Monday, April 3

A night at the rock show

Memphis totally dissed John Davis last night.

He was in town for the last stop on his solo tour.

There were about 12 people in the audience. Four of those were from the opening band, which I'll talk shit about in a minute.

It was embarrassing. And sort of tense, because he put on a hell of a show. He played his fucking heart out. And in between every song, there was silence — not the buzz of a crowd milling about, refilling drinks, chatting, and whatnot. Just the silence of an empty club.

Ouch. You just feel bad for the guy. He deserves better.

It's sad to see such amazing talent go unrecognized and unappreciated in a town that prides itself on birthing rock 'n' roll. And, despite how you feel about the occasional feel-good Jesusy tunes Davis puts out now that he's sober and married with a kid, you have to admit — HAVE TO — that he is a damned talented songwriter and musician.

Phil and I saw a couple of ghosts at the show: Chris and Charlie from high school. Chris has gotten married since I saw him last, which was six or seven years ago. He and his wife, who I also went to school with, live in Memphis (in the same apartment complex as Brandon, actually). Charlie is still in college in Henderson. He told me what he's doing, but hell if I could actually try to explain it here. Something having to do with Greek and Latin and history and education.

So that was really random. And it meant that about 30 percent of the audience was from Hardin County. Scary.

But now I have to say some bad things.

My apologies in advance to fans of The Violet Burning, but I've got to get a few things off my chest about aspiring rock stars, and I'm using TVB as a bit of a scapegoat.

Last night I was just sitting in a sparse audience, which made it really hard to mask my boredom with this band and their soulless, generic noise. So, I got to thinking, which generally ruins my night. But it had to be done.

I was thinking about how guitar-driven rock 'n' roll is so masturbatory it borders on obscene, but that that's why it's so successful and always on the brink of taboo. You've got all these young, mouthbreathing, sweaty men (mostly), hopping around on the stage, stroking their giant guitars, making repetative wrist motions with the various guitar appendages (I dated a guitar player for eight years and still can't get the terminology right; it's not for lack of trying, I swear!) and thrusting their hips in and out and putting their legs up on amps to fully expose the guitar and what it suggests to the willingly captive audience.

And I was trying to remember where I had read about that in one of my feminist theory classes. The guitar as phallus. Fascinating. It raises interesting questions about male dominance of rock 'n' roll, and why cats like Yanni get no respect (I kid, Yanni sucks).

And when I couldn't remember where I had read that essay, I started thinking about what it means when a band's guitar players — in TVB's case, three — all bend over in a synchronized fashion and play their guitars really low to the ground. What is that about, really? And why do they turn around and bend over, shoving their asses in the faces of the audience, who, luckily enough, were seated a good five feet from the stage anyway?

I've never played a guitar, so I can't truly know what perverse impulses overcome you while in the throes of masturbatory music-making and fret-stroking.

No one, not even Jesus, looks good in peg pants.

But I can guaran-frigging-tee that these pants (which were worn by three of the four band members) are unacceptable in all situations — even when paired with a plain black T-shirt and a black zip-up hoodie and black spiky hair and black Chuck Taylors.

It's just a bad look, dudes. I know I'm not qualified to give out fashion advice because I can barely dress myself, and I know all your punk idols wore them so you're paying tribute to the rockaliciousness that came before you, and I know that — as a man who gets up on stage to stroke a phallic guitar — you will not have to want for physical attention no matter how you look. But it's time we confront the reality that, like emo asymmetrical haircuts, these pants are ready for permanent retirement.


Blogger J. R. said...

I know you'll never believe this (I'm semi-kidding when I say that), but I have pair of pegs. But they are dark blue.

As for guitar-as-phallus, it's a pretty common theory. The guitarist from Rage Against The Machine wore his guitar higher up on his chest so it wouldn't be phallic. Instead of a wang, he wanted his guitar to serve as a surrogate for a gun.

Mon Apr 03, 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger theogeo said...

HA ha! Pegs.

So who wrote the originating theory about the phallus? It's killing me that I can't remember where I read it.

Now that you mention that about Tom Morello, I can totally appreciate it better. I thought he was just tipping his hat to Johnny Cash.

Mon Apr 03, 03:38:00 PM  
Blogger J. R. said...

I dunno who originally came up with "Stratocaster=Penis." I always thought it was part of the common knowledge, but I guess SOMEONE had to posit it originally.

I'm glad you mentioned Tom Morello's name, because I couldn't come up with it for the life of me.

Mon Apr 03, 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger TVonthefritz said...

Why is it that women and fags play the pussy-like piano? I love the piano as an instrument even though it resembles a cooter.

Mon Apr 03, 06:23:00 PM  
Blogger phallicpen said...

I play the triangle. Put that in your pocket for a while.

Mon Apr 03, 09:38:00 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Ha! I love it!

Tue Apr 04, 12:29:00 AM  
Blogger mike said...

Pianos are stringed instrements just like guitars, except you play them by striking the strings with hammers! Hmmm... suppressed penis hate?

And you play a piano by "tickling" the keys. So, you tickle the hammers that strike the penis-surrogate? That's some dark, twisty stuff there.


Tue Apr 04, 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger Serrabee said...

I take issue with your stance that no one looks good in these pants---or Kings of Leon may just be the exception that proves the rule! ;-)

Wed Apr 05, 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger theogeo said...

Serrabee, I'm willing to make an exception for KOL on anything!

Thu Apr 06, 12:32:00 PM  

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