Have You Ever Had A Religious Experience?

As in: the absolute certainty that an external entity whose nature you cannot define has just reached inside you, and switched something around such that your comprehension of the world and your place in it can never, ever, be the same again?

I have, once, about five years back. It’s not something you’ll ever get me to talk about. I have my suspicions as to what it really was was, but nonetheless, the easiest definition of it is a religious experience. I firmly believe that no-one who hasn’t had that Damascene moment has any business claiming to have “faith” in a damn thing, because what they’re doing is believing in a Sky Daddy because someone told them to, not because they genuinely feel it. (Actually, I think that even people who have had a moment like that are believing in a Sky Daddy, but I digress – tonight’s topic is not the nature of faith.)

The reason I bring it up is that I am back from a My Bloody Valentine gig. It was not a religious experience. But it was as close to an artificially induced one as I have ever come.

I have been to an awful lot of gigs, by many different kinds of band. I have been to extreme metal nights. I have been to quiet folk nights. I have been chemically off my tits at dance nights. I have left gigs and clubs going “that was awesome!” and “wow!” and “fucking brilliant!” I have never, ever before left a gig shaking slightly, and needing to take a few minutes on autopilot while I got my brain back up to full cognition because the sound had obliterated all concious thought for the ten minutes before.

I know and love the vibration of heavy bass. This was not that. This was, sound as full body immersion, sound as a physical thing, as a taste. It has almost certainly changed my relationship with music in the same way that eating Heston Blumenthal’s cooking changed my relationship with food.

Yes, it’s all explicable as “sensory overload”. That’s exactly what it was. Sound, and sound alone having the same effect as drugs. Here, then, is my question: why have I not seen a band outside of MBV doing this? Why can I not go to a gig like that more than once in 15 years?

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