For many of us, the first real concert we ever attended holds a special place in our memory. It is a rite of passage. Music itself is a powerful force in forming memories of any kind. A coming-of-age event like experiencing your first concert, combined with the power of live music, is an event that is bound to imprint on the mind. This could be considered even more true for individuals who have chosen to make art or music their vocation. Void asked a few local artists and musicians, as well as other members of the community, to describe their first concert experience and what it meant to them.

Photo by Tucker Jonez

The first concert experience was seeing James Brown at a small show he did in New York and it was unforgettable. As we were leaving, we passed James Brown and I yelled out he was the greatest and wanted to be like him. He actually stopped us and said hello, telling me to go after my dream. It is still an experience that drives me today.

– Jordan, Jam Bros Music

The first real concert I went to was Dave Matthews Band in Chicago at a three-day caravan when I was 18. I had heard of them before, but wasn’t really a fan until after I left that show. I’ve been a DMB fan ever since. Not only did they absolutely kill it the whole night, a three- to four-hour set like it was nothing, every show that weekend was different. Their chemistry on stage and their showmanship while doing so was one-of-a-kind. I’ll never forget it. Much respect to the legends of DMB.

– Aaron Thomas, lead singer/songwriter, The Band Be Easy

The first concert I attended was Lenny Kravitz, Black Crows and Jane’s Addiction. It definitely had an impact, and I realized how much energy a band can have when you see them live. Ever since, I’ve seen and photographed hundreds of shows.

– Tucker Joenz, artist and photographer

Kim Reteguiz

My first concert experience was incredible. I went to see Tegan and Sara during the summer of 2014. This was right when their new album Heartthrob had just been released. Lucius opened for them, and I had an incredible time.

– Rania, lead singer, LAANDS

After some false starts, my first “real” concert was Billy Squier circa 1988. He’d teased that he wasn’t going to play “The Stroke” and there was very nearly a riot. No “Rock Me Tonight”-style dancing, but I learned a lot about easily upsetting drunk people on that evening.

– Marc Sirdoreus, lead singer/songwriter for Marc With a C, Orlando

My first concert was Michael Jackson. My mother dressed me and my sister up like Michael Jackson’s Beat It and Thriller [videos], so I would say that was the beginning of my appreciation for the performance that goes hand in hand with a great vocalist and entertainer.

– Kim Reteguez, lead singer/songwriter Kim Reteguez and the Black Cat Bones

Photo by Tucker Jonez

The first show I attended that opened my eyes to music in a way I couldn’t turn back was The Allman Brothers at Wanee in 2008. They are my favorite band to this day and one of the reasons I fell in love enough with music to want to make my life revolve around it.

– Cara Burky, founder, Blue Jay Listening Room

My first concert was The Scorpions with my older brother. They were amazing. It was their first tour in America. I’ve never seen so many bongs in my life. It was an outdoor concert in illinois.

– Chris Thomas, lead singer, The Chris Thomas Band

My first concert was Sweet Honey in the Rock at the Florida Theatre. I was a student at Douglas Anderson at the time and had never heard a group of female a capella singers! I was smitten and amazed.

– Mama Blue

Photo by Cameron Nunez

My first concert was Tegan and Sara in D.C. circa 2002. They were little known and folky back then, opening for Ryan Adams and signed to Neil Young’s Vapor Records. It was the height of the D.C. sniper attacks, and the whole town was panicked and in a frenzy. This did not deter a long line of fans, mostly college-aged, from situating themselves outside of the 9:30 Club, hoping to obtain the coveted front row seats. I was one of those people. The most inspiring component of the evening was not Tegan and Sara’s musicianship (although they were quite good), but the fact that two unapologetically queer and fierce women were center stage, wielding guitars and playing songs they wrote. I was mesmerized by the thought of people like me finding success in such a challenging industry, where the female performers who dominated the music business at the time were hyper-sexualized and painfully delivering bubblegum pop (this is still happening). I’ve seen Tegan and Sara 13 times since — albeit in less deleterious environments.

– Stacey Bennett, singer-songwriter, Folk is People