With a size comparable to a snug basement, Longmont Books is not your typical music venue, but on Saturday evening it transformed into a live performance space, packing in eager ears like books on a shelf for an intimate performance by singer/songwriter Ingrid Avison.
The combination of books and music created an atmosphere that embraced the crowd, echoing an essential truth: Art can find a stage anywhere, even among the silent spectators of bookshelves.
The crowd was so close you could feel their heartbeats and smell their faint perfume or cologne mingling with the dusty, comforting aroma of aging books. This proximity might normally be deemed uncomfortable, but not on Saturday night. Instead, there was palpable anticipation that reverberated throughout the room, binding everyone together in shared anticipation for the forthcoming performance.
Books crammed into towering shelves bore silent witness to the unfolding spectacle. More than mute observers, these books with their dog-eared pages and sturdy spines seemed to contribute an air of wisdom and companionship, enhancing the intimacy of the venue. They stood there like old friends, adding another layer of richness to the event. They were an audience around an audience, the collective knowledge within their pages silently merging with the vivid notes of Avison's music.
The audience members occupied every available inch of space with some who claimed the few available chairs. Others stood and some had taken to the floor, turning the narrow store into their own personal sitting areas, snuggling with their partners, their bodies softly illuminated by the warm glow of the bookstore's lighting.
Those who stood were swaying gently, their bodies tuned to Avison's rhythm. Even though confined within the hole-in-the-wall, they had found their groove amidst the rhythm of words and music.
Avison's voice, the intensity of her vibrato was such that it felt like the books might vibrate off the shelves as if spurred into motion by the sheer vocal power. The bookstore, small and unassuming, had become a stage, brimming with life and harmony. The books, typically reserved for solitary reading, became part of a shared experience.
Avison’s smile, warm and inviting, put the crowd at ease. Her charm was infectious, each quip strengthening the connection between her and her audience. The beauty and power of her music was not the only captivating aspect of the evening. Avison's engaging banter between songs added a delightful personal touch to the performance.
She shared anecdotes and joked with the audience, creating an atmosphere of camaraderie that surpassed the margin between performer and audience. She played the crowd with her humor almost as skillfully as she strummed her guitar, her charm as captivating as her music.
Outside the bookstore, life on Main Street carried on unabated. Semi-trucks rumbled by with their gruff cacophony, a stark contrast to Avison’s vocals lingering inside the bookstore. Cars zipped past, their occupants oblivious to the deeply personal show unfolding within the walls of Longmont Books. As Avison’s expressive tones soared within the bookstore, it seemed impossible that they didn't feel an urge to stop, to push open the bookstore's door and let the music envelop them.
Though the world outside was oblivious, for those packed inside that small bookstore, caught in the enchanting web of Avison's music, the outside world faded into insignificance. They were part of something special, something ephemeral that couldn't be touched by the rushing world outside. The evening was a secret shared between Avison, her audience and the quiet witnesses lining the shelves.
As the night drew to a close, Avison chose a fitting farewell song, "Saturn Sing Me a Lullaby." The audience hushed once more, eager to savor every note of the evening's final serenade. It was a lullaby for a bye-bye, a celestial tune to close the pleasant night. As the last whispers of Avison's song faded, one could almost hear the distant hum of the universe as well as cars driving by, a fitting accompaniment to the silent applause of books.