These sites usually talk about other things besides music These sites mainly talk about music
East Coast vs. West Coast
Thursday, October 12, 2006
After several days of having nothing I really wanted to write about, I'm now covered in all sorts of things to discuss. Should I start with what I love and hate each about two Texas gubernatorial candidates--Chris Bell and Kinky Friedman--one of which will receive my vote? Or maybe I should talk about today's winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature and how once again W.S. Merwin wasn't even placed on the radar.

Actually, I'm going to start with a show last night: Man Man and the Thermals at Hailey's in Denton.

It was a wonderful show. Man Man are really great musicians, and they know how to entertain at the same time.

The Thermals were good. I was telling the Plus One how I think they're like Pavement on speed. She disagreed; she's more of a Pavement fan than I am, so she'd know better how to compare other bands to them. Still, the lead singer's spoken-word singing style and the laid-back chord changes really reminded me of Stephen Malkmus and his crew. (I was informed by the Plus One that Pavement is really a band for smart people, Ivy Leaguers, for example. I would argue that they're more of a band for PCU students.)

I've been noticing something lately. East coast bands usually put on more entertaining shows (such as Man Man and Les Savy Fav), whereas West coast bands usually just get on stage in their raggy T-shirts and jeans and play their music (such as the Thermals). While both can be good, I'm starting to be more interested in bands who actively put some effort into entertaining an audience.

I've received crap about it before, but I'm standing my ground. If you're playing on stage to people who have paid money to see and hear you, put on a damn show for them. Entertain them. Whether that means having a light show, dressing up as animals or running through the crowd while singing, do something more than just stand there looking like you just crawled out of bed and picked up your guitar. If you want to argue that your music is an art and you shouldn't have to entertain people, then do what the Beatles did, stop playing live. Hole yourself up somewhere and just work on your music, release it and repeat the process over and over again.

There is a theory surrounding the North Texas area that bands draw larger and more enthusiastic crowds in Denton as compared to Dallas. Last night appeared to negate that idea. The crowd size was about the same as when Man Man last played in Dallas, and what's worse is that the Denton crowd were more subdued. It was strange: the left side of the audience just stood there with their arms crossed or their hands in their pockets, while the right side of the audience moved and danced and appeared to be having a great time. I never saw a marked line on the floor, but maybe all the people on the right side were from Dallas and didn't care about any sort of hipster poses.

In the end, Man Man/Entertaining an audience: 1; Hipster poses/boring disheveled bands: 0.
posted by pimplomat @ 11:24 AM  
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