Most people associate the term terroir with growing wine grapes. It applies to how a certain area’s climate, soil and other intangeble factors affect the grapes and thus give the wine it’s character. I completely agree, but I also apply this term to other things. As you go through life, there are experiences and flavors that are completely affected by the environments in which they take place. This especially applies to music. Here is a list of experiences and the places where you should have them.
Punk Rock, as a genre of music, can be greatly improved by a number of factors. The best way to experience it is in a mosh pit near the stage going deaf from the volume of the music in a small, oxygen-deprived club. Something about getting shoved around by strangers really adds a certain spice to the tunes. It also helps if you’re angsty and under 25, regardless of how old the band is. Finally location, location, location. If you’re seeing The Queers or Screw 32, then it’s even better in Berkeley. If you’re seeing Iggy Pop, try to do it in Detroit, and if you’re seeing the Ramones, you’re probably dead.
Metal. There are several sub-genres of Metal so I’m not about to touch on all of them and the nuances required. I’m just going to do Hair Metal/Arena Metal, and Black Metal. The proper way to enjoy Hair Metal or Arena Metal if you’re not in the late 80’s, is on cassette in a ratty Camaro or Firebird. Other cars work, but we’re talking about reaching a zenith here. You should be smoking a joint of brown weed, while driving with your hand rested on your passenger’s thigh with whom you are romantically involved. Steering? Alternate between knee and J-hand. which unless doing a hard turn means resting your wrist on the steering wheel James Dean style. There should also be a tag-along in the back who is covering gas money, but whom you are plotting to ditch as soon as possible. No opera at the Met ever sounded better than Faster Pussycat in this environment. Black Metal you listen to with your weird friends in either their bedroom at their parents house, or in Europe.
Rap. Rap is very location centric. Because most rap lyrics revolve around the experiences the artist had in their respective “hood”. Later, if they hit it big they just talk about money and luxury and then start to suck. Also it’s really hard to hook up a ride in a private jet just to listen to a Jay-Z song. But if you’re in LA you can very easily appreciate some vintage NWA or Tupac by letting your Alpine play in South Central. Or take that Cypress Hill track over to the East Side. Vanilla Ice fan? Really? Ok rent a mustang and drive around Miami, shave an eyebrow you douche. Biggie sounds best in NY.
Country. Country music is best served live in a bar in Nashville or Memphis. Austin works well too, but you may accidentally drift into some rock. Really the sound works well in the country, and the more country you can get the better the music sounds. If you’re on the move of course a pickup truck helps, but seriously get your ass to the south and enjoy. Drink domestic beer, and eat some BBQ. Consider buying some boots or a belt buckle that you will never wear again if you are not normally a Country Western fan. As a side note old Blues sound good in the sticks as well.
Jazz. Jazz is best served live and pretentious. You need a basement club, and you also need a jazz musician to take you to it, or you won’t find it. You can find a jazz musician on Craiglist in most major cities if you look under music lessons. If that is too much trouble you will need to invest in a turntable, buy some vinyl, and the most expensive headphones and speakers you can afford. Find a record store and keep bringing some used jazz records to the counter; you are searching for approval from the music snob at the register. If upon seeing your selection they get excited and throwing around terms you don’t understand, you have a winner.
Well dear reader, I hope this guide proves somewhat helpful. If you need help with a genre of music and how to appreciate it please let me know in the comments section and I will do a follow up.