The Mid-Week Beat: Northwest Day of Digital Detox

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316597-250Digital technology…what a wonderful thing it is! It has changed the modern music industry in countless ways: from making production more efficient to connecting musicians all over the world. It has even made distribution of music an instantaneous process.

Like any technological advancement, there are some bad things that come along with the good. I can go on all day about the degradation of fidelity or the financial implications digital distribution brings, but I was recently slapped in the face by an observation I made at a show at a great independent venue named Reggie’s in Chicago. After visiting the lounge, the record store and band merch area, I made my way to the balcony where I could take in the entire room and really get a feel for the place. The sound and lights were great. The bands were all well rehearsed and enthusiastic, but something seemed strange and it took me about five minutes to figure it out. It was Friday night at 10pm and the room was pretty full and about 30% of the room were typing on their phones while the band played on stage. I was a little disturbed by the image of the band pouring out their hearts and all these people ignoring them to keep up with their social media circles. This got me thinking about how much time I waste and how much I actually miss trying to keep up with things in the digital world, and that even though this digital technology really can make the world a better place, it is easy to fall out of balance with it.

A few days later I heard about the inaugural Northwest Day of Digital Detox that is happening this Saturday in Olympia, Washington. It is an annual event that is not so much meant to be an anti-technology rally, but an opportunity “to step away from your technology, guilt free…relax, unwind, unplug, detach, disconnect and enjoy five blissful hours of live music, free from any texting, posts, comments, uploads or likes.”

As stated by the event producer Christopher Gray: “My idea is to use humor to remind people that these devices were intended to be accessories to assist in our lives, not take over and run them. We’ve all been ran into by someone texting and not paying attention to where they’re walking, and joked and jeered at the guy talking on his giant blue tooth while wandering the aisles of the grocery store. More and more, I see people driving with their earbuds in. It’s becoming an all-pervasive part of our lives and near impossible to get away from. People texting and posting to Facebook instantaneously from wherever they are, no matter how mundane.”

The event promises to include a great evening of music by some great Northwest talent including Science!, The Aaron English Band, Poland and McTuff.

Science!

Science! is a musical pursuit of empirical evidence, using poetry and soundscapes to express the truth of daily life. Science! is something for the everyman to believe in. Their self-titled EP speaks to the challenges of existence with a rip-roaring exclamation that every ounce of humanity matters, and no voice should go ignored. It’s political; it’s daring and dreamy; it’s the place where rock and folk meet to dance, smile and raise a frothy brew in celebration.

Aaron English Band

The band’s live show is a blend of high-energy rock, pulsing electronics, and instrumentation from five continents, featuring Aaron English on vocals and keyboards, Patrick Strole on guitar and hurdy-gurdy, Matthew Burgess on percussion, Mark Fauver on wind synth and electronics, Miguel Mateus on bass and Derek Munson on drums.

Poland

Taking inspiration from the likes of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper, Brian Wilson’s Pet Sounds, Queen’s A Night At The Opera, and the Kinks’ Village Green Preservation Society, Poland continues in the tradition of creating well-crafted pop songs with a strong emphasis on song-writing, involved arrangements and subtle orchestration.

McTuff

Hammond organist Joe Doria brings together some of the best of the NW music scene to create a powerful and jaw-dropping funk and jazz sound like you’ve never heard. A mix of stellar musicianship, seasoned songwriting and deep groove where no musical stone gets unturned. McTuff is a movin’ and groovin’ adventure that you will not soon forget, featuring the impeccable Andy Coe on guitar and the incredible Tarik Abouzied on drums.