“I will never be alone again,” he sings.
It’s St. Patrick’s Day. Danny McGaw and the 33, a band primarily composed of British, Ojai-dwelling dads, have been playing at The Vine for nearly eight hours. I arrive around 8:30 p.m., utterly on my own — but just for a moment.
I love music. But I’ve come to understand that I have zero talent for it. I am a passionate singer, but my ability to carry a tune is mediocre (on a good day). What I can do is dance. And Sunday evenings at The Vine, with Danny and his 33, I feel as though I’m creating something beautiful. I feel the music in my arms, in my torso, in my hips, in my feet. I move in time with the drummer — who manages to play his instrument while receiving a hug from a friend through the bar’s Dutch door. And I create something ephemeral, something powerful, something healing.
I’m a person who exists on emotional extremes — the world, through my eyes, is alternatively beautiful and horrific, depending on my mood. I rarely exist in the emotional middle. And I think that’s why I love music — because that dramatic connection created with the music makers — the ability to commune and sing and dance and create a shared feeling is nothing short of spiritual. That’s what I feel when I’m dancing. I feel connection — to the band, to the music, to the words, to everyone else in the room who is experiencing some variation of what I feel deep in my chest.
“I will never be alone again,” Danny sings. And I feel it. Because every Sunday evening, I have a space to be free, to dance wildly or sway silently on my own, eyes closed in reverie.
One of my personal neuroses involves a feeling of perpetual loneliness. The adolescent voice inside my head occasionally reminds me I am fundamentally alone, that no one truly knows me, that I will always be searching for love.
This is of course utter nonsense. But I’ve come to recognize that emotional truths and logical truths can be tough to marry.
But when I’m dancing to music created by musicians I know and admire, when the sax player embraces me during a break from play, I have a knowing in my head and my heart. I’m not alone.