Week of September 21, 2005

Burning Ember
Pomranz not so Swift: I went to the Ember Swift show at Off Broadway. She was amazing, as always. Ember is an independent artist. She puts out her own CDs and she plays by her own rules and hers alone. Therefore, she is free to speak her mind without fear of losing her contract. Well, during the show she mentioned a piece by Kristyn Pomranz in the September 7 Riverfront Times that compared every single one of her songs to Jewel, insulting her in the process.

Jewel! Are you drunk? Ember Swift has nothing in common with Jewel, other than being a blonde who carries a guitar. I think it's very telling that the RFT has to compare an independent artist with a mainstream, corporate entertainer so its readers have something to go by. Even more telling is that the RFT did not mention last night's show. Could it be because she is an independent artist that her show was not posted? Could it be because there is no monetary benefit for the RFT to post anything positive about her or her show? Could it be because she is an activist that the RFT chose to insult her? I think so and I don't think it was an oversight that Ms. Pomranz was not at the show.

I have been patronizing our local bars to see both local and national bands for nearly fifteen years. I remember a day when the RFT actually was "alternative" -- when the supposed critics were actually from St. Louis and they actually went to our rock shows. I remember a day when people went to bars to see shows, not just the UMB Bank Pavilion or whatever corporate name it holds today. Unfortunately, those days are long gone, our local music scene is struggling and now we are left with a slightly different version of the so-called alternative magazine that is sold in every other city across the entire country. Same format, same topics, same columns, same corporate agenda.

If the Riverfront Times chooses to feed the corporate machine so be it, but please stop calling your publication "alternative." Since, honestly, it is anything but.
Carrie Hartnett
St. Louis

Editor's note: We listed Ember Swift's appearance at Off Broadway in three places in the September 7 issue: in boldface type accompanying Kristyn Pomranz's B-Sides piece, in our concert calendar under "This Week" and in Off Broadway's listing in our Club Guide. Additionally, Off Broadway listed the show in a paid advertisement. Owing to an error in posting B-Sides on riverfronttimes.com, the item appeared without information about the show.

A Bobbing We Will Go
Meet the Beatle: With regard to Malcolm Gay's "Sit Down!" in the August 24 issue, I am unbelievably disappointed that you chose to print such a story on our hometown rock fan Beatle Bob. Journalism should be more selective than this. I find absolutely zero validity in anyone's opinion that a rock fan (especially one of Bob's enthusiasm and dedication) should be sitting down because he or she is distracted by him.

You sold him out because bored assholes are bonding over disliking him. This makes your publication, which I read avidly, seem hard-up for material. You published hate speech this month, and you provided links for all these computer-age nimrods to find a club. Get cool again, please.
Vincent Krimmel
St. Charles

He's a full-blown rudester! After having been out of town for a couple of years, I returned to find the Beatle Bob phenomenon in full swing. However odd this guy used to be, I noticed a big change this time around. Someone had given him power. Whereas he used to be a minor nuisance, now he's become a full-blown rudester! Twice I was at a musical event within a few days of each other and he showed up late, barged his way through the crowd, all the while shoving people like they were so many obstacles in the way of his destination, which was (of course) to be in front of the band, vying for their attention and intruding upon the natural interaction which had been taking place between the musicians and their audience. The show was no longer about the band, it was about Beatle Bob. This is unfortunate, because Bob has no talent and cannot dance well.

I never saw any footage where anyone danced like that in the '60s, and I for one didn't pay my cover charge to watch this dude. Sorry St. Louis, but I don't get it. As far as Bob's excuse about wanting people to dance, it appears he has the opposite effect. Bob -- it's not all about YOU!
Deb House Buttner

Call him Mr. Flail: Though Malcolm Gay's piece does have the unwanted side effect of giving the knucklehead attention, kudos to Wade Alberty for calling Beatle Bob out for his continued rude behavior at concerts. No, the issue's not earth-shaking, but those crying "Live and let live!" have obviously never had to stand next to the Mr. Flail at a show. Oh, and puhhhleez, don't trot out the "He's into the music/free spirit/St. Louis is too uptight" tripe. Any fool can see the guy is all about drawing attention to himself.

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