Thursday, August 28, 2008

Beck: uggh

I was predisposed not to like the show. I should have sold the ticket. One guy offered me $70. But curiosity got the better of me.

I shoulda known better. Buncha herdspeople clapping and cheering - one obnoxious boomer bitch beside me even dancing - through a too-fast, unconvincingly soulless Vegas rip through Beck's greatest hits, beginning, bizarrely, with "Loser." I could not shake the feeling that I was consuming something that comes essentially down the same chute as Tom Cruise; that I was part of some transaction even more suspect and malign than that documented in Privilege. I wonder if the band members were all Scientologists? They sure didn't seem like a real band - rather like hired guns. There were a couple of moments of near-intimacy (like when the band put down their instruments and joined Beck up front for a rappish number or two, with Beck tossing in a reference to R. Kelly, whom I assume, from South Park, is also a Scientologist); but generally it felt like a professionally executed spectacle-by-numbers with no real human emotion or values crossing the chasm between the characterless but well-dressed robots onstage and the confused, whooping, cheering, salivating horde. It's hard to believe, and harder to embrace the fact that this is the same dude who recorded One Foot in the Grave, or instructed us all to "give the finger/ to the rock'n'roll singer/ as he's dancing upon your paycheque..." now selling tickets for $60+ to tasteless, soulless clueless middleclass consumers eager to bask in the glow of celebrity and cheer their own reflections. The giant dildo has crushed the sun and is now teasing about my nether regions: I felt bored, irritated, unclean, and generally embarrassed to be there, marked by my presence as just another consumer, sucker, sap. I left before the big rousing finale of "Where It's At" - bitching at friend Michael from a payphone in the Orpheum lobby, hearing the cheers and not understanding. No idea what the encores were. Fucking sucker. They got me.

Of course, I doubtlessly would have enjoyed it all a lot more if a certain couple of provocateurs (because it was Robert Dayton as well as Mack who I had this convo with) hadn't pointed out Beck's ties to the CoS, but I don't think I would have enjoyed it enough to be a satisfied pig at the trough. And it didn't help that I then had to walk home through the obscene spectacle of plastic young assholes getting drunk and parading their tits, muscle, money and utter lack of culture or restraint all over Granville Street... I feel so alien, so alone on a night like this. Where are the real people? Why is the world turning this way? Why am I participating in it? Where's my log cabin? Where's my escape hatch? How do I find my way home?

"Chemtrails," oddly, does a pretty good job of describing how I feel tonight: drowned. Like so many others. Ah, well.


moontaco said...

Only one member of the band is a Scientologist (unless Beck has just recently converted the other three). They are indie musicians that Beck recruited to be in his band for the tour. (R. Kelly is not a Scientologist either.)

I feel ya on the Scientology thing, but how can you complain about someone dancing next to you at a concert? It kind of comes with the territory, doesn't it?

ammacinn said...

a) There's a certain way boomers have of dancing that somehow seems more about drawing attention to themselves than about just moving their bodies to the music because it feels good, and this chick was doin' it all - excessive "look at me" moves, like she thought she was on stage, spinning her forearms around each other in fast little circles, waving her hands in the air... it was like standing next to a Canucks' fan at a game when the team scores. Plus she bumped into me a dozen times in taking her seat and then wedged the strap of her purse under my arm on the armrest. Boomers are so obnoxious, overprivileged, and take their own "rights" so for granted that it makes them among the worst people to find oneself in a venue alongside.

b) And given how cold and unmoved I felt and how formulaic the show seemed, the decision to DANCE ENTHUSIASTICALLY seems weird and wrong - one of the things that made my head hurt last night. You get the feeling that this woman would have danced regardless of what his songs or show were like; it wasn't a response to the music so much as...

Ah, fuggit, it just annoyed me.

moontaco said...

"There's a certain way boomers have of dancing that somehow seems more about drawing attention to themselves than about just moving their bodies to the music because it feels good"

Okay, yes, I am totally with you! I didn't realize that was a boomer thing though. I feel like I've seen people (mostly female) of all ages do that.

Personally, I *never* dance at shows, because I'm freakishly inhibited and afraid of looking spastic, but I've read enough derisive comments about people who "refused" to dance at shows that I know dancing at them is expected. ;)

ammacinn said...

I sometimes dance, but it's very rare, and the music has to REALLY work for me. Damo Suzuki got me dancing the one time I saw him. Antibalas got me dancing once. Brian Eno, when I saw a rare live show of his in Japan, got me dancing - I turned into a wriggling sperm moving ever upwards towards a glowing sphere of light at the end of the tunnel I was in, striving for an ejaculation ever-just beyond my reach... It was joyous. I can be moved to mosh at times, too, tho' it nearly kills me. But Beck, like he was last night? No.