Saturday, August 25, 2007

Three Gigs This Week

Our family has been hearing a lot of music this week. Wednesday night my wife and I went to the greatest show at the Strathmore. It was a tribute to Bob Dylan, by a whole bunch of local musicians, including some kids just out of school and a bunch of people that have been playing around the area since the sixties. They got together in all kinds of configurations, players from different bands jamming, a string quartet, banjos sometimes, accordians on some songs, fiddle, pedal steel, lots of blasting Telecasters, a couple of 12-string Rickies, plenty of acoustic guitars of course, a marching band with horns, and they all played Dylan songs. I'm not going to go completely into it, but the sold-out house loved it, the players were great, there was lots of spontaneous and heads-up and excellent musicianship, just like I like.

The same day, The Boy was up in Camden at Ozzfest.

See, at our concert, as people came into the auditorium, they would go to a row with empty seats and ask, "Is this seat taken?" And people would chat, and eventually they'd find a seat they liked, and they'd be careful they didn't block somebody's view. In contrast, The Boy was in the Wall of Death (he says they can't call it that any more, because sometimes people actually die in it) at Ozzfest. This is apparently where a few thousand teenagers line up on each side of the field, and on some cue they charge into one another as violently as they can. Lovely.

He said he had a lot of fun up there; he went with another kid and his mom and came home without obvious broken bones or serious injuries. I notice that whenever his phone rings, he says "Hello," then a pause, listening, then "Yeah, it was awesome, uh, let me go outside, just a minute." So I guess grown-ups aren't supposed to know about whatever mysterious things teenagers do at awesome rock concerts. And so be it, the seasons change, the generations discover entirely unheard-of awesome new things to do that their parents can't know about.

Then last night, The Girl wanted to go see some friends play; well, she's eighteen. We drove her to a restaurant in Burtonsville where a bunch of Hispanic heavy metal bands were playing. These guys are friends of hers, and I don't know how that works, because they all speak Spanish and she speaks English, but they seem to understand each other.

We drove her up there, what a scene. The parking lot was full of clumps of people, all in black, chains and pierced stuff hanging everywhere. Sure enough, there were her buddies, she hopped out of the car and ran and gave some big ugly guy a hug ... and ... we ... left ... her ... there.

This morning she is happy, bouncing around the house giggling about things. Sounds like she had a good time. Go figure. Maybe life is about music.


Blogger Michael Krahn said...


I posted a story about Dylan and Ezra Furman, a possible successor to him at:


August 25, 2007 8:56 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Thanks for the comment, Michael, and the link. I listened to the mp3 there, and I do have a comment. OK, I'm old enough to remember the other "new Dylans" -- Hendrix, Steve Forbert, Springsteen, etc. -- and it always seemed to me that the real "new Dylan" would not sound like Bobby Dylan, he wouldn't moan nasally in a fake-Midwestern twang over an acoustic guitar and in-between blowing unmelodic full chords on a harmonica, with arabesques of paradoxical language engaging and dismissing the listener simultaneously.

No, I think the "new Dylan" should be as radically different from anything that exists as Dylan was in his day. The new Dylan should sing from the heart of the culture and of the individual fed up with his culture and with himself for being part of it, and ashamed of his own shame, but in a way that nobody else ever has before. Yeah, Bob owed Woody, but he didn't sound like Woody, his songs weren't like Woody's, and his politics were ... well, we still haven't figured that out, as right and left both claim him for their own.

So, thanks, but I'm still watching for that new Dylan. Please drop in and tell us when the next candidate pops up.


August 25, 2007 9:29 PM  

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