Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Working Man's Reprise

Someone pointed out to me that the last post made me sound crotchety and perhaps older than I am. I am twenty eight years old. I am not a forty year old Smiths fan with a wife and three kids who's finding it hard to fit live music into my already hectic schedule of coordinating Pump It Up parties. I am single and without responsibilities, save feeding and clothing myself.

Admittedly, I may have lazily adopted a cranky tone. If I'd been more self-aware, I might have been more deliberate about making myself sound cool and young. But is there something about merely suggesting shows start earlier that makes me sound old? Why doesn't it make me sound like someone with a day job who likes sleep, which is actually the case?

One of my abiding examples of peaceful iconoclasm is my friend Matt. I first encountered Matt when we were both college freshman and he lived next door. Matt liked B-horror movies, Arkansas, hardcore music, and having coffee at 7am before heading to the library and retrieving the morning paper. A man of habit, he continues that last practice to this day. He feels no need to behaviorally conform to any subculture. He is the Switzerland of status quo.

I'm not quite there yet. I run on a fuel that's 90% peer-approval, so I'm a little embarrassed to have outed myself as the "old" guy who's wiped-out by midnight. That doesn't change the fact that the ethos by which one becomes known as "old" has more in common with MTV Spring Break than it does with music.


Tony said...

I guess what I meant to say is that I can't imagine you making such a statement five to ten years ago. As free-spirited youths we happily catered to the whims of our favorite bands / clubs, while as dayjobbing adults, we want these artists and businesses to cater to us. What has to be realized, though is that the local live music industry is geared towards selling alcohol. If fans didn't have to wait an hour for the band to take stage, they'd buy fewer drinks beforehand. If shows ended promptly at ten, we'd be more likely to leave and go someplace else than stick around and continue drinking. It's not really in the clubs' interest to have earlier shows.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps I'm basing the following statement on reading entirely too many books and not getting out quite enough: but I've always assumed that music's hours were a tradition begun by people cooler than me, people who managed to be connected with various cultural movements while eschewing the trappings of middle class life through a combination of grift and unwilling or willful poverty or through abundant trust funds and heroin chic.

Most pop records are bought by members of the middle class. Most pop concerts are attended by the middle class. But most bands, regardless of their backgrounds, try not to look middle class (or even as if that's their intended audience) because of rock, hip hop, etc's vestigal perception of the genres' outsider status in culture.

Getting eight hours of sleep is so not punk rock.

PS I cannot believe Tony didn't suggest you get a white noise machine.

crackers and cheese said...

I'm an old man too, except that I'm a 23 year old woman. I like to go to bed at 11pm, get 8 hours of sleep, and get cranky if I get less than that. I looooove life music, but Thursday night turned down seeing a band I like from Fort Worth who had come down to College Station that several of my friends were going to see, because I had to get up at least by 7 to make it to my 8:30 class and drive into DFW that afternoon/evening. I guess I made up for it a bit by coming to your house show, but still left by 11:20ish or so. I know I'm lame, but I don't really care. I live a very busy life, and if I don't sleep and take care of myself, it only makes things more stressful.

Tony's right, live music isn't geared toward music or the audience, it's run by the venues, the folks really making the money from live music. It is sad that money makes the world go round, that money is the reason you go to bed at 11pm, and money is the same reason why shows doesn't start until that same hour.