Monday, December 20, 2010

I wasn't gonna say anything, really, BUT...

So, the Jakalope/Marianas Trench show I went to on Saturday got roasted by the Georgia Straight. No surprise, they do hate 604 Records acts, and I was going to just ignore it but then again, I never can shut up. Here's what I posted on their comments board, in amongst the ocean of Trenchies saying "Oh yeah, well... fuck you!" and the occasional well-thought out rebuttal to the article.

I actually wrote for Discorder for years off and on, was even a section editor and production manager too, so I do get the whole "we're serious music critics and therefore pop music or anything that moves more than 15 units SUCKS" vibe, really I do, so I tried to leave that sort of aspect out of it lest I start sounding like a hysterical fan girl defending a band I like from evildoers. (Technically speaking, Jakalope are friends of mine, not just a band I like from afar, but they're big boys and girls and don't need defending.)

Wow, talk about a shitstorm... but having been around the college radio and music critic scene for 10 years (CiTR Radio and Discorder), I know that's exactly what you were hoping for.

First up, I'll say I didn't see Marianas Trench's set, only Jakalope's. I'll grant you that Marianas Trench's fans get a little hyper, but so what? Nothing worse than I remember seeing at Nine Inch Nails shows back in the day, and the NIN fans were hardly tweens so age doesn't come into this at all. Actually, Trench fans are far less bat-shit insane than NIN or Marilyn Manson fans, so really your criticism of the audience is moot.

Hard core fans tend to be the same across all genres, and you can't fault them for that: they're what this business needs now more than ever in the current music climate. Hell, the kids cleaned out the merch booth of all Marianas Trench stuff (save one lonely unliked t-shirt design) by the end of the opening act's set. Most artists would kill for those sort of results.

Let me get this straight - everyone's bellyaching about a lack of strong fan support for artists, but when you see an example of strong fan support you mock it?

I will say it's strange to me to see 6 year olds at a rock show, but that's more on account of how 99% of the shows I go to are in clubs. The kids were pretty well-behaved and appreciative of being able to go to a concert, cut them some slack - they're your future readers.

Is this really about the fans and the show or is it about how the "Serious Music Press" has it in for 604 Records on account of the Nickelback connection? (You know, God forbid you sell music that people seem to wanna hear on the radio...)

Now, onto Jakalope's performance. You do understand that grinding feedback is not intended by the band, right? Maybe if we were talking Einstuerzende Neubauten it would be intentional but here it's a technical accident of walking an inch too close to a monitor and every time it happened people moved back to stop it immediately. It happens at the Biltmore for hipster bands, it happens at the Backstage Lounge for singer-songwriters strumming acoustic guitars, it happens at the Cobalt for the hot new punk trio. Get over it.

I don't know where you were seated and I do believe the Orpheum, like the Queen E, has some acoustic dead spots where things sound screwed up, but from down in the front nothing sounded tinny at all, it was a pretty full sound. I didn't find Chrystal's voice too shrill, there were a couple points where she used a screaming tone for effect. Big deal.

As for "industrial waste," you really don't know, do you? Go listen to Neubauten and Puppy and FLA. Jakalope pretty much play straight up electro-rock, it's not actually the same thing.

Was it perfect? Nothing ever is. But I'd hardly call it a clusterfuck either and I've seen plenty of those for comparison. Some of which involved actual "industrial waste" acts, which you might well consider brilliant on account of them being on a different label and only having 20 fans in any given city.

PS: Platinum records tend to be garishly framed these days. The days of the simple plain frame were in the 1970s when there were a lot more of them being given out. If you don't like the frame or presentation, be thankful you don't have to hang it in your own living room. From what I understand, Marianas Trench's album has now been released in the USA, perhaps there will be an American gold or platinum soon enough. Because clearly Canadian bands are only valid after the Americans pay attention.

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