Monday, November 28, 2005

Shattered Expectations

Well, maybe not shattered exactly, but I was a little disappointed.
About what?
On Friday I went with my good friend Jonny Lawless (yes, it's his real name) to see the band FLOW (all caps in the manner of most Japanese bands) play at this little joint called the Jitterbug. FLOW is a reasonably popular band, so to get to see them in a small venue (smaller than the West End, for those of you back in Winnipeg) was really cool. The disappointment was directly connected to getting to see them so close up. Until now I thought they had to be a bunch of guys who had just turned 20, and still full of passionate idealism, given the lyrics to their songs. But much to my surprise, they all looked like they were in their late 20s, and the drummer looked like he was in his mid-thirties and part of a wholly different music scene altogether. The four guys in front were the colourful shirt-wearing, bleached or pink hair-ish, J-hip-hoppish sort, and the drummer was covered in tattoos and despite his bleached dreds might not have been out of place in metal band. So why am I disappointed? Because seeing them in a small venue like that it was impossible to deny the fact that they are a result of the corporate music machine. No wonder their recent album reminds me so much of ORANGE RANGE. Oh yeah, and incidentally, I hate SMAP in case anyone reading was beginning to suspect as much.

Keigo, the guy who did most of the talking never managed to look quite like he believed what he was saying. At all. Not like it's easy when you make the claim at the beginning of every show that whatever place you are at is the most energetic, best place to play a show. So what this means is that I will surely find myself unable to really like them any more. I won't be buying their most recent album (but it sucks anyway, so being corporate monkeys is unrelated) and I doubt I'll be buying any others of their albums either. Jon commented that it looked like the drummer was just put into the band by the company. They did manage to whip themselves up into a frenzy by the end, and they did perform my favorite songs, but really I'm gonna have to say I was disappointed. And what gives them the motivation to play music for a crowd that aside from a handful is practically a decade younger than them? Idol worship is so stupid. And it seems to happen in every country, too. Dumb.

On a side note, or a randomly firing connexion in my brain, I was disappointed when Deliriou5? came to Winnipeg as well, really disappointed. Mind you, they had long been over-hyped to me. "Their shows are awesome," "I travelled 14 hours to see them and it was so worth it," et ceter and so forth ad infinitum. But really, though they played a bunch of songs that had been in their repertoire for practically a decade, they played them EXACTLY like they were the CD playing. Now while that may say a lot for their tightness and deftness, it doesn't do a lot for those of us who expect live to be better than the album. And I really like(d?) Delirious, having most of their albums. So disappointment. And then what's with all the hype? Why does everyone get so in a huff when it's just a group of guys? As though stars were gods and not men.

At a small venue like that we could have hung around and definitely met FLOW if we wanted to, but what's to say? I'll leave the empty words of praise to the fanatics, thanks.


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