Saturday, April 28, 2012

Of Barenaked Ladies and Fat Harmomica Players: The Jeckyll and Hyde of Nostalgia

I’ve really tried as I’ve gotten older to be more respectful of others’ musical tastes, even when they’re in direct conflict with my own.  Sometime within the last few years, I came to the conclusion that being a rigid music snob was excluding me from potential fun and adventure.  The results have been nothing short of revelatory: the mind is a terrible thing to close, friends.  Hell, the previous post on this blog was a piece about Whitesnake of all bands, and not a hatchet-job, either.  Growing up, it turns out, ain’t nearly as bad as it’s cracked up to be.  Whoulda thunk it?

That Whitesnake piece was as much about the nature of nostalgia as it was about David Coverdale and friends.  Honestly, I don’t have much against nostalgia, especially when it really isn’t nostalgia.  There’s something I admire about music fans who simply continue to like the artists they’ve always liked, regardless of those artists’ relative hipness or current commercial clout.  Staying a fan is a wonderful thing, and continuing to love what you’ve always loved isn’t nostalgia; it’s giving great music a permanent place in your life.  Rock on, true believers, and I say that with no amount of sarcasm whatsoever.

Like I said: new-ish, tolerant me generally tries to keep the artist-bashing to myself.  Still, there are some things you can never quite let go, and some times when you’ve got to call a turd a turd.  I’ll let this screen-grab of an email speak for itself:

 
There have been many times in our combined music geekdom when Rhea has asserted that the ‘90s were a terrible time for music.  At this point in the discussion, I usually get up, throw on a D Generation t-shirt, and begin to protest loudly.  Looking at the above bill – really, the Barenaked Ladies and Blues Traveler together?! – I feel that my protesting has all been in vain.  Because, based on the musical “accomplishments” of those two incredibly shit bands, she’s absolutely right.  The Barenaked Ladies have always shot for cleverness and missed by miles, right down to their imbecilic name.  They’re called the Barenaked Ladies!  They’re a bunch of fat Canadian dudes!  How fucking hilarious!  As for Blues Traveler and their intolerable blare of pinched-larynx vocals and endless harmonica jams, the Black Crowes’ Chris Robinson hit the nail on the head: they are a novelty act, and a bad one at that.  I can’t even begin to wrap my head around having to endure both of these awful bands on the same bill.

Looking back on my concert-going career, I’d rate Poison as the worst professional-level band I’ve ever had to sit through live. To be fair, I was biased going in, given that I’ve always harbored a somewhat irrational hatred towards that band and my beloved Cheap Trick were somehow opening for them.  No surprise then: they were just as bad as I expected them to be.  I’d actually rather see them perform four times in the same night than have to sit through a Barenaked Ladies/Blues Traveler double feature.  Scout’s honor – and yes, I was a scout.  (A Cub Scout to be exact, but close enough.)

Look, I’m really not trying to piss on anyone’s parade.  If, for whatever bizarre reason, you wish to buy this particular headache for the princely sum of $13.00, go forth and enjoy.  But, really: the Barenaked Ladies and Blues Traveler?  You need to raise your nostalgia standards.  You should pick up the new Whitesnake album with that cash instead.  I’m not kidding.

And, with all of that said and vented, I’ll return to my older, wiser, more open-minded self.  Still, every now and then, the music snob within comes across something that makes him have to come out and do his thing.  I thank you, dear readers, for your indulgence.

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