Most embarrassing bands/acts that I actually enjoy listening to:
Toto, REO Speedwagon, Styx, Air Supply, ‘80’s Genesis, Nelly Furtado, Ace of Base, America, Anita Baker, Annie Lennox, Basia, Manhattan Transfer, Bone Thugs ‘n’ Harmony, Boyz II Men, Bread, Bruce Hornsby & the Range, Huey Lewis & the News, a-Ha, Dazz Band, The Jets, late-career Kool & the Gang, Lionel Richie, Joss Stone, K-Ci & JoJo, KC & the Sunshine Band, Laid Back, Looking Glass, Neil Diamond (early BANG! label material), Peter Cetera (post-Chicago soundtrack work, especially), Coldplay, Taylor Dayne
That is the best/worst that I could come up with. Looking at it, I notice that about 85-90% of the stuff on this list is from the era of 1982-1995, the formidable years for me. I can’t help but issue this list as support that nostalgia for our youth clouds our judgment about what is good and what is crap. Because let’s face it, there are a lot of embarrassing folks on this list. Dudn’t matter. They all sound golden and bring back the “innocence” of youth. Strangely, I put it in perspective of the music offered to my kids (4 yo & 8 mos) and can’t help but feel sorry for them if the top 40 stuff that they hear from the current charts is what they will reflect back on as decent music. I don’t know, maybe top 40 has always been a drag and lacking in quality. That being said, I can’t help but envy the people that get to be nostalgic about a childhood of hearing the tunes from circa 1960-1972 on the radio.
Gotta separate the band from the crowd. Because the crowd was everything you would expect. A split between skinny jeaned bearded hipsters and KU-clad Johnson County kids who don’t understand the subtle tongue-in-cheek jabs that the band takes at their priveleged plight. The venue was under-utilized, as half of the seating was screened off and not used. Strange, considering the 5-6 times I was approached by people trying to buy tickets, implicating a sell-out. To add to the frustration, there were hordes of ass-holes saving clusters of 4-5 unoccupied seats before the show started as if they belonged to them by divine right. Fucking GA shows. I hate the concept of rewarding the “early bird.”
Anyways, the show was about as good as expected. The band played a little under an hour and a half, and included the entirity of their two studio albums, less 1.75 songs. This is due to the fact that they started playing “Giving Up the Gun,” and abruptly cut the song short with no explanation. Additionally, they played a live-favorite cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m Going Down.” Nothing stood out as superior, but they were all studio-equivelent performances. Here’s the set-list if interested in track order:
I hesitate to complain about the band’s interaction with the crowd, because I think it is petty and unnecessary at this point to expect a band to throw out the live cliche’s (“How are you feeling, Kansas City?”, “Thanks for being a wonderful audience!”, “Throw your hands up!”, etc.) However, if you play the first verse of a song and just stop and move on to the next song, I think an explanation is in order. Like, “Whoops, sorry. Tommy fucked up the drum part.” or “I changed my mind and don’t want to play this song tonight because it reminds me of something shitty.”
Oh well. It was a copacetic show. I’m glad I went, as I have let VW grow on me considerably in the last two years. I think Contra is a progression from their first ST album, which always makes me hopeful with a young band. I am “invested” in their future, I will continue to check out their new stuff until I have a reason not to (Junior slump, maybe?) I don’t, however, think that I will bother to see them the next time they come through unless they go from “Graceland” to “Sgt. Pepper” style, or something else cataclismic. I can just throw the record on and hear it in the comfort of wherever.
As this thing takes shape, I will be writing some simple reviews of some things old, some things new, but mostly old. The title is an homage to my great hometown of Kansas City. I can’t, however, promise that there will be much to do with the music selections having ties to KC.
As things progress, I have some fun ideas on which to start riffing. First things first, I need an audience. So…I’ll be taking to twitter to try to gather a crowd. If you like music, and are interested in an unprofessional’s perspective on random pieces of musical work, spread the word. I’ll covet whatever I can get! So, short 2 minute post, as I need to get back to work. Let the madness begin.
“Add some music to your day”