Live Earth thoughts
Against our better judgment, Red and I watched some of that Live Earth concert over the weekend. There were next to no bands playing that we were that interested in. Indeed, probably the only band that we actually wanted to watch was Fall Out Boy, so we were keeping a close eye on the "more music" interactive red-button screens on Sky.
But while looking out for the Falling Out Lads, we stumbled upon a couple of other acts that we have a passing interest in: Taking Back Sunday, and AFI (pictured above).
Music goes in waves, and years can go by when one nation seems to be putting out better music than another. The same with films and most everything else, I suppose. Right now, no one is making music as great as the young Americans. Call them emo if you wish, but to do so is reductive. These are youngish mostly males getting back to basics with a couple of guitars, a bass, a drumkit, and a voice. That's all you need. You can take your keyboards and violins and saxophones and, in the words of The Streets, "introduce [them] up your jacksie".
Taking Back Sunday unfortunately suffered from a bad stage mix, so half the time you could hardly hear the singer, but AFI rocked it, and the camp vocalist was also very articulate on the subject of climate change and vegetarianism (in stark contrast to the TBS frontman, who urged attendees to go away with "some litterch--, some litt--, some littature", sounding, as Kerrang! magazine recently put it, like Foghorn Leghorn), as well as doing a pretty good version of "Ziggy Stardust", which I felt owed more to Bauhaus than to Bowie's original version.
Other acts we caught, though, included Foo Fighters and Madonna. I don't really care for Foo Fighters, but they did put on a good show. Now if only their records weren't so damn boring.
And what of London's headline act Madonna? It should come as no surprise that I don't like Madonna. And I really hate artists who try to dupe their fans by making out like they are real musicians and can play an instrument. Madge's weapon of choice was the guitar, and she proceeded to play a staggering two chords for the duration of "Ray of Light", looking like a complete plum while doing it. I have it on good authority that her outfit was nice, but I spent much of the time with my head in my hands. There was a moment, though, when I had to ask myself out loud whether she was a twat or a genius. Yes, it's come to this. Her reimagining of "La Isla Bonita" as a Romany song rather than Spanish-themed, accompanied by two members of the barking-mad band Gogol Bordello, was as inspired as it was ridiculous. Kudos to her, I think. But I'm not sure that she or her audience saw the full irony of her urging them to sing the words "time goes by so slowly" over and over during the song "Hung Up".
But it wasn't all about the music, was it? It was about the message. I'm just not sure that the world at large is ready to listen. I try to do my bit. With all the recycling we do at home these days, last week we produced just one black bin bag of rubbish for the dustbin men (trash collectors). The rest was all recycled: paper, cardboard, glass. It makes me feel a bit better for having to keep computers running all day (but not all night, I'll have you know).