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Taking moment for my wife and a Pony

These days it’s rare we experience magic. Or possibly, with the constant bombardment and immediate access to info and art, we experience it so often we don’t recognize it anymore.

Our screens bewitch and encumber so much of our lives we forget some avenues don’t force feed us but offer stimuli that are up for grabs regarding personal reaction. For example, the theatre, going to the orchestra or heading to see an up and coming band at a local music venue.

Not only do these places offer a chance to experience living magic but they generate an event that takes preparation and fosters anticipation. Grab your partner, your kids, or a stranger that peaks your interest and ask them to see a band. The night of, put on some nice clothes, slick your hair (if applicable) and attempt to make your own magic rather than having it thrust upon you or make a last-minute decision and flee the house in flip-flops and shorts.

From the theatre to a bar band setting, the artists’ job is to create an experience that the audience can judge emotionally and intellectually. Get to a show and store the beast in your soul. Then discuss it with others, disagree over a drink or find common ground as you walk hand in hand through the square and you decide whether or not it was magic.

We are very fortunate in Oxford to have several venues that house original creations for us to judge and ponder without the comments of keyboard warriors immediately popping up and influencing our opinions.

I decided on a prospect that tickled my fancy, asked my wife and went to a show at Proud Larry’s this week.

To some, going to a small bar to hear music may sound simple, but for those of us with children, jobs and extracurricular activities per volunteerism and aforementioned children, it’s like pulling a tooth from a pit bull’s clenched jaw.

We arrived at Larry’s a bit late due to an at home internet failure and a very long distance conversation with a helpful young AT&T employee. Problem solved, we settled in nicely and ordered some food. The flavor explosive Larry’s Burger was halfway gone when the opener, Spencer Thomas, began his solo set.

Spencer is a member of the up and coming Jackson band Young Valley, who recently recorded their sophomore album down the road in Water Valley.

We scarfed down our burgers, quickly exited the patio and found two seats at the bar. Spencer was exceptional, but we made the excursion commitment to see the headliner, Pony Bradshaw.

Pony B. and his boys erupted on stage around 10 p.m. with a “slack-jawed” (from one of their songs) Southern tune that kept our bodies moving and created a libation salivation in the form of a silver tequila on the rocks with a splash and a squeeze of lime.

Perched at the bar, side by side, my wife turned to me with a gracious smile as the tightly executed gritty sound blasted through the shamefully empty Proud Larry’s.

I know musicians are used to it, but I found it very disheartening that the place was empty. Believe me, though I am laying blame on our community, I do not exclude myself from accountability. I am overwhelmed by the number of things I’ve missed out on due to the complacent excuse of I’m too busy or too tired.

Live music is an invigorating fountain of youth, but the sad fact is, without the student population or sporting event crowd, a large part of our town is not very good at supporting small venue music. This is unfortunate because Proud Larry’s is consistently booking some of the most interesting, talented and well-rounded acts this country has to offer.

The size of the audience, on Thursday night, was shameful and it was entirely our fault – if I hadn’t committed to exploring my theories, I wouldn’t have gone. I was tired, my throat hurt and I just wanted to get in bed.

Instead, I chose to go, and my wife and I witnessed passionate musicians working to support their families and pay their room and board. Even in front of a barren dance floor they poured out their souls and left a piece of themselves on the stage to be remembered and discussed long after they were on to the next gig.

Magic is out there, but it takes a bit of “get up and go” to make it a reality. Proud Larry’s is serving it up, all we need to do is partake. Don’t watch a screen next Thursday night – go to a show at Larry’s and watch living people create magic in person.

Well, you can decide for yourself whether or not it’s magic, just go.

Rhes Low lives in Oxford with his wife and kids. Follow him on Instagram @rhesvlow and exploringlife0to20.com