Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Sound of Music

A) One of the biggest and most instrumental bands of the late 20th century

B) A well-known and well-loved band known to the east coast for number of years

C) A little-known band from Germany only just now getting airplay in the U.S.

If I asked you, "which of these bands drew the loudest crowd?", chances are you're wrong, unless you picked 'C'. I know, I can't believe it either... Over the past two weeks, I've been to three concerts.

First up, The Police- a concert I never thought would come to happen, let alone one I'd attend. It was essentially a greatest hits show, performed with zeal and skill by three men who, as a band, contributed immensely to the landscape of pop, rock, and alternative music. They sounded fantastic, like the intervening years had just served to help refine their talents. There were about 13,000 fans there, screaming and cheering and clapping for, literally, the show of a lifetime. Good stuff.

Second, this past Saturday, I finally had the chance to watch hometown heroes The Clarks perform live, after what felt like decades of hearing their homegrown rock on local stations like DVE (I remember being amazed when I found out the rest of the country didn't know who The Clarks were- losers). They played like they still had something to prove, though the (what seemed like) several thousands of fans were more than supportive of the band. They played plenty of well-known favorites, as well as a lot of brand new music (all of which sounded great). The crowd left satisfied, a show well-done.

Third, yesterday, I took my fifteen-year-old niece Emily to see a group she'd been telling me about for a while now, Tokio Hotel. They're from Germany (which I guess explains the spelling?), and seem to be representative of the new wave (as opposed to New Wave) of alt rockers, with a heavy dose of Emo (as opposed to Elmo) and light nu-metal. I've been listening to their stuff ever since Em let me have their CD to sample. I figure hey, she could be on to something. I like the music well enough- like I said, they're alt rockers, they hit the right notes (figuratively and literally) and I can see how younger folks could really get into their music. I mean, they're not Pearl Jam, but they're not bad. So, when the opportunity presented itself for Emily to go to the concert, and her mom couldn't take her, I did the good uncle thing and offer to take her. To Cleveland. No big deal- it's funny how, after all these years of driving in Maryland, where to do anything fun, you always had to drive an hour (not to mention just go to work), a 2.5 hour drive to Cleveland from Pittsburgh didn't seem like much. I had no idea what to expect once we got there (other than hey, it's Cleveland)- I didn't know what kind of crowd it would draw- would they be a bunch of dark goth teens, standing around with their greasy black hair covering their faces? Would it be a bunch of college age kids, standing around with their too-trendy clothes and mall-bought rebellion, looking for trouble?

We got there, and it was worse than I imagined, much worse... It was 500 15-year-old girls... and their parents. Holy shit, I was one of the adults.

Then it got worse.

We went inside of the House of Blues, and I was stuck inside a (very freaking small) room full of screaming teenage girls, all of them chanting "WE WANT TOKIO HOTEL! WE WANT TOKIO HOTEL!" I wondered if this was some kind of karmic payback for earlier transgressions. I looked around at the other adults there, and they all must've seen the panicky, deer-in-headlights look on my face, because they only smiled sadly and shook their heads, as though acknowledging what was about to happen to me. The band came out. The girls screamed. My ears bled. I mean, seriously? You know those stereotypes of the spoiled little girl who squeals when she gets a freakin' pony or whatever? Take that sound, multiply it by a billion, stick it into a tiny (what's the maximum capacity in this place? 12?) room, and you about approach what it sounded like. So this, THIS is truly what it means to be responsible for a child. The pain...

But, it was a pretty good show, surprisingly. What I could hear of the band, over the girls, was pretty tight- they were obviously more than capable of playing live, and playing well. The girls all sang along, to every song, and all seemed to know what appropriate moves to make for each song (as did some of the moms). It was kinda fun to stand back (I was at the edge of the mob) and watch them. For them, this was the biggest thing in the world. So, it was fun. Emily had an excellent time, So it was all well worth it. She got to meet and talk with a bunch of like-minded girls (not always an easy thing) and I got to talk with some fellow "suffering" parental units- though when I saw the one girl throw her arms around her mom and tell her she was the greatest mom EVER for having driven 14 hours to the show, I could tell the mom thought it was a trip well worth taking. And really, it wasn't bad. I even offered to take her to the next concert. Which probably is just what she, and her mother, wanted to hear.

So, those are my recent musical adventures. Next, I think it's time to find some live music in a bar somewhere. There's nothing like hearing a small band perform for a crowd of about 50 in a smoky, smelly dive somewhere, while you're drinking and talking with friends. That, folks, is what makes music great.

(As you've noticed, these are also my first video posts. Hope they work...)

Next time around (hey, maybe even this Friday!) an actual art post. Maybe.

Music: "Message in a Bottle" - The Police; "Lock and Key" - The Clarks; and "Rescue Me" - Tokio Hotel

1 comment:

Odd Voodoo said...

Great Clarks story, Brother! Glad you had a good time too, minus the hemorrhaging eardrums. Catch you later.