Tradition breeds both reverence and resentment.
Like the holidays, any family get-together or the all too tired mating dances of bar mingling boneheads hoping to bump into –who-they-hope-is-the-next-fling… this could be something special. Could be a nightmare.
There’s a music festival happening again this spring, over in the Detroit area. It started running annually a while ago; if it were a person, it could legally drive a car by now, so I’d call it a tradition. Local music fans, showgoers and hopeless rock-romantics all have their own special ways of varyingly celebrating it (or spitting on it).
I shouldn’t overtly say to which festival, (the largest all-local music festival in the nation) that I’m referring, since it involves another publication as its curator. I only bring it up because this is the last week any band can submit to play it, so if you were interested…It’s coming in late April, this year-at least, and it’d be nice to see some Ypsi/Arbor bands make their way over…
Now I can get all mistily nostalgic over memorable live music events just as I can get snotty about having to shuffle through the same ceremonious retread of typical trends in venue vibes, perceived line-up favoritism or any other drummed up qualm.
I keep going.
It’s frustrating in the best way possible. You’d lose your head if you didn’t have this healthy outlet, a shack to scream into with a hive of equally harried revelers. On your feet, stomping them, jolting your joints and feeling the electricity through the screech of feedback firing forth and the beat of the drum penetrating your chest to a heart, your heart, not yet so disillusioned as your earlier quips of resentment may have suggested.
You…or at least I, still love it. That live experience.
And as this column wraps my first full year of writing for/with iSpy Magazine, I’ve come to find a community of creative-types, music-lovers and passionate performers with an ardency that’s attained (and at times ascended) the same levels of enthusiasm I’d seen back in my own house party days in college in the early 00’s, to the scenes-slipped-under-radars at industrial centers or art institutes or co-ops.
At Death Stars and Far Houses and our own local incarnation of a Playboy Mansion. Places facilitated out of pure passion—much like us here at iSPY. Nodding to these mad, noble, underground operators hosting live punk-n-roll romps, I’d also have to nod to the crew at iSPY…it being a year, now, for me, and all the work they put in attempting to cover all the crazed, musical goings-ons in this town.
And whatever it is that keeps our reverence at a higher level, that keeps us coming back to live shows, however run of the mill, however volatile, however inspiring or what…it’s a spark. A jump.
Usually the intangible instance recharging the magnetism of these “traditions” flashes by and might not even be seen by the naked eye, maybe even not quite heard by the amp-blasted ear. There is that chord in you, a thick metallic E-string plucked down your viscera that resonates in response to ghastly-yet-graceful exertions of another human being, their own inner chords rattling with a violent exhilaration, up on a stage in the midst of… a moment…. That, by definition, will never happen again.
As Thurston Moore put it during a 2012 interview with Ian Svenonius on the Soft Focus Internet Interview program –
“…I like actually going to see music and the experience of being in a room, watching how somebody’s doing something…it’s of the moment, it can’t be repeated, it’s not a static medium…”
Whatever happens during this upcoming music festival in April…there will be moments, sutured amid a blur of sets and pocketed into random venues throughout the dense line-ups…that will never happen again.
Like how Trabajabamos might have likely played their last show three days ago…
(^Trabajabamos, seen here about a year ago, playing another kind of passion-project-type venue in Detroit^)
It’s maddening… to keep coming back for that enticing promise of you-actually-don’t-know-what-just-might-happen… Even if it’s a traditional, in a way.
This ain’t your usual family get-together. This is another kind of family…
PICTURED: Ypsi’s The Disinformants (who have a record release coming up on the first day of Spring, but more on that later). Disinformants perform the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor this Thursday (1/31) with Detroit’s Destroy This Place, along with Light Out For The Territory and 1876.