GREETINGS. LET'S GET REAL TODAY. ALSO HAIL SATAN.
No, it's not just you. Everyone is miserable, terrified, exhausted and struggling with an unsettling, creeping sense of dread. And if you're an artist, you're in hotter water than everyone else.
My bestie and I call it "impending doom." When used in context it sounds like this:
Yo duder. What's going on.
I don't know, man, I've got impending doom, I'm really feeling it.
Oh shit, what's going on? Talk to mommy about it <insert some riffing on Margaret Cho's "you have a cool mommy" bit here>.
But this isn't about me, it's about you guys. As you may know, as I may have said over and over again over the past almost-three years (!! should we have an anniversary party when HT:P! turns three? Who would even play that party? OMG, LET'S TALK ABOUT THAT I LOVE PARTIES), I end up speaking with many musicians as I woman-about-town in my day to day. Newbies, amateurs, take a break; professionals and lifers, listen up:
You are all talking about how it feels to have worked so long and so hard on your craft only to be left standing holding an empty bag. Nobody is coming to your shows. Nobody seems to understand what you're doing, they're not connecting with your material. You're standing at a crossroads trying to figure out what to do next because the music industry has diverged so significantly from where it was when you started - but you had your head down making music, not studying trends, and then you woke up one day and nothing you are doing feels relevant. Nothing seems to have an impact.
The music scene generally is so overpopulated that every musician is fighting for a scrap of a consumer dollar that is very scant to begin with. People who used to listen to music and purchase it - or who would if the market conditions were right - are in a financial bind right now as money is funneled away from working Americans and into the coffers of a handful of the most wealthy (remember the 1%?). We are the very tail end of the era of capitalism, and capitalism has failed. It has failed all of us, and we don't even know it because we're so busy letting ourselves get fat on and distracted by the toys and pleasures of capitalism, toys and pleasures distinctly and intentionally designed to fracture our families and communities. Meant to fracture us so that we may be very easily controlled and manipulated.
What's going on right now with the gun "debate," which really shouldn't even be a debate at all, is a great example of how we've swallowed the capitalist message wholesale, without reading the ingredients: FEAR YOUR NEIGHBOR, FEAR THE OTHER, MONEY IS YOUR GOD, ACT AND SPEAK BUT DON'T THINK TOO HARD.
These powerful forces - the few with money - do not want you to talk to each other about what's going on with you, how you're questioning everything. They want you to stew, isolated, and continue to image craft a happy public/online persona that aligns with what they're selling you. They want you to get hooked on pills so you keep funneling money to drug companies. They want you to get obese so that you will feed the medical machine. They want you to commit crimes so that you will feed the prison industrial complex. They want you to be isolated and unhappy so that you will feed the narrative that your neighbor should be feared and retaliated against. That's why so many of us do these things. Because we are told to do them - subtly, not explicitly. But the message is there and it's strong.
But I wish you would all just talk to each other about it. There's so much ego in music, and that's unfortunate because I think there could be so much value in just coming clean with each other. It's nice that you're talking to me about it, but I don't make music, and I'm not your peer. Your peers are, generally, men. And I get that you've been taught to seek out women to do the emotional work of being a human for you, but that's not our job. You need to start talking to EACH OTHER.
Again, it all comes back to community. And again, I have to ask you all to lay down your ego and start getting goddam real with each other, because I can't help you. You won't listen to me, I'm not in it. You have to see it first hand to believe it, you have to connect with people going through the same thing to understand that it's OK. Quite simply: get over yourself, already?
For real. Getting the fuck over yourself is the only way to get the fuck over yourself. And you can take THAT to the sketchy overseas bank that houses the Koch brothers' bajillions of dollars.
Friday March 2
Cyril Neville, percussionist, singer, the youngest of the Neville Brothers and - let’s face it - the Zeppo of the group (accomplished, but not even a little bit crucial to the Neville name as far as famousness or general interest) is headlining the Go Big For Hunger thing at PHOME with The Fogcutters. Andrew Bailie and The Noonday Crawlers are also there and Cyril plays with all three bands. You know that phrase ‘all hat no cattle?’ This guy is like, all cattle no hat. All the chops, none of the fanfare. Go be a hippie for a minute.
It’s First Friday, so swoonworthy-if-short-in-stature DJ/producer 32French is at the Thirsty Pig.
This is fun, SOJA, who are a former PR client of mine from back in the day (2006, YIKES) when they were but a wee reggae band, are at the State Theatre, all big and tough now. Nahko and Medicine for the People are with them. I should have beef with this band, but I don’t because they’ve been just crushing it for so fucking long. You can’t be living a lie and go through the bullshit these guys have been through to get to the State Theatre. I mean, you can, but not with this kind of jammy reggae bullshit.
The Strangely Possibles are at OLS. Brian Boru has some kind of dance night called “Remix Night” like that says anything at all about what you’ll encounter if you go there. Oxbow has yer Farmhouse Fridays dance jamz. Flask has LOVE.
Big Wild, Daktyl and White Cliffs are at PCMH. The O’Harrows are at Bull Feeney’s. Someone needs to teach those guys how to make a fucking fb event properly. Darlin’ Corey, Okbari and The Evan King group are at Blue.
Feral is at Geno’s. I suggest you go see this band, they are the ICE LORDS of Portland, and also their main lady is a real MAINE LADY and she’s cold blue ice and a scream of a scream and I think that will be A Fun thing™. You just don’t get too many of these nordic metal bands in Portland that do it right.
Saturday March 3
A nice little intimate house show is happening at Last Church on the Left, with Scott Ainslie. This one is for the silver fox set.
Wait, Harbor Lights and Cape Cannons are at Geno’s. Glad to see Dustin back on his feet. Arta'sin, Dirty Rotten Winter, Port City Saints, Second Sight and Conscious Cadaver are at Live at 212, and I read that band name as “Dirty Rotten Wiener” which I honestly think is a better band name, SORRY GUYS.