Monday, June 9, 2008

To Wield the Raygun and Boa of Talent

I watched Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars tonight. No, I had not seen it before, just bits and pieces, like the clip of 'Ziggy Stardust' that's on the Best of Bowie DVD.

God, it's things like this that make it so damn hard to deal with all these two-bit bands. Even across the distance of 30+ years and celluloid to digital the sheer, crackling charisma of Bowie and the Spiders is palpable. They are all damn good musicians and consummate performers. They had style, they had flair, they had everything everyone wanted. When Bowie does that mime bit during ‘The Width of a Circle’ I clapped and exclaimed that it was the most awesome thing I'd ever seen; Neddal, rather wryly I'd say, said that it was probably the first time someone had ever called miming 'awesome'. But all those girls in front in '73 sure seemed to think it was awesome.

And the music sounded real. It's always good to hear music that has had nothing to do with a Macbook.

I remember how... pallid Nine Inch Nails seemed at the Molson Ampitheatre in 2006 when they went on after Bauhaus. Peter and Co. are like that too; they have presence and everyone else is going to look quite small and completely human next to them. That kind of presence doesn't even have to be theatrical or fancy. The Cure don’t have costume changes and The Gutter Twins didn't make Mark Lanegan sing while hanging by his ankles, and they both have that presence. I don't know if it's confidence, or conviction in their music, or some inner quality that makes people sit up and pay attention to just them. Whatever it is, so few bands have ever had that.

I wonder if that doesn't make me ill-suited to review music. Everything can't be amazing and beautiful. There's only one Joy Division or Cure, and there is most assuredly only one Bowie (one Ziggy, one Thin White Duke... etc). I don't expect anyone else to measure up, but I like it when people at least try. There are some bands I've heard that I think have the right idea, maybe have some notion of how to put on an actual show and not a bleedin live action CD. I like that. I know it's possible.

I suppose what I'm saying is that I'm officially sick and tired of ironic hipsters and their shitty, shitty, shitty ironic hipster music. I'm sick of joke metal. I'm sick of ironic folk. I'm sick of ironic disco and blog house. If it sounds good for a couple listens on your iPod and then you find some other song to play a few times, it sucks. In fact, I'm going to go one step further.

Let's all stop listening to stuff on mp3 players all the time. Let's all stop this bullshit of expecting music to come in itty bitty super compressed formats. Get those damn earbuds out of your head and interact with the world. Put the damn music on something with speakers that you can't fit in your ears. Piss the neighbors off with it. Invite your friends over and get drunk and dance while it plays. And then, god help you, see how it sounds live, see if there's actually some substance to it. Because when people start writing, playing and mixing music so it sounds good in a highly compressed file playing through shitty earbuds then we're all fucked. Then we're stuck in a world where The Teenagers and Justice can get away with being called 'good'.


-N. Votta

1 comment:

the-does said...

Good blurb!!

I like the part about getting drunk and dancing, whoo!!!