Music Concert Visuals May Be Inspired By Drug Use

Kreed Kleinkopf
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June 16, 2022

There's no denying that drugs and music have always had a close relationship. For many people, using drugs is a way to enhance their musical experience, whether it's dancing all night at a club or losing themselves in an eclectic mix at a festival. However, it's worth noting that not all music fans use drugs, and many live performances are perfectly enjoyable without any chemical assistance.

Nevertheless, it's undeniable that drugs have played a major role in music history, especially when it comes to large live performances. Artists such as Pink Floyd and The Grateful Dead were known for their elaborate stage shows, often designed to be experienced while under the influence of drugs.

In recent years, electronic dance music has become closely associated with drug use, with festivals like Tomorrowland and Ultra becoming known as hotbeds of illicit activity.

What Are Music Concert Visuals?

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Music concerts are a visual feast for the senses, with bright lights, flashing colors, and dizzying patterns. But have you ever wondered where these visuals come from? It turns out that many of them are inspired by drug use.

For example, the trippy patterns used in concert visuals are similar to those experienced during an acid trip. And the flashing lights can mimic the effects of strobing lights on a dance floor. By creating visuals that are reminiscent of drug-induced states, concertgoers can feel like they're experiencing the music in a whole new way.

The Link Between Drugs and Music

Music and drugs have been linked together for centuries. In the early days, people commonly used psychoactive drugs to enhance their music experience. Drugs like alcohol and tobacco were used to relax and improve the taste of music. Amphetamines were also common, with rock and roll artists like Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis relying on them for their wild onstage antics.

In more recent times, illegal drugs like LSD and MDMA have been used by people searching for a more intense musical experience. Some claim that these drugs can help them appreciate music in a whole new way, while others enjoy the heightened sensations and feelings of euphoria that they can produce.

Music, in turn, has always been a part of the drug culture in the United States. Many drugs, especially psychedelics, are associated with specific genres of music, such as acid house or trance. For many people, taking drugs is an integral part of the musical experience, as it can help them feel more connected to the music and other people. Drug use can also be seen as rebelling against society's norms and expectations.

Besides, many musicians have experimented with alcohol or drugs in an attempt to improve their creativity. Some believe that substances can help open up the mind and allow new ideas to flow. However, it is worth noting that many successful musicians have composed great songs without resorting to drugs or alcohol.

Music, Drug Use, and Addiction

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There's also a close link between music and substance use disorders. In some cases, people may use drugs to enhance their experience of listening to music. But in others, the connection between music and partying can lead to drug use or addiction or trigger mental disorders that cause them to turn to drugs to cope.

One of the most common drugs used at parties is MDMA, also known as "ecstasy" or "molly." MDMA is a stimulant that can cause feelings of euphoria, increased energy, and pleasure. It can also increase heart rate and blood pressure, dehydration, and anxiety.

When taken in large doses or combined with other drugs, MDMA can be dangerous and even life-threatening. Since MDMA is often used at all-night parties or nightclubs, people who use the drug may not get enough sleep, leading to fatigue, irritability, and memory problems. Long-term use of MDMA can also cause withdrawal symptoms, including depression, anxiety, and sleep problems.

For people struggling with addiction, the connection between drugs and music can be dangerous. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, party settings are risk factors for relapse, as they trigger cravings. At the same time, listening to music can make it harder to resist the urge to use drugs. The National Institutes on drug use research indicates that relapses are common, happening in 40-60% of the cases.

Music Concert Visuals and Drug Use

Many people who attend live music performances are using drugs. According to research by DrugAbuse.com, 57% of people admitted to using drugs or alcohol, with 93% consuming alcoholic beverages. Additionally, about 40% used marijuana at live music events, followed by 8% who used hallucinogens or MDMA (Molly or ecstasy).

Large live music performances often incorporate heavy visuals into their shows, expecting that many crowd members will be under the influence of drugs. These visuals help to:

  1. Create a more immersive experience: Heavy visuals can help create a more immersive experience for the audience, making them feel like they are part of the performance.
  2. Engage the audience: Heavy visuals can also help to engage the audience, keeping them involved in the performance.
  3. Add excitement: Heavy visuals can add excitement to a performance, making it more enjoyable for the audience.
  4. Create a memorable experience: Heavy visuals can help create a memorable experience for the audience, one they will remember long after the performance is over.

Many drugs cause users to experience sensory overload, and the introduction of visual elements can help ground them and prevent them from becoming overwhelmed.

Besides, drugs can alter perception and make it difficult to process complex information. As a result, simpler visual images are more likely to be comprehended by those under the influence. Also, bright colors and patterns can be more stimulating and enjoyable for people on drugs.

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Stay Sober Throughout the Show

Going to a live music performance can be an incredibly exhilarating experience. Whether you're seeing your favorite band or exploring a new genre, there's nothing quite like being in a room full of people who share the same love of music. But you may worry about being around others who might be using drugs. While it is true that many concerts do use heavy visuals that can be enhanced by drug use, there are ways to enjoy the show while remaining sober.

  • Choose the right venue. If you're not comfortable with being around drugs and alcohol, then look for venues that have a strict no-tolerance policy.
  • Go with friends who share your same values and who you know you can rely on. If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, you'll have someone to turn to.
  • Pick a seat that is not too close to the stage. This will help to avoid being overwhelmed by the lights and sounds.
  • You may also want to arrive early and leave early before the crowd gets too wild.
  • Don't forget to stay hydrated and take breaks as needed.

Addiction Treatment

When most people think of drug addiction, they picture someone using illegal drugs like meth or heroin over prolonged periods of time. However, addiction can happen after a few tries and involve any drugs, including legal ones like alcohol and prescription medications.

Drug use is often glamorized in the media, especially in music. Concerts, in particular, can be a breeding ground for drug use.

Many people view drug use as a harmless way to have fun and let loose. However, drug use comes with serious risks. In addition to the risk of addiction, drugs can also lead to mental and physical health problems.

If you or someone you know is struggling with drug addiction, resources are available to help. Rehab facilities offer vast treatments for drug addiction, including detox, in-patient and outpatient care, and therapies. The Institutes of Health also recommends getting support from friends, family members and support groups.

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