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Thursday, 16 August 2012

The creeping menace of Rock God-ism

“You’re in the crowd / And I’m in the band / You are a clown / And I am the man … You’re  on the floor / And I’m on the stage / You’re really poor / And twice my age / You earn in a year / My weekly wage / You’re on the floor / And I’m on the stage”.

Busted! 4 Or 5 Magicians’ excellent slow-noise jam I’m In The Band is surely one of the most coruscating attacks on Rock God superiority ever written. Yep, they’re rich, hip, and up on a lofty, bouncer-patrolled stage near year (viewable for a hefty entrance fee). They’re looking down on you – and not only because the branded altar of their stage is considerably higher than you are. But you don’t mind (or even notice) because they’re heroes. Your heroes.

OK, I’m laying it on a bit thick here. But even in the so-called “underground’ scene of small pub venues you get some of this. Things like: bands announcing on the mic that they’d like someone to get them a drink (get your own bloody drinks). Bands delaying their entrance at the start, and at the end retreating “back stage” (in reality a crowded kit room or pub toilet) before returning for their triumphant encores. And cornball stuff which they’ve got from bigger bands: using tired-out - and status-affirming - phrases like “Here’s one you might know” or “You’ve been a brilliant audience”, and throwing things into the crowd (yeah, that drumstick means so much to me …).

Ah, it’s all us and them isn’t it? The gig groundlings and the Rock Gods bestriding the stage with their Gibsons and their tight t-shirts.

Actually, most gigs I go to are not like this and the performers are often unassuming and approachable. “Come and talk to us after the show” is a common refrain (not that I particularly want to). And you get a lot of articulated gratitude (“Thanks for coming out tonight”); in fact too much (it’s boring).

But still, creeping Rock God-ism is everywhere … and until all small venues do away with (totally unnecessary) raised stages, dismantle the cheesy lighting rigs and rule the gear rooms out of bounds for the “encore walk-off” … it will always be a menace.

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