No one's brought up politics for a good long while on these here pages, and so I thought a decent approach to this election season would be to draw everyone's attention to two things; one is a humourous anecdote about one of my favorite songwriters, and the other is something our good friend Nick Smerkanich pointed out to me.
First and foremost I'd like to start with a brief plea. To concert goers everywhere: stop being such a bunch of mean, noisy fuckheads. You people seem to come to concerts simply to muscle your way to the front and then spit beer at people. You don't care about anyone but yourselves, you're rude, you smell horrible, and everyone who likes music hates you. Get a fucking clue and never go outside again unless you can handle it. Humanity is innate, and so being around people isn't a right, it's a privilege. If you can't understand that you're hulking frames and unfathomable ignorance make people uncomfortable, including but not limited to the band, you don't deserve to be out among people.
I've seen Spencer Krug in concert twice in as many months. First with his collaborative project Wolf Parade, then with his own songwriting vessel Sunset Rubdown. Both times the seriously inconsiderate behavior of concert goers have made him too uncomfortable for words. At the Wolf Parade show, a group of Philadelphia-area yahoos rushed the front row and started slam dancing and pummeling each other and strangers. At first guitarist/vocalist Dan Broeckner and Krug, the keyboard player and one half of the vocals took a calm approach. "I don't mean to get all Ian McKay on you guys, but you should love each other", came Broeckner's mellow warning. Krug too uttered non-threatening advice a few times until the encore came about. When the reprehensible behavior of the boys in the frontrow would not let up, Krug looked at them from the corner of his eye and spat with as much seething contempt as could fit in his words "I don't know why you have to fucking hit each other." Being Canadians, I have to guess they aren't used to American views on concert going. I sympathize with Krug and his bandmates and I apologize on behalf of the rest of us; those who feel embarrassed to share concerts with these people.
The next time I saw Krug, he was clearly worn down by America. Tired, irritable, and a little red in the face, his Sunset Rubdown delivered a stellar performance. The energy and passion was there and I can't help but feel it was Krug's claustrophobic reaction to America that made him perform so well. This time the drunks were not in as full force as before, but that didn't stop a scene from breaking out. About 3/4 of the way into their set, a large man and his large girlfriend, beer in hand, waltz to the front row and begin making everyone uncomfortable with their obnoxious dancing and drunken logic. During songs they would shout and swear and dance and make out, "sometimes you just gotta dance." Krug made to apologize for his set starting later than anticipated when his animosity was provoked; Hyde stepped out.
"I'm sorry we took so long, guys."
"I'm sorry no one's dancing. I'm going to fix that!"
"That's not your responsibility."
Now, I go to concerts for moments like the wordless verse after the first chorus of
'Shine a Light' that I witnessed at the Electric Factory. That moment was for me the reason to see live music, when the band is so in tune with each other, and the groove so solid and undeniable that one has little choice but to bask in the power of music. This was a perfect 15 or so seconds in an evening filled with truly awesome performance. I go to experience moments of true artistic transcendence and to share these precious moments with like-minded individuals and close friends. Why, then, do drunken barbarians go to concerts? I cringe everytime I think about the fact that nothing will change the fact that I'm an American and so are all these fuckheads. Sorry for all the profanity, but understand that i don't take this lightly.
The real reason I bring up this Sunset Rubdown song is to illustrate that clearly everyone has an interest in how our election turns out.
Not quite verbatim Krug quotes from Sunset Rubdown's show at the Middle East in Cambridge:
"The name of that song is 'Don't elect Sarah Palin'"
"The real title of that song is 'Please don't elect Sarah Palin'"
"The long title of that, as it appeared originally was 'I don't neccesarily agree with all of Barack Obama's policies, but I'd vote for him just so that Sarah Palin doesn't get elected'"
Even Canadians hate American Republicans. I hope the first time John Johnson leaves the country, he has to explain to a group of Afghan refuges why America blew the shit out of their country and killed their relatives. I'm not taking this lightly. Party affiliation is one thing, but guess what doesn't mean shit if you don't have personal politics that extend beyond intangible concepts like 'the economy' and 'patriotism'.
Part 2 of this litany of liberal screaming:
It's no small secret that I'm an enormous fan of the critically acclaimed television series The West Wing. It's combination of perfect aesthetics and brilliant political dialogue were unrivaled during it's run, and Aaron Sorkin's writing was so forward-thinking and furious during a time when nightmares guided news cycles and wars were being fought on our behalf (oh, wait, nothing's changed). So here is a piece of Sorkin's writing, his two cents on the upcoming election. It is a trifle silly, but if you've been paying attention, we seem to all be living in a particularly frightening room of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, so I find it comforting that Sorkin has taken the low road, as it were.
Here Sorkin reaches a hand into his bag of tricks and removes one final liberal cry of hope
If you're out there, are over 18 and think for a second that your vote doesn't matter, or worse that voting for Barack Obama is the same as voting for Mccain, you're wrong. This time, you're dead wrong. Please don't let Fascists win. Not again. I'm so tired of living in a Philip K. Dick novel.