Sunday, October 3, 2021

Lutz City of Templemore (10.02.21)

Rocking for everyone hanging out at Templemore's pretty outdoor stage. Photo by Kat.

I'll tell you about my show at Templemore, but first let's talk about new music and the four reasons why you don't like it.

1. You Don't Like New Things
Actually, let's qualify that statement. You don't like new things unless they are very reminiscent of old things. Why? Because you're a human, and humans are averse to change. Change gives you feelings of discomfort, while familiarity brings contentment. There's nothing wrong with that. It's part of the survival instinct of a species, and on an overall basis, it's fully understandable. It's engraved into your DNA. When unexpected things occur, they are, more often than not, bad in some way. A meteor hitting the Earth; a diagnosis of a disease; a sudden closure of a place of business; a home that burns down; the end of a relationship. It is said that change -- even good change -- is one of the most common causes of stress among people. New music, especially entire new styles of music with which you are unfamiliar, is often dismissed purely based on the aspect of it being unfamiliar and, hence, bad.

2. You Associate Older Music with Better Times
Let's be real here. For a lot of people, the part of their lives that they consider to be the best was in their youth. Again, this is totally understandable. When you're young, you face few of the pressures and challenges that represent the rest of your life, and have yet to build up resentment toward the difficult and generally negative experiences that you associate with the responsibilities of adulthood. It's been proven many times that the majority of people consider the "best music" to be that which they listened to in high school, or perhaps college, in their late teens and early 20s. And then people live for some 60-70 more years and can never have the same appreciation for music as that which is attached to their youth.

3. The Cultural and Generational Divide
Ah... the big one. Let's start with the obvious point: if you can't easily relate to something, it's unlikely you'll enjoy it. What that means is that Elvis Presley was considered a dangerous thug, the Beatles were deemed screaming noise, hard rock was talentless cacophony, and so on by the people of the respective preceding generations. It also means that if an artist came from a background that was very different from your own, be that via nationality, race, economic status, or other consideration, you had a built-in excuse to prejudge their music. I know that the crossover for rap/hip hop from an underground music genre to the predominant pop style was a huge dividing point at the time, for this very reason.

In the worst case scenarios, new music is considered an actual threat to society. Now considered part of the cultural fabric of western civilization, the FBI opened files on the Beatles at the time. Parents expressed outrage about this music that was corrupting the youth of the world. There are many other examples of new music being considered subversive and dangerous through the years.

4. You're Not Hearing The Right Music
This is the most frustrating part. It's not easy to find the new music that you would like if you only had a steady source of exposure to it. The style of music you love might not be what is topping the charts and getting significant exposure via mainstream media. That doesn't mean that people aren't still making that music; it means you have to work to find it. Frankly, the people who don't consider music to be a big priority in their lives really don't want to make any actual effort to find it. I recently wrote an article about this exact topic, with plenty of tips on discovering music you might like.

Old Music: Still Here, Still Good
The big thing to keep in mind with all of this insane ranting I'm doing here: I love older music too. Music has been part of the human experience likely from times before we were even fully human. I love baroque music from the 1600s, classical music from the 1700s, and romantic music from the 1800s. I love blues from the 1930s/1940s, and free jazz from the 1950s/1960s. I love the great pop/rock artists from the '60s/'70s, and metal from the '70s/'80s. Grunge and alt-rock of the '90s. 

That music is here. It's immortal. It's not going anywhere. It stays around forever. Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B Minor came out in 1739. Its going to be around in 2739 and far beyond, assuming humans are still here to enjoy it. And here's the point: the act of discovering and enjoying new music takes nothing away from the great music that came before it. You can listen to a song from 2021 and then a song from 1966 and then a nice Gregorian chant written in 752 and really get different kinds of fulfillment from each of them. 

I Played Seven Songs That Came Out In The Past 12 Months, and Here They Are
Here's the thing; of the seven songs I did at my show on Saturday at Templemore that all were released in the past year, none of them were radically weird. In fact, all of them have certain elements that meant they could have come out at various times in the past 40-50 years. They're listed below in the order in which I performed them.

Swirl (Charlie Martin)

Hannah Sun (Lomelda)

El Invento (José González)

Seaside_Demo (Seb)

Box by the Cliff (They Stole My Crayon)

Bird of Paradise (Cory Hanson)

Garter Snake (Macie Stewart)

And Now, My Show
So now that we're done with all that pointless screaming into the void and embedding music that no one will likely listen to, I will tell you the things that actually pertain to my show on Saturday October 2 at Lutz City of Templemore in Second Life.

Templemore is, and always has been, the most visually impressive series of live music venues that Second Life has ever offered. I tried to go back and count the number of different stages I've played at Templemore in its many incarnations. There were too many. Each of them, in their own distinct way, is incredible not only in the detail of the design but in the actual artistic theme that pervades all of the Templemore builds. Credit to my friend, the artist Luis Lockjaw, for creating this world within a world.

No one can deny that Templemore has always been the artistic environment leader in all SL live music venues. Photo by Kat.

My own theme for this particular show -- which will kind of explain the paragraphs of babbling you read above -- was new music. Over half of the songs I did (those shown above) came out between late 2020 and up to September 2021. I'll tell you: I would have preferred to have a bigger crowd at a show where I was really excited to show off those tunes, and I had four songs in that set that I'd never played before.

People Are People
The fact is that like any music scene, the musical tastes of Second Life residents predominantly lean toward safe and familiar sounds. I don't begrudge any other performer for their choices in repertoire; I think that if people enjoy what they do, they are obviously serving the proper job of the entertainer, which is simply to entertain. From track singers to DJs to live artists who play older and much-beloved songs, they're not doing anything wrong at all. Like a microcosm of real life, where great indie music remains slightly hidden and underground, it's more difficult to get people out to shows for those artists who purposefully avoid playing the same thing over and over again.

Do I like performing for huge crowds? Yes, of course I do. But when I have a show that isn't well attended, it doesn't mean I can't still do my best work for whoever is there at the time. I always do, no matter what. Photo by Kat.

That having been said, I am super happy with how the show itself went. I was well prepared with the new material, and my voice and guitar and audio streaming were all behaving very well. I loved doing the new songs, all of which will be popping up again at future shows. As I said during the show itself, nothing makes me happier than those moments where I'll introduce a new artist/band or a whole new sound to my audience, and they go out and seek out the music to explore on their own.

In October 1981, I was in 8th grade and was really getting deep into music, and Ghost in the Machine was an album that was a big gateway drug for my lifelong love of new, cool sounds.

Quick tidbit: I'd realized that the day of this show was both the 70th birthday of Sting (holy shit!) and the 40th anniversary of the release of the album that initially made me a Police fan for life... Ghost in the Machine. I was compelled to add a song to my set as a result.

One last note on this show. I was followed by Joe Paravane, whom I'd never heard before, and I hung out for a good portion of his show. I thought he was both talented and really unique among the SL music performance scene, and had an interesting vocal style and was obviously a competent guitarist. Much like real life, I always appreciate the discovery of performers in SL who I personally enjoy, and I will definitely seek out other opportunities to hear Joe play.

Still masked in SL as in RL? Yup! Photo by Kat.

Templemore set list...
Swirl (Charlie Martin)
*Hannah Sun (Lomelda)
El Invento (José González)
*Seaside_demo (SEB)
Box by the Cliff (They Stole My Crayon)
Bird of Paradise (Cory Hanson)
*Garter Snake (Macie Stewart)
Polly (Nirvana)
Half Moon Bay (Sun Kil Moon)
Falling Down (Zak Claxton)
*God Only Knows (Beach Boys)
Spirits in the Material World (The Police)
Ziggy Stardust (David Bowie)

*Indicates the first time I've performed this song in SL.

Thanks so much to everyone who came out to the show, with special thanks to the following who helped support it!
Malice Marsault, Taj Nishi, Joe Paravane, LillyAnnSetner Resident, Kat Claxton, my manager Maali Beck, and Templemore's terrific owners Grace Sixpence and Luis Lockjaw, wonderful hostess Bee Blackrain, and GM Amaya Mavinelli! 

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