We went to a concert last night – by Cowboy Mouth. It was a week-night, so we were really living on the edge. Out past midnight when you have to go to work the next day? Doesn’t happen here very often. But, it was a band that I have heard a few songs from and liked, we were going with some great friends we don’t see often enough, and another friend of ours LOVES this band, so I knew it would be a good time…even if we were out late.

Sitting in the audience I was in awe at the following this band had, the energy they could drag out of the audience, the fun they had. During one song, Hurricane Party, everyone threw Tootsie Rolls on the stage. During another one, Everybody Loves Jill, everyone held up red spoons and then when they sang the words “With her red spoon” they threw the spoons at the band. It was like a Rocky Horror cult following. And the greatest part was the lead singer. He plays the drums and sings, and has more energy than a 5 year old on Halloween night (after eating the candy). He yells and screams, and preaches in a way. He has a way of getting pretty much everyone involved in what is going on. And if you don’t want to get involved? He will literally come yell at your ass and make you participate. It had the potential to be annoying, yet wasn’t at all.

Toward the end of the concert I looked out onto the crowd of people – maybe a few hundred, as it was a fairly small bar-type hall they were playing in – I got the feeling that I had been there before. It wasn’t the place that felt familiar (although it was) or the people (although they were). It was the way people were acting. The response they were giving this band. It brought me back to my days in the Pentecostal church… people with there hands in the air, waving them back and forth…eyes closed, concentrating on the words in the songs…listening to the words, drinking everything in.

It was – for lack of any better explanation or words – a religious experience for many of those people. These people were so committed to this band, so connected to the music, so happy to ‘belong’ – that they just let themselves go and didn’t focus on anything but what they were seeing and hearing. Strangely though – it didn’t make me feel like this was special or fantastic. It simply re-iterated what I have felt for many years: Church is simply a social experience, a pep rally for folks that need to feel like they belong to something greater than themselves.