Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Remembering, (or Introducing,) The Balancing Act.

By Peter Blackstock

Fitting, probably, to write about this band here; my hidden little blog is no doubt even more obscure than the profile of The Balancing Act has been over the past couple of decades. Which is probably understandable enough for the blog....but not so much for the band.

We all have bands of our youth, sounds that make us remember a certain age, place, time. You hear a song and it instantly transports you back to a little league summer, a junior-high basement hang, a high school football game. I get all that, and I have all that, too.

But this is not that deal. Granted that I discovered The Balancing Act amid such impressionable times, in the tail end of my college years. I first heard their music sometime in '86, I think, and first saw them play in the fall of '87. They didn't last much past that; they'd called it quits by '89. I'm not sure why, exactly, but I guess they all had different lives to go on and lead. And so there was an indie EP, a couple of LPs for IRS, and goodbye. Similar story for a lot of bands in that heyday.

But, damnit, this was NOT that same story. The Balancing Act was something more than all that. Maybe they all had other things to move on and become....but the music they made in their youth was not forgettable. It was not disposable. It didn't not matter.

I guess I'm not the only one who feels this way. This past spring, the band gathered in Los Angeles to play for a small but appreciative crowd, a bunch of folks who remembered and revered what they'd done. It was hard to peg exactly what The Balancing Act were, which is much to their credit. They were a folk band, a jazz band, an indie band, even a sort of new-wave-ish band in their time. A rock 'n' roll band in the finest sense of that term, such that it denotes a converging of excitable energy and adventuresome spirit. They were, ultimately, great musicians, creative souls, and positive-charged human beings.

"We're not lost, we're meant to be here," they sang in one of their most indelible tunes. That's as good a summation of The Balancing Act's raison d'etre as I could offer. Seeking, yes; lost, no. They were meant to be here, digging for songs and sounds that had yet to be found. I reveled in following them on that journey, if only for a brief time. The legacy remained with me....as, apparently, it did with them, if this footage from those recent reunion shows is any indication.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the lovely words. I know we all appreciate it when someone takes the time to remember the band publicly.