On Saturday night, it was back to the Knitting Factory for another round of Street Teamstering. We've been here before, remember? With the silly putty and the indie rock and the sound check that absolutely WAS NOT part of the band's set? I'm more experienced this time around. To preserve the thin shreds of dignity I have left (trust me, they're there), I never clap at the end of songs now. Ever. I've decided that the Knitting Factory does not, in fact, have concerts, just three hour-long sound checks, none of which are worthy of my applause.
The Knitting Factory is now part of the Village Voice's regular Street Team rotation, so they generously bequeathed us a table and some chairs in the corner by the band merchandise booths. It's always better to have a table between me and the general public (f**k you, Electric Zoo). And the Voice bequeathed us a proper photographer, with a camera the size of her head, to wander through the crowd and take pictures of hipsters with mustaches. The mustaches are part of the Street Team's new, bold initiative to lure people to our social networking websites via paper facial hair. One side of the mustache is a mustache; the other side is a business card with our Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and LikeMe addresses. Once a week, our Facebook page posts a Mustache of the Week picture, and while I think I'm excluded from the contest because I work there, how awesome is my mustache lei?
This is how an ordinary Voice event should be: good seating, helpful comrades, mustasches, and inoffensive lilting rock.
Speaking of which, I'm a little disappointed in the New York music scene. I've been on the Street Team for just about a year now, and most of the events I've attended with them are concerts and music gigs, so I think it's fair to say that I get around. Occasionally, I hear something I like, but most of the time, the music is merely tolerable. Not once have I heard something that I love. It's both surprising and sad, because New York is to musicians what Paris is to depressed poets, or Tokyo is to disaffected cosplay lovers (I scored high on the analogies section of my SATs).
The BF and I were discussing this, because he doesn't think anything musically interesting happened after 1990 except Weird Al and I haven't been pleased with any new music since 2005 (Gorillaz, Demon Days). We decided that modern music--HUGE sweeping generalization to follow--is brittle and clear, like it's made out of plastic and glass. The indie music I hear at the Knitting Factory is a perfect example. It's somewhat rock n roll-ish, but blander and prettier, like someone drained the pulp out and left a see-through frozen sculpture behind. But the music of GenX, to make another sweeping generalization, was like raw red meat. It had substance, a heft and a squishiness you could wrap your fingers around. You could really gnaw on it, or throw it against a wall and hear it go splat without worrying that it was going to shatter.
I know that there's got to be really good music fomenting somewhere in this damn city, like I know there's got to be life on other planets in the universe: it's just statistically probable. On the other hand, I've never been anywhere else in the world where people don't dance when they see live music, so maybe my statistics are wrong. Seriously, concert-goers in New York don't dance. It was illegal for many years to dance in bars and clubs--something about caberet licenses, but really just an excuse for cops to close a place down if there was too much drug-taking and gay people. We're talking a few generations of New Yorkers going out and not dancing to live music. They've forgotten how. They all just stand in front of the stage and stare at the musicians, not even swaying a little (which has got to be unnerving for the musicians). Again, sweeping generalization, but that doesn't mean I'm wrong. And the not-dancing has got to affect how New Yorkers feel about music. Not dancing produces a demand for non-dancable music, and a prevelance of non-dancable music leads further and further away from truly rocking out.
Please, everyone I know in the Inland Northwest, come to New York and teach them how to dance again. If they learn how to dance, they'll start demanding music they can dance to. Someone's got to break the cycle!