Theory of a Deadman’s Dave Brenner, PG editors, and Reader of the Month Jimmy Takacs divulge which gigs had them in tears—and why.

Q: Have you ever cried at a concert because it was so good? Who, what, when, where, why?

Photo by Jeff Mintline

Dave BrennerTheory of a Deadman
A: I’ve never cried at a show, for good or for bad. But, sometime in 2002 or 2003, we played a show in Norfolk, Virginia, a few blocks away from where Jerry Cantrell was playing the same night. After our set, we raced to Jerry’s show and caught the entire set. During the song “Rain When I Die,” I came the closest I might ever come to shedding a tear at a show. I had goosebumps, and that tingle on the back of the neck. It was a true musical emotional experience! And I forever embraced William DuVall as a member of that band.

Current obsession: Old-time bluegrass. I love the banjo and slide, the harmonica, the violin. The beauty of hearing certain parts louder because that person took a step closer to the mic. The vocal harmonies delivering a story of some not-too-distant American folktale. The entire thing is just a beautiful marriage of songcraft, performance, and storytelling. I’m obsessed!

Jimmy TakacsReader of the Month
A: Tom Waits at the Ryman, 2006. I’d recently started seeing my wife and was there with my good friend. It all hit me as we were sitting in the Ryman (we’re from Michigan), watching Waits play “Take It with Me,” that there was a girl back home who I was excited to be seeing. (There was a period where I thought she was way out of my league.) I felt very fortunate and happy to be alive, and then I remembered all the dark times where I thought I wouldn’t see a moment like this. It became too much, and I began to cry and thanked God. I’m not a religious person, but that was a religious experience. I found it very fitting that Tom Waits in the flesh was the soundtrack.

Current obsession: I’m a pedal guy. My current/ongoing obsession is pairing octave pedals with fuzzes/heavy dirts. I like stacking dirts and placing octaves throughout the chain to see how they interact. Right now, my obsession on my home board is hitting the front end of a Danelectro Fab Tone with a one-off, one-knob fuzz by Pepers’ Pedals out of New Zealand. I start the chain with an OC-2 style octave and juice the output a bit with a CS-3, and then gate the dirts so the stops are clean. It’s crunchy and nasty, yet warm and round, and I absolutely love it.

Tessa JeffersManaging Editor
A. I saw Sigur Rós live for the first time in Kansas City in 2006. I brought my lifelong bestie, Emily, who didn’t know anything about the band, but she knew how much I loved them. I’d recently studied abroad in Australia and spent hours by the ocean listening to Sigur Rós whenever I missed loved ones or felt isolated. It’s hard to explain how impactful that was, but it’s about knowing there’s something bigger than you. True peace. Jónsi sings in a made-up language, and since you don’t know literally what he’s singing, you feel it. When Emily experienced this at the concert, I saw tears on her face. Witnessing that power of music was one of the most beautiful moments that I’ll never forget.

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Current obsession: Passion. I’m examining what inspires me musically, and it comes down to uncontrolled emotion. Where is the raw truth? Give me the fire. That’s what I’m obsessed with.

Chris KiesMultimedia Manager
A: A dear friend introduced me to the cosmic world of Explosions in the Sky. We spent hours listening to their records, silent, allowing the music to wash over us like an instrumental post-rock baptism. We never got to experience EITS because cancer took her away, but in 2016 I saw them at San Diego’s Observatory North Park. When our song “Your Hand in Mine” crested at its emotional peak, in a sea of strangers, the music connected me with her one last time.

Current obsession: Space—specifically Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. (We ain’t shit.)

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