Well, it’s charitable to suggest they’re listening – more a case of being in the same room and lining up a selfie to post to Justin’s Bebo – he’s gonna be so pissed his square-ass mum and dad wouldn’t let him out of the house…he’s just a whipped little pussy…
I’m a veteran of three Disturbed gigs. And many more (equally) disturbing shows. I go to the gig to write about it – if I’m asked. That’s the job. You go. And you form a reaction, you write a piece that reflects that reaction. You have to kiss a lot of frogs – and yet I’ve never even got to see Prince!
Two of the worst? Easy. That time I was at a Basshunter concert. I could feel myself so out of place as soon as I worked in. That much was obvious. And the time I went to the scene of several musical crimes committed by Pendulum.
Basshunter first – writing the review is always a bit of fun actually, the pay-off for wasting your evening enduring something that rubs itself up against music – the youth of that day love a bit of dry-humping of course.
And so that is what I wrote in my review. That was the setting of the scene for “Basshunter land”.
I also said this:
Jonas Erik Altberg has been working under the name Basshunter for the last ten years. The Swedish singer/producer/DJ has hit pay-dirt recently with 2008’s Now You’re Gone and then Bass Generation. His irritating music is a throbbing pulse with weak, lame pop vocals thinly attached. And the kids love it. In fact the most overtly musical point in the show was where Altberg lead the largely underage crowd through an a cappella “if you’re sexy and you know it clap your hands”. He probably sings Let’s Get Physical to the bedridden during hospital visits.
Perhaps the ultimate example of how this performance was not about the music and more about being part of a glow-stick/wrist-band club – an obvious teen see-and-be-seen scene – was the fact that during the very long gaps between very short sets the crowd continued to strike poses and dance as if in the end an NCEA merit might be awarded. Hey, but at least they were having fun! And the musical acts kept the crowd happy and far from rioting. I had briefly imagined a nasty scenario where angry adolescents shuffled down the street setting off car alarms; given the taste in music that would have only lead to more dancing.
Before Basshunter’s one-trick-pony constant victory lap, Colorado’s 3OH!3 took the stage, two white-guy rap-rockers and a DJ. One of them announced that their hometown was so similar to New Zealand; apparently both have “mountains and mystical shit”. Yes, folks, it was pretty deep. And while you’re still trying to decipher exactly how to pronounce the band’s name, I got a tip that it is text-message code for Good Luck Finding The Melody.
The opening act was Smashproof, famous for rapping about how tough it is on a major record label when you have a window between you and the north end of South Auckland. I did not see their set, instantly making them the evening’s highlight.
That was one long even swiftly summarised – shit!
I sat at the Pendulum gig – I snuck away upstairs, I was sitting where the parent-chaperones had been (briefly) banished. I was alone. My god I’ve never felt so alone. It was all I could do to imagine a crime report in place of a review.
And that was all I did do:
A vicious assault took place in Wellington’s CBD on Tuesday night. Disturbing noises were heard just after 9pm with strong flashes of strobe lighting catching many off guard. The suspect, known as Pendulum, an alleged band that formed in Australia in 2002, pummelled its victim, strangling and choking the life from it.
The victim, formerly known as Music, never stood a chance.
A Dominion Post music critic was there but wished to remain off the record, adding only, “it would be nice if Pendulum could take the same approach with future material; making sure to leave it all off the record”.
There were several witnesses in attendance as the slaughter continued. There was a report of a male figure, aged 17-24, carrying a discoloured white t-shirt over his shoulder. He had flushed cheeks, a bare chest and was tainted by the smell of stale sweat and cold tea. He appeared to be missing a belt. This description resulted in a match of somewhere between 1200-1500 possible witnesses.
The onslaught continued through the hour. At one point it felt as if a Linkin Park covers band had been left to rehearse over the top of a discarded Prodigy LP from the late 1990s.
The albums Hold Your Colour (2005), In Silico (2008) and Immersion (2010) were among the blunt objects used in the tasteless pummelling of Music. Several of Music’s key components seemed to make an early escape however as there was clearly no sign of melody, structure or progression.
One witness described it as “like a scene from a video game, where, you know, the band is just going off and the crowd is all loving it and bouncing up and down and everyone is charging; so cool”.
Another witness commented that his favourite songs were all played. These included “tracks 1, 3, 6 and 9”.
I did not expect the newspaper to print that. I filed it anyway. It was the only way I could explain what I had witnessed; what I had endured. To their credit they printed it.