Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Joywave, Bastille and why we can't have nice things

This one is going to be much shorter than most of my write ups. I had a bunch of things I wanted to talk about: The torturous, hip-hugging seats at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden; the usher with no sense of personal space who kept running into me; the millennial couple sitting in front of me who spent most of their date ignoring one another and staring at their phones; and the girl two rows in front of me who kept swaying into and out of my sight lines even when the music was no longer playing. There was all kind of fun to write about, and I was having a fairly enjoyable time in spite of all of them. But these days, you can't go out and enjoy anything -- football, a movie, a concert, anything -- without some twit injecting their personal politics into the situation and spoiling the evening.

So the briefest of recaps:

Joywave: This is a weird, geeky indiepop band from Rochester, NY. In comparison, to say, Glam Skanks, I should like these guys better. There's a lot of synth, and they have a weird sense of humor. Denise likes them because they incorporate a lot of that low, chunky, Trent Reznor-style synth in their music. But much like the Glam Skanks, I feel like the key element they're still missing is strong songs. I like "Tongues", and they did another one called "Content" that was pretty good. But beyond that, I thought most of their material was just so-so.

Bastille: They had a tremendous night musically, and most of the Manhattan millennial crowd stood up for the first song and never sat back down. Their sound was crisp, and vocalist Dan Smith sounded great all night. They also featured a guest appearance by Joywave on one song, and by a female singer who bills herself as The Dawn of MAY on three songs in a row.

I was having a nice night, singing along on my favorite Bastille song, "Things We Lost in the Fire", and generally enjoying the full set, which was broken down into four "Acts".

But somewhere along the way, Smith thought it would be cute to take a couple of shots not only at British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, but also at President Trump.

Now I wasn't aware that Nancy Pelosi had caved to the pressure of the far-left wing of her Party and decided to open an official impeachment inquiry into the President that day, because I spent the afternoon traveling to get to the stupid concert. But Smith, a British citizen, made sure to celebrate it with the Manhattan crowd. Now I wouldn't want to hear what he thought about President Trump if he was an American -- you're a singer, no one paid to come here to hear your keen political mind. But to come into someone else's country and slam their legally elected leader seems to me to be height of rudeness. I'm so sorry I gave up seeing Rick Wakeman at The Paramount last night to travel into the city and see them.

If I spend the money to buy tickets to your concert, take the time (and the expense) to travel there, to an uncomfortable venue that treats their crowds rudely (and frankly, this is true of most music venues these days, especially the Manhattan ones), and you use the occasion to insult me and my beliefs, then I have to be an idiot to keep coming back. (In this case, Denise bought the tickets, but you know what I mean.)

So, from that point on, I was done with them. And frankly, for the immediate future, I'm done with live music.

Denise and I have tickets to see Renaissance in a couple of weeks, and there's a Halloween concert and an Irish music concert we have tickets for in Patchogue. We've talked about seeing Mannheim Steamroller at the Tilles Center in December, and maybe we'll do that (and maybe we won't.) But for right now, I'm done with live music, and equally done with Manhattan. (We were literally stepping over sleeping bodies in the middle of the floor at Penn Station last night. It took DeBlasio a little more than one term to take the city, which Giuliani and Bloomberg had done an incredible job of cleaning up, and turn it back into a shithole.)

Since it's impossible to do anything nowadays without having somebody's politics shoved in your face, maybe I'll channel my extra time into my own political activism.

In any event, apologies to any of the readers of this blog who feel ambushed by reading this, as you know I usually try to keep my blog as free of politics as humanly possible. I'm not really sure what the future of this blog will be. I'll certainly write up those last couple of shows, and I've already been working on my Best Of the Decade lists. But maybe I'll close things down here at the end of the year. Or maybe the blog will morph into something else music-centered.

Either way, many thanks to those readers who have stuck with me (and my mad rants) over the years. As soon as I figure out where I'm going with all of this, I'll let you all know.