“Ian McKaye never meant anything to me” – Scream Club, J. Richman and more ranting

“Ian McKaye never meant anything to me”
Los Campesinos!, The International Tweexcore Underground
I love this song, watch it here.

We, the Ladyfest nbg posse, were sure that at least 40 people would turn up for this show. That didn’t happen. So the Ladyfest grrls are in debts again. Donations welcome, just get in touch. It’s frustrating.
Due to trains being down in France and Germany Scream Club were lucky to find two french girls to drive them from Lyon to Nuremberg by car on that day but still arrived a bit late. Martina djed before the show but there weren’t enough people to get anybody starting to dance. Scream Club were fun. Their show is so nicely balanced between trash and irony and being seriously good. Great costumes, trashy electro hiphop music, lyrics ranging from queer parties/love/politics. Somehow these two girls manage to sooth all the worries away for a little while and make you believe in the good of life again. You can find some more pictures of the show on www.evemassacre.org in the pictures section.

I’m such a shitty photographer that although I took at least 15 snaps this is the only halfway recognisable picture I took of Jonathan Richman. He played at the K4 last Monday. Him and his drummer, Tommy Larkins. Since we have the smoking ban at the K4 I can judge the quality of a show by how long it captures my attention before the urge to go for a smoke wins. Mr. Richman got me for almost an hour which is pretty long. He didn’t play the greatest hit after greatest hit set and didn’t tell stories between the songs which I somehow had expected him to. Instead he played very free, stumbling artistically from one song into another and back, from time to time twirling his guitar with a charmingly boyish smile. An hour after he had ended he came back onto stage to play some more because some guest had talked him into it. Our soundguy had already put away the monitors and the mics and all so Mr. Richman simply played a totally acoustic set. How nice.

* _ *

On with the ranting. I said that I hate to hear people say “I never would pay more than 5 or 8 Euro for a show”. I think that this spirit is killing a certain type of underground culture. Shows have to become a little more expensive, it’s just a logical step as everything else has gotten more expensive too. Touring vans need gas, bands need to eat, and I even think it shouldn’t just be about the expenses they have on tour: Just cause I’ve decided to get little to no money for putting up a show doesn’t mean that I should automatically expect artists to be touring in their spare time and be happy with expenses or less. Of course I’m against paying unrealistically high guarantee fees but there are dedicated artists out there for whom I happily contribute a little money so they have the freedom to spend more time working on their awesome music instead of having to get the third badly paid shitjob to stay alive. I’m willing to contribute to this up to a certain level cause I think music is precious. D.I.Y. punk ethics often make me feel as if they accept music only as a vehicle for messages or for an entertainment factor that helps keeping a community together. That’s not enough for me. ‘More than music’ doesn’t have to mean you care about ‘anything but the musician’.
Of course creativity can’t really be measured in money and it would be cool if music wasn’t turned into a commodity but as we live in a society in which survival is based on money it’s only fair to pay more than plain cost coverage for music. I don’t feel good when I can’t give a band more than their expenses. It feels wrong. It feels like I don’t appreciate what they do while I know that music is one of my basic needs in life. And I don’t want this money to come from sponsors. I want this money to come from people paying for it because they appreciate and want it just as commonly as they pay for their drinks or for their cigarettes or for their sneakers or their gasoline. I like to believe that there still is a niche for putting up shows and celebrating parties that don’t follow mainstreaming rules of “how do I attract as many people as possible” but the rules of attraction by creativity or arty excellence or simple silly ideas.
I hate the ever increasing role of money. I’ve always been ready for compromises and never had the illusion that a real d.i.y. island outside of capitalist structures could work autonomously but these days the gap between commercial indie culture and d.i.y. punk ethics seems to grow bigger and bigger and the web of careful fair compromises I’ve always tried to spin across that gap seems more fragile than ever. No, wait, that’s wrong. A gap would suggest some kind of dualism, an either/or. That dualism is what is no longer there. The smallest d.i.y. promoter uses the same means as the biggest concert hall in town. The least known band gets a booking agency and joins the GEMA/ASCAP/BMIetc while it still plays the smalles d.i.y places. The biggest booking agencies makes fair percentage deals. There is no either/or anymore. Everything is so intertwined that it’s getting more and more complicated to make decisions that you yourself can tag as ‘fair’.
It’s crazy how much the whole booking and live music industry has grown since I’ve started playing my tiny part in putting up shows. It’s such an overdose of bands out there, most of them epigonic and exchangeable and boring but as long as people are satisfied with that instead of taking the ‘hit or miss’ risk to pay for a show of a band that they don’t know what to expect from cause they’ve not been written about to death by nme or pitchfork or intro this part of the scene will grow and grow and might suffocate those few bands that try a different approach, those few bands that still are in it for an existential urge to create music and not for the hope of becoming the next big thing.

Ha, pathos is my middle name, isn’t it? I know this rant doesn’t go anywhere useful but it feels good to get some thoughts off my chest. It would be nice to hear other people’s thoughts about it too.
Oh, and before I forget about it, let me share a part of an interview with Achim Bergman, the guy behind the Trikont label, that was on Telepolis yesterday, read it here. This year Trikont has become 33 years and it always has been the niche label par excellence, and has released truly awesome compilations with no subject being too odd for them. It’s an interesting article and among many other things it has Bergman complaining about an omnipresent neutralisation of subjectivity and instead the rise of the reduction of meaning to a relationship of capital. It’s a readworthy article, I think. Happy birthday, Trikont.

One thought on ““Ian McKaye never meant anything to me” – Scream Club, J. Richman and more ranting

  1. you got Scream Club and not enough visitors was at the concert? huh

    we* try to book Scream Club, but it’s seems quite complicated and impossible… no contac, cancelled tour, unanswered mails by the agency….

    to your rant. I organized a couple of concerts in AZ Mülheim and none was more expensive than 5eur, most of them arround 3eur. Why? We has the luxus of a monthly party, and subsidize the concerts with the earnings of the parties. I agree with you, that a black/white thinking is not useful and the artist has more expenses and also need something to live and have while working on their music. but this could be one way, how the entrance fee is low and the artist got a fair salary. once i want pay 8eur for an world inferno/friendship society concert. It was a reflex, because normally the concerts in the az was not more then 5eur. this was so stupid, World Inferno is a great band from NYC and they are something around 8 people. big travel, big crew, the price was more then fair…


    * Svenja and Me, Genderterror, AZ Mülheim, Friends…

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