Thursday, October 11, 2012

Let's Go to a Rock Show

I was going to put up a post about the recent epidemic of popular artists throwing up on stage in the middle of their shows. This week: Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga (four times?). But then I shook my head and said "why?" Here is something else I ran into, an account of a recent rock concert from a blog that puts up a lot of interesting things. The post walks us through the event from start to finish via photos and commentary. Let's hear a song by the opening act, Tegan and Sara, twin sisters from Calgary:

Here is another by the main attraction, The Black Keys:

Now there is nothing much wrong with this music. It's a little generic, to my ears. The singing sounds pretty much like most other bands like this. The songs are ok. But the point I want to make here is that if you go back and look at the blog post I linked to, you see photos of a lot of spectacular lighting (two huge disco balls!!). Just looking at those zillions of moving spotlights (how many, two dozen, more?) in different colors, the huge screen behind the musicians, all of it constantly changing and pulsing--I have to agree with the blogger that it was indeed a "full visual experience." So full, in fact, that I am deeply grateful I missed it! In all that kaleidoscopic welter of light and images, was there any place for music that was not really generic? If the slightest musical subtlety had come along, would it not have been completely lost in the light show?

Personally, all I want to look at when I listen to music is either nothing or a copy of the score. This is how I keep up my snotty elitist street cred! But if the music is bad, or just boring, then I would just as soon watch a video of Beyoncé frolicking about. Now doesn't that make sense? So, if pop musicians typically go on stage with a light show that is going to make it nearly impossible to notice anything about the music, then that tells us how the musicians themselves (or their audience) evaluate the music. Doesn't it?

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