Monthly Archives: January 2007

Incubus Show Review

I was on the fence about this show ever since I heard that Incubus was coming back to town. Their new album Light Grenades was better than Crow Left of the Murder, but still didn’t match the intensity and songsmanship of Morning View, Make Yourself and S.C.I.E.N.C.E. all contemporary classics. However, when offered free tickets one does not bite the hand that feeds him. So, obviously I went and I’m glad I did.

The show opened with Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. and his side band. Thoroughly unimpressive! They were on the stage the right amount of time, just long enough for me to get a Super Burrito (I highly recommend w/ pollo…Good Times), a Caesar salad for my lady friend and a few beers. Then they were gone. In between sets, classic 80s tunes were playing. Flock of Seagulls, Human League, Soft Cell. BOOM!

The lights stagger out and a gentle hum emits from the stage. The band runs on stage and cranks into Anna Molly right off the bat. The crowd’s going crazy. People jumping around, the sweet odor of cannabis fills the air, and Brandon singing like there’s no tomorrow. A few more songs then Nice to Know You from Morning View starts and lights a flutter, crowd surfers waving their hands, mass hysteria dogs and cats living together…Ok maybe that’s a bit overboard but you get the picture. They play all the songs you want to hear except a few of the obscure favorites that everybody wants them to play for purely selfish reasons, but they haven’t played Drive.

Now, I’m sitting here thinking ok after the encore. Encore comes, they get back on stage and play two songs. I’m starting to worry, Drive is the reason some of these fans got into Incubus. Don’t you hate when a band doesn’t play the song you want to hear, because they’re sick of it? FEAR NOT! Out comes the roadie with an acoustic guitar and after an impromptu performance of Vince Guaraldi’s, “Linus and Lucy” on guitar, bass and drums…Ben (bassist), Jose (drummer) and Chris (DJ) leave the stage and Mike sits on a stool with an acoustic guitar and starts into what everyone has been waiting for…DRIVE! The lighters and cell phones come out and the all at once the crowd is one. The feelings of the day wash away. No thought of more troops being sent to die, no more worrying about the rent check just DRIVE. Take the wheel and steer.

The Fickleness of Music Snobs

So it’s that time again to rate our best albums of the year. Rolling Stone’s done it, Spin and every other magazine you can think of as well. Why do we read these lists as if they’re gospel? There are the subtle lesser known albums always thrown in to make it look like the writer is some sort of music savant and not some corporate douche bag.

A clever ploy to make the reader think the writer has some deeper motive than to tell girls in a bar that he writes for Rolling Stone. “Check out my list. I’ve always been a huge fan of Belle and Sebastian. Wanna go back to my place and listen to me talk about how deep I am while I get you drunk enough to make me look good and your inhibitions wash away?”

The fact is everyone has different tastes. Some people like music with absolutely no substance that showcases absolutely nothing but an ability to make money. Case in point Gwen Stefani. Fuck you, Gwen. I haven’t seen excrement of this magnitude since T.V. on the Radio decided to form a group. I mean really is this a High School fucking drumline? She was in NO DOUBT!!! Poppy…sure. Catchy…of course. But talented and fun and isn’t that on some level what we want out of our music? Yes, we want the Dylan’s, the Springsteen’s, the U2’s, but we also want the Green Day’s, the Rancid’s, The Panic at the Disco’s, the Blink 182’s, etc.

There’s a place for sad bastard music, but there’s also a place for unabashed pop-punk. Why is it so bad to enjoy Panic at the Disco? Like their predecessors of Poppiness (Blink-182, Culture Club, The Monkees) Panic is a dirty word when it comes to expressing a band that one enjoys. Imagine going into a conversation with some music snobs and expressing your undying affection for Panic at the Disco. You explain how clever their lyrics are, how they look like they actually enjoy what they’re doing, how they don’t rant about curing hunger in Africa or the current administrations lack of ethics and how you think that’s okay.

The most likely response would be something to the effect of…”They’re too poppy. They remind me of Blink 182. I hate emo.” Great argument! Number 1 they’re not an emo band. Emo is sad bastard music that makes you want to harm yourself and others i.e. Dashboard Confessional. Number 2 who gives a fuck? So they have catchy lyrics and cool riffs. So did the Beatles! Does that make them a shitty band? Is it their ages? Is it the campiness of the videos they make? Is it because 15 year old girls love them?

Music is completely subjective. I won’t bore you with my top ten albums of the year cause it’s of no consequence, I’m a lowly writing button pusher with enough sense to know that because I think She Wants Revenge, TV on the Radio and Gwen Stefani are the worst things to happen to music since Disco, that doesn’t mean you will agree. This coming from a guy who has Benny Mardones, Chicago (not cool “Saturday in the Park” Chicago, but 80s Peter Cetera has no penis Chicago) and James Taylor among others in his I-POD. Am I ashamed? Sure I am, but I still like some music that is considered no bueno and that’s cool. Diversity is okay. If you don’t like it then don’t listen, but don’t hate bands cause they’re popular. It’s absolutely okay if a band sells out, otherwise they’d wallow in obscurity forever like the Honeycuts…who? exactly.