Saturday, March 8, 2008

Otic Assualt

I'm not going to impress anyone who likes most of what passes as music these days, but I do have a genuine concern for where its going. I rarely go to a concert or live music venue anymore in the mass milieu. Last night at the last minute, a young couple called and asked my wife and I if we wanted some tickets to a Country Music concert at the Live Stock Show and Rodeo in a nearby town. We recognized one of the artists featured as a traditional Country singer, so we accepted. It was cool out and the walk around the Fair Grounds was interesting. We ate a burger and fries with a Pepcid for dessert, and walked it off looking at the exhibits. The show was scheduled to start at 8:30 P.M. We got in a little early and positioned ourselves near the end of the arena furthest from the stage. I could tell by the volume level on the recorded music playing while the band set up, we should be well away from the speakers. The lead-in act was a young performer named Josh Gracin.

Nice looking young man right? But not country.

His band of Rock Star wannabes. Not country.

Apparently he made it to the final round in one of the American Idol contests some time back. That should have been a clue. I'm not at all impressed with most of the young stars today. Even when they copy traditional popular hits, the result has a sameness to it. I find the same to be true of modern church music too. They stand hunched in some unnatural position with a hand mike jammed between their lips and elide the words to the point of indistiction while over powering the breath shield with huffs and wails that sound like someone having difficulty in the John. Combine this with some Rock Band wannabes in jeans and tee shirts jumping from one side of the stage to the other and voila, you have Country Rock. I choose to elide the term and call it Crock. Then when you amp the instrumentation above the volume of the singers and blast it through mega-speakers, you have Otic Assault. The decible level is somewhere between a Chinook helicopter, and a roadside bomb. The assualt started late and continued for over an hour. By the time it was over (just fifteen minutes before my normal bedtime) my John Deere cap was sideways and I was two rows back from where I originally sat down. We then sat through the agonizingly slow change of instruments and at 10:15 P.M. the main act came on stage.

Tracy Byrd from Beaumont, TX. - Country

By the time Tracy started most of the younger crowd was sufficiently drunk to cause me some concern about trying to exit the Fairgounds with them. I told my wife it was time to go and we headed for the parking lot. When we got to the Midway, the volume was just about right to enjoy the songs. It's too bad his opening act ruined the evening for those of us who like traditional country.
It took a while for the vibrations to cease in my ear canal and allow me to get my beauty sleep.

Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, "Where have I gone wrong?"Then a voice says to me, "This is going to take more than one night."
Charles M. Schulz, Charlie Brown in "Peanuts"US cartoonist (1922 - 2000)