A Place For True Music Lovers: The Listening Den

August 15, 2017



By Pola Bunster

Tickets to an amazing artist go on sale and as your group’s musical sherpa, you herd your friends to follow you as you make the commitment. The long-awaited live performance finally arrives and you take the time to pick a perfect spot, impeccable for uninterrupted enjoyment. As your new obsession takes the stage and gets into their first song you feel a rising sense of dread mixed with disappointment and anger–something isn’t right. You feel frustrated that, after all the weeks of excitement and careful planning, the people around you can’t stop talking–their faces lit up by the glare of their phones. The artist can barely be heard by the surrounding ambivalence and all you want to do is tell them that, although it might not seem like it, there are people in the audience who actually care.

This is an all too common tale all of us music lovers have experienced, and only more frequently by today’s standards. These artists who, in an age ruled by the deities of social media, are constantly being told that they come second to a memory–a blurry capture of what they’ve spent their lives perfecting in person. What happened to “living in the moment”? To the times when people trusted that you attended a concert without having to follow up with Instagram proof. Our addiction to this “pics or it didn’t happen” phenomenon has caused many of us to lose the connection with that simple pleasure that can only come with taking something in as it’s happening, enjoying the music really and truly live.


Photo from TechSpot.

Of course, the occasional recording of a special track or a favorite song can be allowed (although who actually goes back and listens to that Local Natives track you filmed at Bonnaroo those years ago?), but not when it’s throughout an entire set to the misfortune of those souls behind you whose view has now been obstructed by two hands and a shaky screen catching what will always be a crappy version of what’s actually happening in front of them. And when you frequent shows as much as we do, it’s beginning to feel like no one–or place–is safe.

Until now.

We’re lucky to say that we’ve got quite a few music lovers on the same tip, yearning for a place where all of our ears are free from background noise and loud drink orders. First, we needed a space that could lend itself to extracting people out of the real world and into a magical land completely unique. That’s where Ace Props comes in. Then, we needed some supporters who could rally behind the idea that respect between listener and performer still deserves a platform to be experienced. Beck’s Beer and Red Bull, in this case. Throw in the passionate voices of yours truly (which have begun to sound like broken records at this point) and The Listening Den was born.

On Thursday, August 31st, the very first installment of what will be a haven for all music lovers is going down. You’ll be greeted by house rules, which all attendees must respect, to keep everyone’s experience as smooth as possible, and the performance in the limelight–where it always should be. No talking, no ordering food or drinks, not even a loud step on the stairs while the act is playing. Just your eyes and ears locked onto the performance in front of you. And the sounds? Well we had to start local, which is where Keith Johns and his indie-folk fusion came in perfectly. The stage will then open up for the soulful and extremely talented Macy Todd all the way from Atlanta, for her very first show in Miami.

So let’s show her, and all the musicians, some respect. Let’s show them what we really want our city to be known for: pride in our culture. In this case, in our live music–on par with anywhere else in the world.

RSVP to The Listening Den unlocked by Beck’s Access and come ready to, well, listen.