Something to Ponder….
07/23/2009 Leave a comment
No, this isn’t a philosophical rant concerning a massive social/political issue that plagues our society. No, this merely concerns the music lovers of the world and yet it is still something to ponder. The question I pose is simply this: should artists (especially older artists) play songs all of their fans know and adore or opt to perform lesser known tunes that mostly die hards would know. I think first and foremost artists should play whatever they feel like playing, because if they don’t then it’s fake, hollow, and condescending. On the other hand, I’d rather go to a concert and sing along to all my favorite songs then hear numbers I’m unfamiliar with, albeit usually decent tunes. For example, I saw Bob Dylan a little while back and he put on a decent performance, but I only recognized one song, “Highway 61 Revisited.” He played more modern and obscure songs from his catalog. Had he played all of his classics, I would’ve enjoyed the show far more. But, then again, back to my earlier point, perhaps Dylan wouldn’t have the same passion in his performance. On the same page, inflammatory music pundit, well sought after sound engineer, and rebel rousing singer/guitarist for such noisy punk bands as Big Black, Rapeman, and currently Shellac, Steve Albini feels artists should not “punish” their audience and instead play songs their fans adore. He notes seeing spectacular performances in Neil Young and Cheap Trick, claiming he knew nearly all of the songs. Albini told an interviewer, he plays the Shellac fan favorite, “My Black Ass,” at every show because it pleases the fans and the band still enjoys playing it. When it becomes old and worn out for them, then they’ll stop playing it. So, here’s the message for artists: if you have fan favorites that you love to play then bust them out, but if they’re sucking that passion outta ya, then place em’ on the shelf for now.