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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Why I Don't Like Going to Shows

Posted By on Tue, Aug 14, 2012 at 3:30 AM

Page 2 of 2

Yet, the tendency toward conspicuous consumption isn't confined to pop music fans. I find art museums equally chintzy and depressing for the same reasons I hate show-going -- the cloying display of (false) sacredness and (dumb) zealotry. Like gigs, galleries are places where cultural vitality (both the artist's and the viewer's) goes to die, patiently and expectantly, as if it's checked into an assisted living community for bygone inspiration. With both gigs and exhibitions, there seems a shared law: the bigger the facility, the more people it accommodates, the more spectacular its aims -- the smaller the experience. It's supposed to mean so much, but winds up meaning very little.

No wonder people collect merchandise from the gigs they attend. There's very little to take home with you otherwise. Such is the aesthetic smallness of most live music experiences.

That must be why I prefer albums to gigs. Listening to a record is a modest ceremony, but one that has an even chance of offering a great, sometimes transcendent, pleasure. Gigs promise the inverse. They're all pomp and little reward. A good night out? Definitely. But some people would argue vomiting on your best friend's cat is a pretty good night out, too. And they might say, "remember the time I puked on Misty?" Then someone will respond, "remember when we saw Clap Your Hands Say Yeah?" And someone else will point to their t-shirt, prompting all three to shout, "classic!"

But was it really?

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