I have to confess that sometimes I get so consumed in the world of my iPod and my MP3 collection that I lose sight of the fact that songs are made by people--real people--many of whom are living, and touring and putting on outstanding shows. Sure, recorded music is convenient, cheap, and accessible, but it's live performances that really make you fall head over heels for a band. No amount of Pandora, Last.fm, or iTunes could make me want to buy a band's T-shirt--but give me a good show, and suddenly I'm putting the band's sticker on my car. There's just nothing like a good show to remind you why you love music.
In my twenties, I used to to mark the weeks by which shows I had seen. Unfortunately, things aren't quite as carefree these days, and opportunities to stay out all night hearing great music and drinking overpriced beer have all but disappeared.
Seeing a band's polished and edited music video on YouTube is OK, but it doesn't usually reveal what it's like to see a band play live on stage. That's why I'm grateful for music blogs--especially video blogs. A good video blog from the discriminating music source is the next best thing to having your own army of camera-equipped hipsters acting as your concert-going proxy.
Of course, watching concerts from your computer doesn't generate the same memories or street cred as seeing a concert in the flesh, but the drinks are cheaper, the tickets are free, and you save a ton on parking. Also, I've noticed that I'm covering a lot more ground this way--sampling tons of great bands in one sitting, instead of limiting my exposure to a single concert.
Having it both ways would be great. There's really no replacing the connections you make with an artist's music by seeing and hearing it performed live (well, good artists, at least). But until my kid is old enough to go to shows with me (by that age, he probably won't want to be seen with me), the following video blogs are the best way I've found to see live music without leaving my chair.
For more techniques on discovering new music without all the effort, check out Music Discovery Tips for the Unhip and Unmotivated.