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THE GREAT DEPRESSION

Taking St. Louis' lead-footed concertgoers to task

Scenes like the ones described above are common throughout the city. You will buy your tickets, pay that ridiculous service charge, stand in line in ungodly conditions (all you folks at the Mr. Bungle show, are you rehydrated yet?) and be herded into venues like cattle, but when the moment of truth arrives, how do you respond? With a wall of indifference.

What's wrong with you people? Don't you want to have fun?

Apparently you'd rather be "cool." When nondancing concertgoers were polled by RFT operatives, they gave remarkably similar answers. A typical exchange follows:

RFT: Great show, huh?

Nondancer: Yeah (takes drag from cigarette).

RFT: So why aren't you dancing?

Nondancer: I don't want to look stupid.

The irony of someone uttering that last line with a bull-ring hanging from his nose is heavy, and disturbing. Who really cares what a bunch of drunken rock fans think of you? It's rock & roll. There was a kid at Cibo Matto who had to be all of 15, sporting a head of giant red liberty spikes and wearing bondage pants, who was not dancing because he didn't want to look stupid. Right....

Now, has anyone here heard of Beatle Bob? You know, tall guy with a moptop and stylishly out-of-date suit? He goes to every show (yes, every show) and unleashes some of the greatest idiosyncratic dance steps and Hai Karate kicks you'll ever hope to see. He grins from ear to ear while doing it and stands up front for all to see. He was at all the shows mentioned in this piece. You nondancers laugh and point at him, but guess what? While you're maintaining your impenetrable facade of icy coolness, Bob's having a great time. He's not practiced or polished, but he does his own thing and enjoys each and every show on a physical, visceral level you'll never understand if you don't cut loose and dance to the music.

The rest of us dancers, we have a great time, too. And while you're all laughing at us, we laugh at you, because you're cool enough to maintain some sort of stoic decorum but not smart enough to have a good time, even when you're the one paying for it. This probably explains your taste in music: A little too cool, but not too smart. And definitely not brave enough to stand out from the rest of the faceless, motionless crowd.

So go ahead and buy that new Korn album. It's not getting any better, but hey, it's got two different covers, and that's pretty cool, right? Well, it looks cool. Or at least that's what your friends tell you. And who cares about the music? It's not like you're going to dance to it anyway.

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