A while back I posted and article entitled ‘The 8 Worst People To Meet At A Rock Gig’. The response it got was nothing short of overwhelming. In fact it got more hits than all the other articles on this site put together. Clearly I was not alone in my anger at these people.
Since posting I have received a large number of suggestions for other folk who deserved a place in the rogue’s gallery, so I thought it was time for a revisit. So here are five more people who get on our last nerve when we’re trying to watch a band, as voted by you, the people.
5. The Couple
The couple are the guy and girl who try to get as close to the stage as possible despite the fact that the girl is 5 feet tall and about 8 stone. The guy then spends the rest of the gig defending her from incomers who are doing nothing more that enjoying the mosh pit. As I’ve said before, the pit is an inclusive place, but why would you want to spend an entire gig protecting the person you love from physical injury?
I only once found myself in the position of the couple. It was watching the Chili Peppers at Brixton Academy. My tiny girlfriend and I had worked our way through the crowd to a good spot but the second they hit the stage and launched into ‘Suck My Kiss’ the crowd went insane and she went flying. I literally lifted her off her feet and carried her back a safe distance. I’ve never done it again. Why would you?
Extra vilification goes to the couple who spend the whole gig with their lips locked together. Why the hell are you even here?
4. The Farter
How could I have forgotten this guy? A mosh pit is already a place of special fragrance without this guy clouding it up with his toxic storm. Coupled with the fact that inside an airless room full of sweaty people the damn thing can linger for minutes, and the fact that you can’t even usually tell who it was so you have nowhere to direct your hate.
I recently attended a Status Quo gig with my Dad at the O2 in Greenwich. I don’t care what you think, they were great, sadly the old man farts that assaulted my nose throughout were not.
Next time you’re heading to a gig, think carefully about the last few meals you’re having. Other people’s olfactory senses are depending on it.
3. The Protester
“Oh you made a giant banner to show how much you fancy the bass player, that’s cute”. Guess what isn’t cute? Blocking the view of the 15 people stood behind your dullard self. There’s a little something called line of sight and when you raise a large canvas obstruction between me and the stage I CAN’T FUCKING SEE!
The same goes for all you flag bearers. I don’t care if come from Wales, nobody does, you’ve only come to Donnington, it’s not a great feat. The worst of it though is being at a festival when it starts to rain. As the heavens open you’ll suddenly you’ll find yourself surrounded by hundreds of people who’ve never heard of a Pac-a-mac, and instead decided a golfing umbrella was a much more sensible choice. I hope you’re not too attached to your eyeballs.
2. The Bombardier
We’ve all been there. That awful moment at a gig when you get hit by something wet. Was it water? Was it beer? Was it urine? You don’t know, and frankly there’s fuck all you can do about it even if you did.
This is all thanks to The Bombardier. The knucklehead for whom every gig is some sort of Olympic games for cunts. Thanks mate, I really wanted your dregs of beer and spit down the back of my head, and that’s if you’re lucky. I once got caught on the back of the head by a thick plastic glass so hard that it broke the skin (it was at a Biohazard gig so I did my best to style it out). If I wanted to get physically injured at a gig I’m perfectly capable of doing it myself thank you very much. Drop your glass to the floor like a normal person and then preferably leave.
1. The Groper
How can I put this in a way that everyone will understand? If you deliberately feel up a girl during a gig who isn’t your girlfriend or hasn’t given you express permission to do so YOU ARE SEXUALLY ASSAULTING HER!
How was that? Clear enough?
This person was left off the original list because, being a guy, it’s not one I have been a victim of. However it is clearly the most heinous of all the crimes we’ve listed. It shouldn’t even need saying but women have a right to enjoy a gig without being molested by some tragic pervert who thinks they’ll get away with it because of the safety of the crowd.
Sure, sometimes where your hands end up in a mosh pit is pretty much out of your control, but if you wilfully feel up the poor girl in front of you or crowd surfing over you, you deserve to be beaten. Pure and simple.
And if you’re that special kind of asshole whose reaction is “Come on love, I’m just having a laugh”, try to imagine if a sweaty, 6 foot guy came over and grabbed your junk ‘just for a laugh’. Not very funny now is it? Prick!
So there you have it! Have I covered all bases or are there still some bastards out there going unpunished? Let me know.
A few days ago a friend of mine posted this article on her Facebook wall http://louderthanwar.com/blogs/10-reasons-why-rock-is-not-dead. My first response was ‘I didn’t realise anyone thought it was dead’. My second response after reading it was that while it did give a lot of reasons why rock isn’t dead none of them were the intended points of the writer.
Firstly, the article begins with a point about The Stone Roses. The Stone Roses! Now I have nothing strongly against the band but if you think people wanting to hear “She carries on through it all, she’s a waterfall” proves that rock is alive and well you’re way off the mark.
It then goes on to say that Kasabian have been banging on about the death of rock music. Who the merry fuck gives a damn what Kasabian have to say about rock music? Every one of their interviews reads like the worst troll on a message board. Get back to your moderately dancy indie music and shut the fuck up.
Then there’s ‘the death of festivals’ comment. When did this happen? This year I am currently trying to budget so I can see Pearl Jam at Isle of Wight(along with Springsteen and Petty) and Soundgarden at Download. That’s before Sonisphere have even announced their lineup. Although I’m not a major fan of either of them, Download also had Sabbath and Metallica. That’s huge! If some festivals are struggling that’s only because there were approximately 60 gagillion of them last year.
I’m not even going to get started on point 6 (there were only two bands in the 60’s were there? I’m going to check with my Dad on that one) and most of the rest just rehash the point that ‘there’s a lot of rock out there’. But points 2 and 3 talk about how Enter Shikari and Rammstein have sold a load of albums without much exposure, and while I agree in essence with the point the writer is making it also kinda renders the whole article moot.
When I was a teenager there was not internet in every home, no Spotify, no Scuzz or XFM. If you wanted to find out about rock music you had to buy Kerrang! or Metal Hammer and if you wanted to hear it you had to either watch MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball or, if your parents didn’t have cable, Noisy Muthas which was on at 2am on a Saturday morning. Failing that you just had to go out and part with your cash for some singles by bands who looked good,
And I was a teenager in the 90’s. Ask any rock fan who grew up in the 80’s and they’ll tell me I had it good. Still ours was the last generation for whom rock music was at all considered an underground commodity. I used to get called a hippie at school by the ignorant townie twats who still thought a 20 year old reference was the height of sophistication. Then came grunge which made a big dent on the mainstream followed by nu-metal which was, at the time, the heaviest music to have commercial appeal, after that rock never really went away again, and it’s not going to now.
The fact is rock was never about chart success, ever! People who like rock music never tuned into to Top of the Pops to see what was out there. Do you think that AC/DC were concerned about how high their singles charted? Of course not, not when Back In Black is the third highest selling album of all time. At number 2 is Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, just underneath Thriller. Consider the difference in successful singles between Floyd and Michael Jackson and I think you see my point.
I remember once running into the lounge when my Mum announced that ‘one of my bands’ was on Top of the Pops. It was Iron Maiden who had just got to number one with Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter. It didn’t matter that it was one of the worst songs they had ever written, it was utterly thrilling as that sort of thing never happened. It was a total exception.
There are newer bands on the rise like Bring Me The Horizon and the aforementioned Enter Shikari who are doing something genuinely interesting and different with rock music. I’m not an enormous fan of either, in fact a lot of their music confuses the hell out of me but frankly that’s fantastic. I’m 33, there should be bands coming up that I don’t understand, like I’m sure many 33 year olds didn’t understand Nirvana and the Sex Pistols before that. If I could listen to the new raft of rock bands and be completely comfortable with all of them then something has gone very wrong.
Speaking of bands who I am comfortable with, this year sees the return of Soundgarden, Refused and At The Drive In, all to rapturous applause and only this morning I received an email telling me that Andrew WK’s gig where he’s playing all of his debut album I Get Wet has just been moved to a bigger venue due to overwhelming response. Andrew WK looks like this –
Almost all of his songs are about partying hard.
It would seem that the only people who are worried about the state of rock music are the ones who don’t really listen to it. For the rest of us we know rock isn’t dead, in fact I’m pretty sure it can’t be killed, just look at Ozzy Osbourne.
The phrase ‘worst film of all time’ is a tired cliché, take a look on the IMDB message boards for any film and 9 times out of 10 you’ll find at least one post where someone is trying to convince you that this is the worst thing they have ever seen. Most of the time these people are liars, trolls or simply haven’t watched that many films.
Plan 9 From Outer Space is the go to bad film that everybody quotes when questioned on the subject (what do you mean you’ve never been questioned on the subject? You’re hanging with the wrong people). Plan 9 is not the worst film of all time, it’s not even close. Spend a day watching the SyFy channel and you will realise that Plan 9 is a masterpiece in comparison to whatever ever monster portmanteau movie they’re showing. In recent years there have been films like The Room and Birdemic, both unremittingly awful I admit but so bizarre that they hold some kind of intrigue, that is when you’re not laughing uproariously at them.
No gentle reader the real worst movie of all time never appears on ‘worst of’ lists, it was never screened on Mystery Science Theatre 300, it was not made by Ed Wood, Uwe Boll or even Michael Bay (though he is shit isn’t he?). No, the worst film of all time is called Gerry and I must warn you, this may get a little ranty.
It is generally considered good journalistic courtesy to rewatch a film before writing a retrospective on it, but I shall not be rewatching with Gerry. Why? Fuck you, that’s why! If someone asked you to write about your invasive bowel surgery would you pop back to the hospital for another run through before putting pen to paper? Of course you wouldn’t, and that’s why I’m not rewatching Gerry, because it’s like bowel surgery, only without the nice nurse to bring you a cup of tea and a biscuit afterwards.
I found it in the bargain bin outside my local Blockbuster, and from the box it sounded like a unique and interesting film, it starred Casey Affleck and Matt Damon two actors who I have no particular dislike of and was directed by Gus Van Sant the man who made Dead Poets Society and To Die For, two movies I rather enjoyed. However, this was also the man who had, a few years earlier, pointlessly made a shot for shot remake of Psycho only with added sweaty male masturbation, something I think even Hitchcock would agree, was sorely lacking from the original. So, there were signs, but I chose to ignore them, surely he’d got all of that silly self indulgence out of his system. How wrong I was.
So let me first explain to you the plot of Gerry. There are these two guys right? And they go for a walk in the desert, and get lost…
…no, that’s it.
“But surely…” I hear you say “…they get up to all sorts of adventures in the desert and eventually learn something about themselves and the value of friendship and cooperation”. No, no they don’t, they walk about in silence, they sit about in silence, at one thrilling highpoint one of them gets stuck on a rock and they discuss how he’s going to get down. Oh then one strangles the other. THE END.
You might think that I should have written ‘Spoiler Alert’ before that last paragraph but you’d be wrong. I have not ruined it for you but rather saved you from it. Guess what smoking gives you cancer and hitting your head with a brick gives you brain damage. Ooops, sorry ‘spoiler alert’.
Think I’m being hyperbolic? Watch this clip, and watch it to the end –
That’s right, you just watched6:53of two guys walking silently through the desert. THE WHOLE MOVIE IS LIKE THIS!
Still don’t believe me? Well strap yourself in for this scintillating clip, there’s even a short section of mumbly, uninteresting dialogue to pepper things up –
Captivating stuff I think you’ll agree.
I write this article not to inflame or amuse but as a warning to you all. I had no such warning and unprepared as I was I duly sat there as each mind numbing scene unfolded. “Something will happen in a minute” I thought, “it’s got to be leading somewhere, it wouldn’t just be a film of two guys walking in the desert, why would anyone make such a film?”. But as minute after painstaking minute unfolded I became slowly more and more aware that precisely fuck all was going to happen and I had just wasted an hour an a half of my life.
I was outraged! I had never felt like this before and I once watched a movie called Monsturd in which a serial killer mutates into a giant shit monster. I’ve seen a film called One Eyed Monster about a killer penis and I even managed to watch Battlefield Earth all the way through without choking on my own bile. But this was something else, and you know why? Where as films such as Battlefield Earth and The Room had tried to create a vision and failed, Gerry was supposed to be like this, there was no mistake, and it proved to me once and for all that if there is a God he is not merciful. Why else would he have allowed Gerry?
Some people on the internet will have you believe that this movie is amazing. Seriously, look on IMDB. These people say it is an ‘existential masterpiece’, some even suggest that you’re supposed to be bored to echo the feelings of the characters like that’s a good thing! Personally I felt like I’d been the butt of one long joke without a punchline, as if Damon, Affleck and Van Sant were sat around drinking one day and one of them said “Hey I know what we can do this afternoon! Let’s make a film where fuck all happens and see if anyone buys into it”.
It has been years since I watched it and the scars still run deep. When anyone asks me what the worst film I’ve ever seen is I never hesitate to bring this aneurism of a movie up, it still angers me to this day, and I once even managed to watch 18 consecutive minutes of Mama Mia!
(You can read about which shitty movies I do like here – https://landofsunshineblog.wordpress.com/2011/10/31/nikis-top-5-favourite-terrible-horror-movies/)
Last week I had the displeasure of attending a gig at Wembley Arena. It had been a long time since I had trekked to that salubrious part of the world. In fact they have built a whole new stadium in the proceeding years and made the arena look a lot less like an unwelcoming aircraft hanger, in fact I barely recognised it. Also the bands I saw were uniformly great, especially the always excellent Black Stone Cherry.
“So what the hell are you moaning about Jonesy?” I hear you cry. Well, whilst the bands were great and the new fountains outside sure were pretty there was a lot about the place that rubbed me up the wrong way. Firstly take a look at the picture below –
How much would you say that costs to put together? A dry bun and a hotdog sausage. Well, according to Tesco.com it costs 23p. Retail! Do you know what I paid in Wembley Arena? Four fucking pounds!!! Perhaps all that money was going to pay for new facial muscles for the girl who served me as she clearly was unable to smile. I was sorely tempted to grab all of the sachets of mayonnaise and run off just to offset my losses.
So, food in hand, I went off in search of liquid refreshment and soon was approached by a fella with a big tank on his back full of Grolsh. Now I have seen these devices at festivals, in that environment they are a fantastic idea, you don’t even have to stop watching the band, the beer comes to you. However it seemed a strange thing to have in a place that I assume had bars, they weren’t even walking around in the crowd, they were just outside. Maybe they’ve closed the bars, I thought. To speed up service of other things like fucking expensive hotdogs. So I asked for a beer and the young man duly poured me out a room temperature pint, then charged me £4.50 for it! To add insult to injury I then walked round the corner to find there were bars serving ice cold versions of the same beverage.
You may be thinking by now “yeah we all know beer is expensive at gigs, this is nothing new”, but still we continue to take it! Londoners love nothing more than to moan about things then continue to do them anyway. Why should we have to pay £4 for a hotdog or £4.50 for a warm pint of gnat’s piss? It just isn’t on! The average ticket to Wembley these days is around £40 and once you’ve added travel on top of that you’re heading towards the £50 mark before you’ve even walked through the door.
Perhaps we’re paying for all the work that has been done to the site, (maybe it’s to help support that flagging footballing industry that they support, I know what a charity case that must be) but why do I get the feeling that they’d be charging these prices anyway? Why? Because we take it that’s why! Places like Wembley have us over a barrel because where the hell else are you going to go? Have you been to Wembley?
But that’s not all…
As I settled down in my seat to watch the bands and consume my £8.50 worth of bread, sausage and vaguely alcoholic water I started becoming increasingly distracted by the activity going on around the balconies. Roughly every 30 seconds or so a torch light would shine down from the balcony into the crowd below. I thought little of it at first but soon I realised what it was…the Wembley Fun Police! Every time anyone in the crowd started having anything close to fun, down would come the beam of light which the guards on the ground would follow until the had located the fun and extinguished it.
Now while I have been involved in my fair share of circle pits and indulged in a bit of crowd surfing I can accept the argument that it is dangerous and people can get hurt. Being a tall guy myself I have received far more than my fair share of kicks to the head from crowd surfers, it hurts. But it wasn’t just these activities they were stopping, I witnessed several people get removed from someone else’s shoulders (normally small girls) and one group of boys actually got removed from the crowd for jumping up and down! I think Wembley’s idea of a perfect crowd is the Radio Ga Ga video by Queen, where we all just stand in straight lines and clap rhythmically to the music.
You may think that these are trivial things to be getting annoyed about in this world of war, recession and Jedward, but if we’re not allowed to have fun at a reasonable price, what else have we got left?
I will be sending this to the promoters of Wembley Arena and will happily print any reply they send me. All I ask is that next time you get charged what you consider over the odds, complain about it, even if it’s just to the poor sap who served you. If enough of us kick up a fuss it will cause ripples and eventually get back to the people who can do something about it. We know we get charged too much for beer, we know £4 for a hotdog is extortion, so lets not stand for it anymore. Revolution!!!!!
Commercial radio can be repetitive, so much so that Absolute Radio has made a point of never repeating a song between 10am and 5pm (they just repeat songs on a daily basis instead). But worse than the repetition is when they play the same damn song over and over by a band who have an extensive back catalogue (quite often of better songs). Here are five examples that really get on my last nerve and have me shouting at the radio like some ridiculous maniac.
5 – The Dandy Warhols – ‘Bohemian Like You‘
Studio Albums – 8
Singles – 22
Before 2001 The Dandy Warhols were just another moderately well liked indie rock band. They had enjoyed some success with their singles Every Day Should Be A Holiday and Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth and had just released their third album Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia, the second single from which was a catchy little number called Bohemian Like You. It was a good song, a great one in fact, but in the UK it had charted lower than any of their previous four singles.
Then this happened –
UK mobile phone company Vodafone picked up the song for use in their ad campaign which had heavy rotation on commercial TV channels. The song was quickly re released, went to number 5 in the UK chart and promptly became the only song The Dandy Warhols ever got played on English radio.
The band went on to release 5 more albums and became the subject of a 2004 documentary movie Dig but will forever be known on these shores as ‘That band from the Vodafone advert’.
4 – Goo Goo Dolls – ‘Iris‘
Studio Albums – 9
Singles – 26
Even if you don’t recognise the title you know the song. You do! It’s the one that goes like this –
See I told you that you knew it!
The song was an international hit, it has been covered by everyone from Ronan Keating to New Found Glory to Boyz II Men and was recently sung on jumped up karaoke travesty X-Factor. But did you know Goo Goo Dolls used to sound like this?
Yup, before they realised that there was a big market in sloppy ballads they made rough and ready pop punk in The Replacements mould, they also managed to make Ugly Kid Joe look like fucking Shaft.
No mean feat
Around album four 1993’s Superstar Car Wash guitarist and Scrabble high score John Rzeznik began taking control over the band from bassist Robby Takac and the band moved into more commercial territory. Iris appeared on album number six, 1998 release Dizzy Up The Girl propelling them to super stardom and probably buying them several gold plated houses in the process.
Whether you’re a fan of the early stuff or still think Iris is the greatest song ever written (if you’re a girl basically) the fact that out of their nine official studio albums that is the only song ever played on the radio is still pretty annoying (mainly because I’m fucking sick of it!).
3 – Soul Asylum – ‘Runaway Train’
Studio Albums – 9
Singles – 18
I like this song, I really do. I say that because there are two very distinct camps of Soul Asylum fans, those who think they never made a decent record after 1988’s Hang Time and those who, well…do. You see, like Goo Goo Dolls, Soul Asylum’s sound got lighter and more radio friendly over time and while their early stuff was hardly hardcore it certainly had a rawer edge than what was to come. However, even if you ignore everything before Grave Dancer’s Union, the 1992 album on which Runaway Train appeared, there are at least two better singles of that album alone. Listen to Somebody To Shove it’s awesome, or Black Gold –
How good was that? And hardly un-radio friendly. The following album Let your Dim Light Shine had some great songs on it too and their last album the 2006 release The Silver Lining even featured Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson (Replacements were one of Soul Asylum’s biggest influences). How much more do you need radio!
On a fairly superfluous side note, lead singer Dave Pirner once came in to the pub I once worked in. He was with a rather plain woman, they ordered tea. True story!
2. Talking Heads – ‘Road To Nowhere’
Studio Albums – 8
Singles – 29
Talking Heads were one of the most influential bands of the 80’s, even Radiohead got their name from one of their songs. Between 1977 and 1988 they released 8 studio albums, 2 live albums and a feature length concert movie. So why in God’s name do we only ever hear this one –
Sure it’s a great song but come on! Psycho Killer, Burning Down The House, And She Was, Wild Wild Life! At least on music TV you occasionally get treated to Once In A Lifetime due to David Byrne’s jerky antics in the video. It’s sad to think that English radio has probably played that awful X-Press 2 song that featured Byrne more times than it has played (Nothing But) Flowers. Just mull that over for a while.
In a moment of wonderful predictability, a few days before I wrote this (but after I had selected the songs), the radio station I had on in the car played this and Runaway Train back to back.
1 – Aerosmith – ‘I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing’
Studio Albums – 14
Singles – 67
So here it is, the song that annoys me more than any other, the only one on this list that has me diving for the re-tune dial (with the possible exception of Iris depending on my mood). And no, I’m not even linking to it.
Take a look at that number up there – 67! Aerosmith have, in their 40 odd years together, released sixty seven singles. They are one of the biggest, most successful, most influential and most loved bands on the planet. They are America’s equivalent to The Rolling Stones only with even more drug use and in-fighting and one of them is even partly responsible for this woman –
So why do they insist on only playing that banal, drively, bowel movement of a song that is I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing? It’s not even written by them, it’s by Diane Warren, the musical plague of locusts who also inflicted LeAnn Rimes’ How Do I Live and Starship’s Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now upon an unsuspecting world. Try to imagine if the only Beatles song you ever heard on the radio was the one written by the people behind My Heart Will Go On. It’s like that!
I admit that many of you will not be as aware of some of the artists on this list as I am but let me throw some names at you – Sweet Emotion, Dude Looks Like A Lady, Love In An Elevator, Cryin’, Livin’ On The Edge, Dream On, Crazy. Now admit it, you recognised most of the songs on that list didn’t you? Those are all Aerosmith songs, they were all written by Aerosmith, they are all about a million times better than fucking I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing!!!!
Sorry, I didn’t mean to fly off the handle there. Instead let me end with an amusing anecdote about this bloody song. My oldest friend phoned me up one day on the eve of his wedding. After exchanging the usual pleasantries he asked me if I had a copy of the aforementioned song. I informed him that I did not and proceeded into a rant very similar to the one you just read. There was an awkward silence, and then it dawned on me, “You want it for your first dance don’t you?” I asked him. “Yup” he replied sternly.
Fortunately we’re still friends and so I’d like to take this opportunity to clear the air and say this just in case he’s reading – James, I’m not at all sorry, the song is audio cancer and if I was your wedding planner I’d have had the whole thing cancelled.
Ah I’m glad I got that off my chest.