Unique New York

Just like a regular woman, only crankier.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Musical Blue Balls

For those reading this, who are probably my friends, you know how vital music is to me. A day without music is like a day without Goldfish crackers. We're talking important. Music is the one artform that really offers me that sense of transcendence that alcoholics and heroin addicts search for. Music lifts moods, lifts spirits, and when someone writes a good song, I am jealous as hell. A good song is like some entity that has been waiting to be written. A good artist knows how to go into a trance and pluck that song's spirit out of the collective unconscious of songs and translate it for the rest of us. Anyone from any background can be successful at music. You don't have to have exposure or training, it's just one of those gifts.

In any case, last night, my roommate took me to a concert played by this guy named Ari Hest. I'm sure it's probably extra trendy to despair over the kinds of artists that are in one's own time, and I think it's common that we look back to a certain era and say, "That's when good
music was being written. What is this crap we have now?" And to a large degree, I think that's the case. It's not that music that is popular now is especially bad, it's just kind of boring. I don't have the attention span to listen to some guy I don't know talk about his sad suburban love affair. I really can't stand pretend punk bands whose music is inspired by the brownies that they ate before snowboarding-these guys have all this slick gear and they bitch. Bitching is not punk. Unadulterated anger at any target is punk. Your mom buying you a Mustang but without the power windows is not interesting, it's just whiny. Music business people know that these messages are digestible, non-threatening, and nicely packaged.

Moving on, I will freely admit when I don't get a genre, and I will also offer up my body and soul when I am in love with some piece of music. The guy we saw last night was sort of something in between. He was a good musician, but nothing I could relate to. The music wasn't abrasive or whiny, but it had no virility. I thought it was pretty predictable. Also, on a cynical note, I don't know what kind of guild male singers are in, but someone needs to let them know that it's okay to not sound like John Mayer.

But I digress. I love live music. There is something really thrilling about a person being accessible to you, five feet away, sweating and vomiting out all that is good about being a musician. I can't do that kind of job, and I have a lot of respect for people who do. I love that electric feeling in a room when everyone kind of "gets" the vibe, and is grooving on the same page. I can groove all by myself in a car, but it is not the same thing as being in person sharing musical communion with your friends. I love the way a crowd looks when everyone forgets that their in a bar, they forget what they're wearing, or who they're trying to sleep with. It's this momentary return to innocence. It's being enmeshed with this very primal artform.

At the show last night, no one moved. The music was giving us good beats, and movement would have been appropriate. There must have been three hundred people at a decent sized venue, and everyone was just standing around like they were looking at a car wreck or something. A couple of college kids in a dance program were kind of moving, but mostly talking to each other. They weren't really paying attention. I thought that this motionless phenomenon was an anomaly, because it happened at a smaller show I went to about a month ago. At the time, I thought it was the kind of crowd at the venue. But now, I think that the problem is larger. People in New York are scared of dancing at a concert. It was like going to a mixer at Baylor.

Also, since I have moved here, (and this is my own fault), I have not really seen any musicians that I really wanted to see. I have gone to see performers who were friends of my friends or whatever, but none of the music really inspired me. I got spoiled in Denver, since all of my friends were musicians, and they were all into different kinds of genres.

Anyway, I was at a live venue, and the music was the best I've seen so far since I've been here (excluding this country guy who played covers in the village. He was so goony and cool). I really wanted to get into it, and lose myself for an hour, but it was a lot like having bad sex. I was literally thinking of other musicians and trying to get aroused. (Picture me picturing Ari Hest morphing into Stevie Wonder. Then the whole band morphed into the Skatalites.)

So, I must get off my ass and go see someone good. I just can't live like this. It was music, but it didn't mean anything. Also, I couldn't bitch about it like I normally would since it was my rommate's treat, and she never goes out on a school night.


  • At 8:59 PM , Blogger doogn said...

    check out G.Love and Special Sauce....
    Wendy Woo..
    Otis Taylor...
    Post Junk Trio...

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