March 15, 2010

So long, Suckers

"Staying power" is this indefinable it-factor that keeps an artist from being just a sideshow at SXSW--not a bad thing, but temporary. Yet, what does it take to even get a band on the bill?

Shows like the one attended Friday night at the Black Cat cause me to pose such a ponderance. The artists in question had built a buzz about them, including separate stints at the aforementioned music festival, but the Suckers show sucked. It wasn't the main act, but the odd mix of odious openers and empty venue that made this show a flop.

For example, how did opener Michael Benjamin Anthony Robinson become a "Band to Watch" in 2008? Do people feel required to like music by likable musicians? Or perhaps, his college try went further with his freshman release? Or, how does Shilpa Ray garner so much attention with such formulaic flair? And, how does a band that even passes NPR/Rolling Stone's lips get saddled with such second-rate support?

Despite the low score, I appreciate how the show raised questions in my mind about the nature of success and artist discovery. It also made me think about an awesome The Ethicist article about hating the artist and liking the art (but in reverse--liking the artist, not the art).

[editor's note, apologetic, sheepish--I realize the reference to "old man's money" for a formerly homeless musician is probably tasteless, but I didn't find that out until after I reviewed the show.  It's supposed to be a reference to a rough Hall and Oates cover].

1 comment:

  1. I really don't know how much the headliner should be dinged for bad opening acts. Regardless, this show was definitely bad. I don't know if it was the weather, road-weariness, or illness that caused the awkward performances, but I was not impressed by anything. I may try and catch the Suckers when they come back through (Sold out R&R Hotel w/ the Local Natives on May 5th) to give them a fair shake.