Friday, August 15, 2008

Rock vs. Bedtime

There was a time, not too long ago, where I went to a ton of shows. At the beginning of the decade, I was probably catching at least four shows a month. It was mostly indie bands at small clubs, which is the way I like it. I was the envy of some of my friends, especially those of the married and with kids variety.

Nowadays, I just don't go see as much music. There are a few factors at work. First off, just because I went to and saw a lot of shows, it doesn't mean that I was seeing lots of great shows. While I rarely saw any duds, I went out a lot to see bands that were just a bit above average. Nothing against above average, but is that worth a late night out?

Second, as I get older, the number of people who are willing to go with me to a show has decreased markedly. I don't have to have a show buddy all of the time, as I will go see a band by myself, if I like the band enough. But normally, being a social creature, I'd like some company.

Third, over the years, I've gained more responsibilities. So late evenings on work nights are few and far between. It has to be a pretty special artist to get me out late on a Tuesday or Wednesday.

Just because I've curtailed my showgoing doesn't mean I've ossified into someone unhip. Right? After all, I just made it through my second full Pitchfork Music Festival. And I saw them consecutively. Pretty amazing, huh?

But as of tonight, I realize that I'm getting increasingly lame. Tomorrow night, Oneida is playing in Chicago at The Empty Bottle. I'm a big fan of Oneida's mix of kraut rock, psychedelia and whatever else pops into the musical mix. Sounds like an easy call on a Saturday night.

However, looking at the listing on the Bottle's website discourages me. The show starts at 10. And there are three support acts: Jah Division Electric Sound System, Arriver and Dirty Faces. Even assuming that each of those artists plays 30 minutes apiece, it's doubtful that Oneida would start before midnight. Which guarantees a show until almost 2 a.m., and getting home after 2:30.

I don't know which bums me out more -- sitting through three opening acts, with the high likelihood of either hating or being bored to death by at least two, if not all three, of them; or staying up so late, getting home so late, and either getting little sleep and feeling like crap on Sunday, or sleeping in and wasting the day.

Maybe the cliche "If it's too loud, you're too old" should be modified to "If it's too late, you're too old." As much as I like the metronomic drone of Oneida to kick me in the ass, I'd much rather be asleep by midnight, give or take half an hour. I think this says more about me than how much I really like Oneida.

This realization isn't devastating. I have hundreds upon hundreds of shows under my belt. I've done my time, so to speak.

But I still love great live music. I just need to make a better effort to see artists who conform to my increasingly limited schedule.


anna b said...

In L.A., when there are four bands, the headliner usually goes on second to last, which means you can get out of the most well-run clubs by Midnight.

Of course, the last band of the night always ends up screwed, esp. if the headliner gets all diva and doesn't break down their gear fast enough.

I still don't go to very many shows, though!

Anonymous said...

I hear you Mike. Living out here in Rockford, that adds another 90 minutes of travel time after the show. Sad to say my club shows are down to 1-2 per year. The occasional 7pm early show is where you see me these days, or the small theater type shows. Unfortunately, that means i miss alot of good up and coming bands.

I wanted to see Eddie & The Hot Rods the other day...but it was mid-week....5am comes early the next day.

Elizabeth said...

Will & I just noticed Mogwai is playing the night before MBV. We can't decide if we're going to go to both. We're can't decide if we're going to *pretend* we're going to both. I will not miss MBV, and I fear committing to Mogwai too will make me unable to drag my sorry ass out two nights in a row.

So, yeah, I hear ya.

cinchel said...

yeah 4 bands starting at 10pm is rough...oneida didnt go on until a little after midnight..and while jah was short (i think he was the moog player in oneida doing a short set of sitar and was ok) arriver were great (metal but not the scream variety, but not the campy one either) great faces were ok for 2 songs (kinda fall like) and then ran out of ideas. oneida were pretty good but it was late..they didnt stop until almost 1:30 or so.. ...the bottle doesnt usally book 4 bands but when they do i wish they would try to start earlier...even 9:30 would have helped