Dallas has a large and diverse group of homosexuals. Many of the guys I have befriended are huge music buffs. More specifically they are into live indie bands. (Think Coachella and ACL) Its a very “I listen to bands you’ve never heard of” type situation. I often sit in awe as they kibitz about the latest show they saw. At one recent party I overheard a friend exclaim jubilantly, “OMG, did you hear that the original line up of Television is performing?!” Apparently I missed the Television press release because the small group that was gathered agreed in unison as I look befuddled. Always respecting new talent, I felt I had a duty to educate myself on the new/now/next in music.
At this point, I should explain my musical taste and background. First and foremost I like a good beat and I generally don’t listen to lyrics. I enjoy the lyrical quality of the words, but the actual meaning is well… meaningless. I like music with attitude and sass. Give me an upbeat pop/dance song any day. Better yet, make it an angry anthem about strength and independence sung by a pop diva! Gasp! (See ‘Its Not Right, But It’s Ok’- Whitney Houston and ‘Stronger’- Britney Spears) Even when I listen to Adele’s beautiful voice, I can tell she’s a fun girl that you don’t wanna fuck with and I love that about her. Obviously I have a strong cliche’ preference toward female singers but that doesn’t mean I totally ignore male rock. I like the Foo Fighters and one of my early teen concerts was Pearl Jam. Hip hop and old school rap where early influences along with 90’s R&B. (“Boyz II Men, ABC, BBD, the east coast family“) Country is the genre I have the least history with but I’ve always enjoyed the Dixie Chicks and my boyfriend is taking me to Miranda Lambert in September. There’s no single genre of music I totally hate. Actually I distrust any so-called music lover who claims to “love any type of music… except ______.”
Back to my indie hipster friends. I decided a good start to my music-ation would be the Austin City Limits (ACL) Festival. I went to the website and read through the list of performers. Lucky they had each name linked to a Youtube clip of that band’s most popular song. I spent several days going through and listening to song after song. After I had listened to about 60 or 70 bands I came to two a definitive conclusion. First, every performer is usually a group of skinny white guys with greasy hair. Second and more importantly, it all sounds the same to me. None of the music was bad but all of it was completely beige. I’m sure its different during a live show and I wouldn’t resist the concert but none of the musicians left a lasting impression. I just didn’t get it.
I thought about the whole experience and what it all meant. Was it simply a difference in taste of music or a symptom of a larger issue? I hate the idea of ludditism and I don’t think of myself as one of those people who only listens to music made before 2000. Then I had an Oprah style Ah-Ha moment. Fashion is my indie music! Let me explain. I realized that how those guys felt about indie rock was the same way I feel about the fashion industry. For example, I think of labels like Proenza Schouler, The Row, Rodarte and Prabal Gurung as famous and well known. However if you ask the average American they’ll look at you cross eyed. When I say I love music like Rihanna and Mariah Carey I get the same look of disgust from indie rockers as I give people when they tell me they love Louis Vuitton and Burberry. It suddenly all made sense. We’re the same shape cut from different cloth. (FYI my cloth is Alexander McQueen)
I’m glad I broadened my musical horizons. Now I know that if I had to pick I liked Ms Mr, Haim, and Mona best. As for ACL, I’m putting it to rest and if you need me I’ll be watching runway videos on Style.com.
Dedication: This post is dedicated to Brad. Your passion for live music from bands no one has ever heard of is unparalleled. However we found common ground when quoting Reality Bites dialogue at the Round Up.
P.S. This Saturday, Russ and I are going to see Mike Ryan in concert. He’s an upcoming country singer who you’ve probably never heard of.