Thursday, October 4, 2007

A show review, or a review of shows in general? (...part 1)

Reconstructionist journalism, the documents of the post- post-modern, must make a thorough assumption of bias, discard all presumption of "truth" or "fact," and closely examine the broader representations of what we do/ think and why we do/ think these things. Conventional entertainment is therefore dead and invalidated, and it is the critic's job to either reconstruct its purpose or choose to discredit and discard it completely. (yes, this passage may sound a bit familiar to some of you. I posted it yesterday as part of my promo-blurb on my myspace blog for the previous entry. Reading back over what I had last written, though, this looked like as adequate as any of a place to begin.)

I've been having a rather intense inner-dialogue lately about these subsequent purposes of "entertainment" and the significance that is culturally imbedded into it, particularly by individuals who associate themselves and their constructed/ chosen identities with entertainment (particularly music) "scenes." I realized, over the course of these ponderings, that it had been quite a while since I had been to a show or concert at all (particularly by choice), largely due to the more cynical side of my thoughts on the matter. After a final burn-out run with ambitions of "success" (of some hard-to-define sort or another) as a performer, which concluded in a defiant decision that musical interests were most certainly NOT worth the academic sacrifices that they required to take either as seriously as I wished to, I had settled into a bit of overanalyzation of the show-going experience; the general questions that most commonly came to my mind when I thought about live music performance included "exactly WHAT am I watching," "WHY am I watching it," "WHY would this entertain me, or anyone else," etc. My assumptions rested on the methodology of conventional rock-based music, at our present juncture, being a mere following of formulaic structures that had, to a large degree, become by this point "understood variables," the mere basics of how it is, or is "supposed to be," done, as well as the speculation that the social and cultural cliches of building personal identities around music preferences and scene affiliations had more of a factor in our level of "entertainment" by a show than the spectacle of the performance itself.

In a word, I've been wavering in and out of varying degrees of "jaded," from a critical perspective. I tend to see structures and assumptions rather than entertainment, envelopes that neatly contain rather than "art." I've become, at times (ok, most of the time) a rather hard person for a musician to hope to entertain.

From this standpoint, when the urge suddenly DOES strike me to go out and check out a live music performance, I try not to pass it up, for fear of losing important potential revalations on these questions to my own potential for slipping back into the "fickle" and "difficult." Somehow, this urge struck me recently twice in one week, and I jumped at the occasions to creep out of my cantakerous bubble.

(to be continued, as usual...)

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