCU with a cameo cuttin’ & scratchin’ by Jef Bonkowski. All I got to hear of RCU that night was reminiscent, though I was assured there were upcoming chances to catch him. This I heard from friends. There was a good portion of the familiar in the venue and an even healthier portion of faces I didn’t recognize. This aside, the crowd became intimate strangers as the music directed us to dance and interact.
Walter Glasshouse cued in like a doctor tappin’ his finger against the stethoscope. I was promised some trip hop, and trip hop was delivered. DJ Form came in with a track on the deck, came in scratchin’ and smooth. The two were a skilled team, maneuvering plugs quickly to adjust, arranging drops on the fly, gathering the emotion in the air to produce a potion for our reasons.
Our reasons for coming out were numerous: to unwind after work, to forget the stresses of the day, to energize, to socialize, to feed the spirit, to drink, to celebrate a birthday, to dance. People came with these reasons, but many still had a deeper purpose to coming out. Many, like me, had faith in the healing power of music and we came out to the Grasshopper for a good dose of that medicine.
And medicine it was. Walter G & DJ Form were dishing out the sounds of hip hop, jazz, flamenco, big band – they were all over the world and history with their selection. And they balanced this diversity with expert turntablism, cuttin’ it up to splice that extra creative quality. The entire set was unique to the moment. The dance floor reflected this. There was a diversity of style, people gettin’ down in their own distinct way, in a way that was only comin’ out that night. What came out of my movement was a product of that music and the atmosphere it infused.
The music conducted my emotion. I felt vibrant and radiant and filled with fresh inspiration. I could recall being in bed, in pain, whining “why!” and trying to think ahead to a time I’d be fine. Here it was, in the Grasshopper Underground, that time of happiness and health. I knew it was a greater feeling of pleasure having suffered through the pain of the flu. I certainly was not the only person in the venue experiencing great pleasure despite great pain.
We oftentimes have to be reminded of this constant cycle of pain and pleasure. We accept the dichotomy knowing there must be balance. We seek harmony to balance – the harmony of notes, of verse, of voice. And perhaps disharmony too – strange chords, random rhythm, broken beats. We listen cheerfully to beautifully constructed tracks, then we amaze as they are methodically deconstructed and we applaud respectfully. Walter Glasshouse & DJ Form, together, toyed with that balance like docs of the profession.
K@dog closed the night with his trade-mark groovy purple jams. The tunes were uplifted and oh-so bassy. Near the speaker I felt like I was rattled into pieces, held together by the motion I required of my arms and legs to dance. I could smell sweet maple syrup and cinnamon wafting over the DJ booth, K@dog’s flavor. It was an appealing aroma in an otherwise scentless environment. Another faint pleasure to facility the healing I had come for. When the lights came up, K@dog played the Rolling Stones “Beast of Burden”. I laughed at the association. People sang and danced. We were all at that moment relieved of the “Beast of Burden”. We were free of the pain and were in want of love.
I left the Grasshopper with, dare I say, a hop in my step. The music had been a stronger medicine than any dose of aspirin, lemon or tea had been for me. The healing power of music is not magic, it’s not some secret drug peddled through the notes. Rather, music heals by emotion and mind. Good music makes me happy, and in turn, the happiness heals what ails me. I am reminded that in a world of pain and pleasure, I am experiencing pleasure at that very moment. Because of this, I think, I must be alright. Thought has the ability to change the body physically. In essence, I become what I think.