I've been reading bits of Mark Fisher from his collected K-Punk book (thanks to Harvey) and there are a lot of mental barbs in it - things that catch my brain matter and yank out all of the surrounding tissue. I mean this in the best way.
One barb was the idea of a mega-concert (in his article it was Live-Aid) as a non-event. This idea that no matter what happens there musically - this kind of thing: Warped tour, ACL, Lollapalooza, Woodstock, etc is the exact opposite of an event.
It was just a side note in a paragraph. His writing is filled with them. Perhaps it was meant as stated - a nonevent by definition (a disappointing occasion that was not interesting - Cambridge online). Perhaps he found it boring or the idea of it boring.
I began to think though that perhaps it was more. Perhaps events are something far less planned, less spectacular. That anything sold to us as "the one event" you can't miss with10 million bands will ultimately fail to deliver an event at all in lieu of pure spectacle.
It's got me thinking, breaking things apart - which all good criticism should do, no?
Perhaps the misery delivered to concert goers in the failed island concert of a few years ago was simply a more honest representation of the forced smiles and liver-damaging levels of alcohol needed to wade through a sea of bare chest bro's, 16-year-olds dragging on stupid pipes and the sea of humanity carelessly ignoring the players on stage for the fish taco they are eating.
I sure have seen some really great performances though, I can't deny the joy it brought me to watch Dave Grohl play the living crap out his drums, or to see Pearl Jam right after the Singles Soundtrack was released, or to get to have seen Sound Garden perform "Hunger Strike" with Eddie Vedder guesting, or to catch Flogging Molly in the pouring rain.
Perhaps I can hold these two things in my mind at once. I am going to try.
Cover Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash