Like many teenagers, those formative years between grades 7 and 12 began an evolution of my music love. Artists once loved were pushed aside, while others were embraced as speakers of a generation. Growing up teen in the Nirvana era, I discovered the burgeoning grunge scene and how well it spoke to us. Angst, sure; anger at society, check; love and loss, got it.
With it bloomed the sometimes softer sibling, alt-rock, which fast became a staple of my music library and remains as such. It was on these artists that I cut my solo concert-going teeth (my parents took me to Irene Cara as a young child, so I began indulging early). Canadian artists were, of course, more accessible on my budget, which is how it came to pass that my first concert as a teen was a triple-threat at the CNE: Moist, Crash Vegas and Treble Charger. It was a surreal night: the freedom of being out without parental supervision; the throngs of people moshing and dancing; seeing my ex-boyfriend taken out by ambulance after a crowd surfing fail. But it was the music itself, beneath the stars, that began my love affair with live shows. There was a dialogue between my heart and mind and the soundscape, something that CDs come close to, but ultimately cannot quite achieve.
It’s been a good 12 years since I’ve seen Treble Charger, and I’m understandably giddy in a nostalgic fashion about seeing them tonight as part of another triple bill (this time, with Matthew Good and Sam Roberts Band). As much as I enjoyed their later output, I always come back to the start with them: NC-17. It will forever speak to me of a time in my life where I often felt I was drowning in my skin, every melody a life preserver. Lyrics became the language when I found myself mute and uncharacteristically inarticulate.
That is the power of music.