Friday, July 4, 2008

Snackface and I Went to See No Age

I wrote this rant the other day while waiting for the Simpsons to come on. In retrospect, I don't know why I was so pissed off. I think it was because they have been showing Simpsons episodes from teh first 2 seasons, which are total garbagio.

The other day Snack and I went to go see No Age at Emo's. We went because we have said we were going to see them about 4 times, each time laming out. Since Snack will be out of Austin in bit, we decided to see No Age with Abe Vigoda, the Strange Boys and Infinite Body. I will now pass judgement on all of them.

I don't like The Strange Boys. Actually they are probably fine dudes, but I don't like their music. I would not, however, go so far as to say that they are a bad band. They seem to be totally competent, even if their competence comes in the form of "Introduction to Bluesy Rock" guitar riffs. The dude's voice aggravates me, though. As I told Snack, it sounds like Bob Dylan playing a 17 year-old version of himself in a shitty docu-drama. Stolen nostalgia does not appeal to me. But people seem to be about them, so good for them. I also judge bands predominantly on the answer to following question: "Why should I pay 10 dollars to see you?" Thus, stage presence is a really big deal for me, since that is basically the difference between listening to their myspace and drinking a beer at home and dragging my ass out to emo's and being sweated on by pubescent bloggers. The Strange Boys mumbled some crap and basically had no presence whatsoever. Is being peach-fuzz shy guy the new version of being too-cool wannabe miles davis dude? Either way, I am not a 16 year old girl so I remain unimpressed by your fey shyness. Go in peace, Strange Boys.

Infinite Body was a noise, prurient-lite type act that only played for like 15 minutes (I think). I liked what I heard, although I was into the more rhythmic stuff and not so much into the feedback washes. What is funny about noise music is that its live performance consists essentially of making something look really hard/painful that is actually pretty fucking easy. That said, Infinite Body grimaced alot. He seemed to be using some sort of talk box, which is rad, although snack and I thought at first he had a Garth Brooks headset mike which would have been way more awesome. He was an interesting act to bring along and I would go see him open up for another band any time.

Abe Vigoda were, for me, the stand out of the night, I don't just say that because they are from LA. They had good presence, catchy, slightly confusing music and they had a sense of humor which is pretty much the only stance with any legitimacy nowadays. ALSO: their bassist was one of the most awkward people I have ever seen on stage, and they put him in the middle. Good choice. Go buy their album.

I saw No Age twice at SXSW and both times I thought that they were better than on record. Why? Because they didn't play any of their "ambient loops", they just rocked. I would guess that they toned down the artiness because they were playing for people who might not know how cool the internet said they were. Unfortunately, the other night, we all knew how cool the internet says they are. Thus, we were treated to lots of non-rocking artiness which, in my opinion, was a sucky non-sequiter to the good parts of their music. What No Age is, essentially, is a pop-punk band with some arty crap slathered on top. The entirety of the interworld has found ways to pretend that No Age is not a pop punk band. Get over yourselves, everybody. Plus, I think that they are vegans, guitar dude definitely has "GO VEGAN" written on his guitar which pretty much deaded the band for me. Plus there was moshing.

All I realized from this night is that I hate punk rock, in all of its guises. Isn't the essential rivalry in the contemporary music world Punk v. Disco? Wasn't disco the master that the punks were rising up against? In that case, I am fucking disco. The ultimate apology for punk is the fact that it was a movement and not just a music. It was all about the experience of seeing the Germs play, not what they played. It was a sort of performance art, avant la lettre. If this is true, that means that we have punk to thank for the conversion of music into some sort of accessory to an ideology. The Ramones existed so that their shirts could be sold at Urban Outfitters. Thus, the fact that the punk aesthetic is the go-to look for EVERY WHITE MUSICIAN SINCE THE 90s, regardless of the type of music they play, is not a perversion of the punk spirit, but its utmost celebration. One does not have to play punk rock to participate its glory. Pete Wentz and No Age hanging out on MTV. This would be tolerably if I was down with the supposed ideology of punk rock, but it is heinous. Punk rock brings together all of those things that I most loathe in the world; exaltation of mediocrity (musicianship in this case), self-righteous ranting, lifestyle marketing (the sex pistols were formed to sell clothing) and loud ignorance. The fact of the matter is this:there is no long-term substitute for talent and grinding. That is why when the Good Charlottes (and the Sex Pistols, Ramones, etc.) of the world are gone and dust, Stevie Wonder will be laughing his ass off in Awesome Music Heaven. Rant over.

1 comment:

zensilkdeathbed said...

they are definately both vegans..