There are many different ways in which an audience can experience live music. There are huge concerts with thousands of people, musicals, festivals and many more. The live music experience German singer-songwriter Michael Fitz offers, doesn’t fit into the categories I mentioned. Where many artists put the emphasize on the show, their fame or a party atmosphere, Michael puts the focus where it should be: on the music.
He doesn’t have to drop down from the ceiling or arrive on stage with hundreds of girls screaming their heads off. He simply greets the audience with a smile, sits down and tells us what we’re in for tonight. And we’re in for a treat. Being from Munich, in the south of Germany, he mainly writes and sings in his dialect. That’s also the case with the songs he performs tonight from his 12th album ‘Wenn I Schaug…’
My personal favourite is ‘Für Was’ (English: What For). A truly touching song which Michael performs with the right amount of intensity it needs. A close second is ‘Beissn und Kaun’ (Biting and Chewing), a much lighter song, but it is sung with an equal amount of passion. Every song he changes guitar, carefully selecting the perfect sound for each one. The ease with which he sings, while playing the guitar and in between talks to the audience, shows the experience of a seasoned artist.
“Nowadays I get most of my inspiration for my music when I’m on my own,” he tells me after the concert. “When there’s nobody around and I’m surrounded by nature. For example friends of mine have a place on the island of Menorca. It’s located in a forest and very primitive, no electricity, no heat and no running water. It’s a beautiful and magical place. No one to talk to, no alcohol, no caffeine, just the silence. I have noticed that’s when inspiration shows up with the best material for my songs.” As much as he enjoys the creative process of creating new songs, being on stage is what Michael loves best. “Because the communication with the people is the most important to me.”
Interaction with audience
The interaction with the audience this Thursday is light and upbeat from the start, and every once in a while one of them chips in with a witty remark. That is one of the benefits of a smaller audience: there is room for interaction and that’s precisely what Michael loves about performing. Near the end of the concert he manages to get the whole audience to sing with him. I try to sing along with the Bavarian lyrics, fail miserably and turn my attention instead to the people in the rows behind me. I see smiles on their faces, they’re clearly enjoying themselves.
The audience is almost in stitches from laughing when the German musician talks about, dare I mention it, sexual energy. They recognize the subjects, anecdotes, jokes and irritations about everyday life Michael shares with us. Such as the frustrations of traffic jams or not getting enough attention, the sensual energy of springtime and the difficulty many people face with letting go of the things that bother them.
“The themes I sing about are primarily meant for a slightly older audience,” Michael says. “That’s why most of the people who come to hear me play, are usually older than 30. Playing in different theatres across the country brings in a diverse audience. In Bavaria, southern Germany, you can drive a mere twenty kilometers and the mentality of the people is drastically different. But luckily for me, there’s one thing many people have in common: in general they are quite fond of the Bavarian dialect. That’s why I can perform in another region with my songs.”
It shows music is a universal language. Michael explains he can express himself best in his dialect, but the message also comes across to people who don’t understand the lyrics. During the show he tells us about a man, who came up to him during the break of his concert a day earlier and who perfectly summarizes my experience of tonight’s concert. The man informed him that, despite the fact he hardly understood a word of the Bavarian dialect, it didn’t matter. It was okay. He simply enjoyed the music and that’s exactly how it should be. Sitting back, loving the music and after the concert leaving with this comfortably inspired and warm feeling you get after seeing and experiencing something worthwhile.
For more information about Michael Fitz and a list of his tour dates, you can check out the official website www.michaelfitz.de.