For Those About to Rock

25 Apr
based on this, imagine my t-shirt collection

This post was inspired by listening to “Beat It” with the Mister last night while we drove to Brooklyn Park… because it was there.

I like to see bands live.  I also, apparently, enjoy buying their merchandise and the CDs of the bands that open before them whether I like them or not.  This might have less to do with how great the band that I came to see was and more with how much cash I spent on whiskey Cokes.  I’d hate to dig too deeply into my motivations here so we’ll leave it at that.

Something happened to music when we all stopped listening to the same records.  In the ’80s we all had Thriller and we all knew that Cyndi Lauper was so unusual.  They still play ’80s music at weddings because everybody knows those songs.  As we entered the ’90s it was less likely that we’d all know a song unless it had to with rumps, babies having backs or thongs.  So though we hear those tunes too, we feel more nostalgia for the crap music we enjoyed and less a rememberance of how much we loved that song.  When “The Humpty Dance” comes on, we don’t say things like “classic” or “genius”.  No, we say “once got busy in a Burger King bathroom”. 

So something you get when seeing a live show that you don’t get otherwise is the feeling of community.  Yeah, we’ve all heard the bed intruder song or heard Rebecca Blackwell “croon” about Friday.  It’s not the same as being a room with a bunch of people who want to sing along to a song because they intensely feel it.  I sing the “Friday” song but I mostly do it to antagonize my co-workers.  That’s not the same.

Back in the day musicians made albums knowing that people would sit around and just listen to the music.  Now their listeners might just buy their one hit song off iTunes and never really know what the band is about.  The more music we have and the more access we have to it the less likely it is that we’re all going to agree on a band.  It does mean that I’m a unique little snowflake because I like Young the Giant and you’ve never heard of them before but what fun is that?  (If you are hipster than don’t answer that question; your head may explode.)

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about trying to catch a show while we’re in Europe.  It’s kind of like when people who normally go to church take Mass in a foreign country, except my religion in music and my priests wear really beat up jeans and washed their hair in a sink.

Finding places to see shows of bands you like in places you don’t know, especially when the language is one you don’t speak, could be difficult but I have a trick.  Whenever I’ve traveled and wanted to see a show, I know how to find the venue where bands I like/could like will be playing.  I go to a website for a band that I know I like and see what dates they have had in that city.  Sometimes this takes looking at more than one band site but eventually you see a pattern.  This makes it less likely that you’ll end up watching a jazz odyssey but it could increase your band t-shirt consumption exponentially.

Brussels – Botanique

Amsterdam –  Paradiso  Melkweg

Munich – Olympia Park  Muffat Halle

Paris – Olympia Hall  Alhambra

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