Being a passionate music fan is both profoundly personal and extremely subjective. You like what you like, regardless of other people’s opinions of it, and that makes it yours. When someone decides to tell you that you have terrible taste in music, that’s when you realize you may not need that person in your life, or at the very least, in your Facebook news feed. Speaking of Facebook, we all know how much smaller the world has become, thanks to the ever-evolving world of social media. We now have access to more information, from more sources, than we ever have before, and that is why I now find myself reading random articles, stories, and blogs just because they seemed interesting at the time. Consequence of Sound and Pitchfork are great resources to keep up on music news. Sadly, not all of this content ends up being worth my time and, in some cases, it just ends up infuriating me. I could write a whole piece about social media trolls and how they can ruin a perfectly good status update or article, but, instead, I want to focus on one particular “review” that I stumbled across this week.
Anyone who knows me knows that I love concerts, especially the grandiose, multiple-artist festival shows. I grew up with the WBCN River Rave (R.I.P.), evolving from a free show at the Hatch Shell in Boston to a ridiculously oversized multi-stage extravaganza in and around Gillette Stadium. The same radio station used to stage the 3 or 4 night X-Mas Rave shows throughout Boston. We used to have Lollapalooza and OzzFest come screaming through the area every summer. This is where we got to see the bands we loved, while also finding out about new bands that we may not have heard of before (and in some cases, would never hear from again). This is where you found out if someone was great on record but sucked live. To put it simply, this is where the magic happened. Odds are, if you were at a festival show, you were gonna have a good time and find at least one band, if not a few, that made the day worthwhile. Having lived through many of these shows, I was intrigued by this article, by one Philip Cosores, posted to the CoS Facebook page this week, reviewing the recent KROQ Weenie Roast, which is similar to the aforementioned River Rave, with the notable difference being that it still happens every year. I was also drawn in by this teaser written about the festival, “[T]his year’s edition, however, was just awful, and we blame the fans…” which, as you’ll find out if you read the “review” (notice the quotes), really was just a tease.
Now, I have a number of issues with this article, some of which probably stem from my jealousy that this guy presumably was paid to go to this show and write about it, which is pretty much my dream job. However, after reading, I’m thinking he’s not the right man for that job, which just infuriates me even more. The writer just seems miserable, and tries to cover it up by basically saying the show was fun, even though the bands were awful. From a fan standpoint, this whole article is a complete waste of time, and not even remotely a review of the show itself. It’s an opportunity for him to say how bad he thinks the bands are and how easily the fans are brainwashed to follow along. In my day, we used to call that having a good time, but apparently, that’s not cool anymore. The only thing missing from this hipster propaganda piece was a diatribe on how bad Macklemore is, or has that gone out of style by now?
For the record, I’m not coming at this from the perspective of defending one or more of the bands on the bill. I, personally, don’t know most of them that well, and some, not at all, although I am excited to hear more from Bastille and Bleachers in the future. For now, I’m merely trying to understand why this individual was chosen to attend a festival show that he clearly had no interest in and then write about it. I don’t know if he was paid for it, but for argument’s sake, let’s assume he was. Wouldn’t it make more sense to send someone who cares and would actually have a good time and be able to review the performances rather than the perception of the bands themselves? I find it hard to believe that this miserable anti-fan was the only one available for the job. While I don’t know the exact date, I’m guessing the lineup was announced well in advance of the show, giving the powers-that-be plenty of time to find a more suitable writer to cover the gig. That being said, even if he was the only one available, shouldn’t he have done his due diligence and maybe listened to some of the bands in advance to have some context? Isn’t that a writer’s responsibility, to know the material you’re tasked to write about? There were even a few acts that he couldn’t even bring himself to bother writing about. It’s sad, really, because I’m sure there were thousands of people at that show that would have jumped at the chance to write this article, and they probably would have done a much better job.
Tell me what you think. Do you agree or am I being completely hypocritical here and turning into a troll, myself?