What is your Music Festival Focus?

Music festivals are now the major high-point of the summer and the really big name festivals can sell out before a band is announced. Yes, Glastonbury, T in the Park and the Reading  / Leeds festivals have such a draw that they can sell every ticket to an audience who doesn’t have a clue what the final line-up will be. Some festivals even manage to sell over one third of their overall capacity a year in advance through early bird sales.

Glastonbury

Which begs a couple of questions: Are music festival fans so confident of getting a good line up that buy tickets anyway or is the event more important than the bands?

There is a formula to music festivals

It is fair to say that music festivals can be formulaic. Glastonbury will have a few golden oldies or surprise stars on Sunday but the main headliners on Friday and Saturday will be huge. T in the Park plays it extremely safe with their Main Stage and Reading still clings to the idea that it is slightly rockier than most festivals.

All of these traits allow festival goers to make their mind up about going to a festival, regardless of the actual bands that are on. This is because they know roughly what type of bands will be playing and it is likely they will appeal to them anyway.

Of course, a strong argument can be made that many music festival fans do not care about the finer details of the line-up. A music festival is a chance to get away with friends and party over an increasingly longer weekend. Many festival goers spend more time in the campsite or by beer tents than they do watching bands.

A Festival - An opportunity to see great bands and party!

Enjoy yourself how you want

The festival gives them a license to enjoy themselves and have a great time. There is nothing wrong with that but if they are only looking for a good time with friends, surely it could be achieved for a cheaper price than what it costs to attend a music festival.

In saying that, there are people who can spend all day running between stage and tent and back again to maximise the amount of bands they want to see. They may miss out on a lot of drunken moments in the campsite but they will have memories of the bands playing. It is not as if one way is better than the other and once you pay your money, you can enjoy the festival however you like but you just wonder if there is some cool attachment about attending a festival.

There is a cool factor to attending a festival

Going to a music festival has become one of the major things to do in a summer and it can feel at times that if you don’t attend one then you are missing out. This may make some fans feel a little bit snobbish but there is no reason for the “real” music fans to be upset by these people who are out to have fun and will perhaps catch one or two bands by accidents. All the festival ticket money helps to pay for all the bands playing at a music festival, so the fact that festivals can keep on attracting huge crowds will help festivals keep on bringing the bands you want to see. So there you go, however you enjoy music festivals, everyone’s a winner!

There is Nothing Wrong with Posh Pop and Rock

The BBC in the UK are trying to stir up a bit of music debate about the current state of music and how it all seems so posh. This is due to the amount of artists that were taught in private schools or stage schools with the list including Lily Allen, Eliza Doolittle, Florence Welch and Chris Martin from Coldplay.

Chris Martin - Coldplay

Is this really that big an issue as surely the only criteria that matters is good or bad when it comes to music and as music is subjective, so the answer will be different for everyone. And similarly, the definition that you have of posh is not likely to be the same as another person’s.

Eliza Doolittle

The only thing that people will agree upon about posh music is that Victoria Beckham should never be allowed on stage or in a studio ever again!

Now the obvious joke is out of the way, it is possible to look back through the history of music and see how true these claims really are.

Blues and country are music of the people

The origins of many of the best musical genres can be found in country music or the blues and both of these genres were very much the sound of the slaves or the working classes. Posh and refined people of the time had a taste for classical music but the raw sound of working men and women found its way into these amazing musical genres.

As the years went by, the 1960s hit and looking back, most people equate this decade to the hippies and the flower power movement. In reality, this was only a small part of the 60s and a lot of great music was made by people from backgrounds that wouldn’t have been classed as working class.

One of the reasons why the Rolling Stones managed to get that blues sound down to a tee was because Mick Jagger and his family were well off enough to get a constant shipment of genuine American blues records. There may have been some rough and ready boys in the Stones but they could point to a proper education. Even listening to Jagger or Charlie Watts now indicates that this is a band that never came from working class roots.

Rich boys can rock too

One of the biggest movers in the country-rock genre and a big friend of the Rolling Stones was Gram Parsons, who came from a lot of money. Gram was the original rich boy playing rock but it didn’t dilute his musical message in any way shape or form.

Gram Parsons

You can throw in Pink Floyd and Roxy Music to the mix of bands that had a good schooling behind them and they were hardly on the breadline when they were developing their skills. Great music can come from desperation and poverty, with Black Sabbath being a prime example but great music can come from other areas as well.

There is a greater desire to know about an artist these days

Part of the reason for this focus now is that it is possible to know so much more about an artist and learn about their history. Back in the 70s, it was almost plausible to believe that Ziggy Stardust did come from Mars but that wouldn’t happen nowadays. Pictures of Ziggy’s childhood growing up as dull old David Jones would be on every internet page and glossy magazine before you could get to the chorus in his first single!

Maybe pop and rock music is becoming more posh but even if it is, so what? If you like it, you like it and if you don’t, you don’t. There is more than enough good music to focus on without worrying whether you should like an artist because of their background.

Rock n’ roll? More like Horlicks n’ roll!

If you are in a band, you probably spend a lot of time putting together your songs in the hope that the right tune or chord progression could be the thing that sends your act into the big time. From the first version of the song originating in your bedroom to the version that gets re-written in the studio, how long do you spend on average pulling a track together?

However long it is, you are spending far too much time on it! If you want to be the best song-writer, you would be advised to take the advice of the best song-writers and regardless of your opinion on the man or his music; it is hard to argue against the output of Sir Paul McCartney.

Would you listen to a song called Scrambled Eggs?

If you listened to Paul McCartney, ‘Yesterday’ came to him in a dream and the first thing he did that morning was to write down the melody and some lyrics before he forgot the song. The first draft of the song contained the lyrics “scrambled eggs, oh baby I love your legs” so it didn’t come out fully formed but the genesis of a good song was there.

Of course, Paul McCartney understands the benefits of a good story and who is to say that this song was genuinely a gift from Macca’s subconscious? It may have been something that McCartney had worked on before or perhaps he unknowingly borrowed it from somewhere else.

Keith got some sleep and some satisfaction!

The same sort story was offered by Keith Richards when asked to describe how the world-famous riff of ‘Satisfaction’ came to him. Many guitarists have spent a lifetime failing to come up with something that memorable and yet if you believe Richards, he awoke and had the riff rolling around his head. We won’t speculate on the general condition that Richards would wake up in during the 1960s but on this morning (or afternoon or early evening), he penned one of the greatest guitar lines of all time.

Of course, there are not too many people like Paul McCartney or Keith Richards. The Beatles and The Rolling Stones stand above all other acts but perhaps there is something about relaxing and letting the music come to you. Writers block is a terrible thing when you are trying to be creative but becoming anxious about it only manages to make it worse. If you are in the recording studio and the clock is ticking, you need to have something to work on and that’s when trouble begins.

If you are struggling to write the big hit that will propel your band into the big time perhaps you are spending too much time living up to the ideals of rock n roll. Too many late nights partying will ensure you have very little sleep and what you get is poor quality. Why don’t you take the advice of McCartney and Richards, pour yourself a nice big mug of Horlicks and settle down for an early night and let some new songs come to you!

Rock & roll? More like Horlicks and roll.

A Little Windy In Indie?

Indie music can be destroyed before it is truly taken serious. This is a statement that is truer than people give credit. The more great Indie singers that come out it seems the more copy cats seem to tag along on their coat tails as well.

Indie music has grown from an underground music scene to a more accepted mainstream music genre. With the popularity growing in such bands as Modest Mouse or The White Stripes, you begin to see bands coming out, that tarnish the true meaning of being an Indie band by just copying these other bands styles. This is destroying a genre by wrecking their own ability to be creative in their own music styles.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8vPT4Eb5Sg

This entitles fans to begin to question the whole genre in a whole. Who can you consider a true Indie singer or song writer? Do they have to be unusual or unheard of? Do they need to copy another Indie singer’s style or sound? A good way of determining if a band is a high quality Indie band, is to just listen for a personal and creative sound that isn‘t a carbon copy of previous bands. Bands like Modest Mouse have been able to distinguish their band from others with their own songs that can be recognized easily. Other bands such as Death Cab for Cutie and Metric have also been able to do so with making their unique sounds a staple for their image. Many bands entering this area of music have troubles doing this with the Indie scene beginning to become mainstream music.

Death Cab for Cutie

Death Cab for Cutie

With Indie coming to be a more respected and more popular genre, you see bands coming up that like to tag along onto the success of these other great bands sounds. This begins to destroy this genre’s reputation before it can begin to be seriously taken as a credible genre. All an Indie fan asks of any band is to respect the music population. Don’t take away what the great starters of this genre have worked so hard to create. Fans are not against Indie going into mainstream music, but would like to see the genre begin to form back to where it began from.

Rock and Roll. Where are You?

The good old days when AC/DC and The Rolling Stones were making music were time that changed the world of music. To this day people are using these artists as their guidelines to making rock music. There’s no one in this generation you can even compare to some of these great artists and we all wish we could find someone who could follow such rock royalty.

AC/DC - Part of Rock Royalty?

Lets Rock and Roll all day and party all night, but it seems you have been waiting a long time for music to do just that. What used to be called Rock is now considered Classic Rock. It’s sad to say that any current rock that is around today, you have to look at bands like Nickelback or Creed. No offense to any fans out there who believe that these two bands can compare to any of the good old names of such bands like AC/DC, Rolling Stones, The Beatles or Jimi Hendrix. But they can’t. It’s great to look back at these bands and see the greatness they created, but at the same time it’s sad to see that no one in my generation is creating anything close to this rock nature.

Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix

Now it may sound like complaining that there is no good rock music coming out at all. This is not true at all, it would just be nice to see a band step up and set that bar for the next generation like these bands did before them. Instead of hiding behind the fame and creating satisfactory rock. If you truly disagree and want to make a case that there is a single band or artist out there that can dare take on the great Jimi Hendrix or The Beatles. Please enlighten the world, because the world is in the need of enlightening on some Rock that has been missing for to long.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s10K8XkFCaE

Any sort of  an audience or fans of any sort of rock; Punk, Head Bangers and even Soft Rock, to show us a reason to follow you. Give us a reason to belong in a musical generation to admire that even our kids can look at and be inspired. Don’t let the Rock and Roll era end, let’s bring back something that was part of the American culture and show the kids and rock fans today how to truly make music great.

At One Point Red Hot Chili Peppers Were Red Hot…. Right?

The great Red Hot Chili Peppers have been around for a couple decades now and have recently been seen as one of the greater bands of our generation. The problem is that the greatest of their works were created when most people weren’t listening to them. So why are they so Red Hot now?

Red Hot Chilli Peppers

You can call the Red Hot Chili Peppers one of the greatest bands to have ever existed, but many cannot name any songs that came before Californication. Which is an upsetting fact because a lot of Red Hot Chili Peppers best work came before they were really commercialized? Not to take away from any of their recent musical projects, they have in a whole been great from beginning to end. There are just too many people out there who call themselves Red Hot Chili Pepper fans but they can’t name a song off of their album Mother’s Milk. Which is one of the greatest CD’s they have ever created.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gs2o5T7oN8

Red Hot Chilli Peppers - Mother's Milk

One of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers Best Albums?

Their true unique nature was shown in their earlier works with their ability to truly not really give a crap what anyone thought of them. That is pretty much what caught everyone’s attention to begin with. They would show up to concerts with nothing but a sock covering their junk to perform or show up with giant flamethrowers on their heads at their showings. Now that they have become a more recognizable band, they have lost some of that edginess they first came onto the scene with. Which you could say is expected; they matured with their music as some would argue. Yeah they did and they should be applauded for that. It just needs to be pointed out their early tracks they created like Suck My Kiss and The Power of Equality were some of their greatest works. It was during this time that the Red Hot Chili Peppers were truly Red Hot. Making songs for the fun and excitement of it all and doing it in a real rock and roll fashion. A marking for a great band is always where they started and the Chili Peppers started Red Hot earning their name and their way into the mainstream of today. If you consider yourself a true Red Hot Chili Peppers fan, you should not only look into all of their past records but also pick up Anthony Kiedis’s book Scar Tissue, to get a more in depth look into their music and background as a band.

Has Devandra Banhart Left The Underground?

Devandra Banhart has so many original and powerful tracks but not many people know who he is. It’s surprising that someone with so much talent and great works of art is not recognized for his work as he should be. Devandra Banhart is by far one of the greatest artists of our time and so little people know or have even heard his name before.

Devendra Banhart

Devandra Banhart can be said to be one of the most original artists in music to date. He has produced many tracks that only few have really heard. When my generation speaks of good music I hear Lil Wayne and Lady Gaga over and over again. But when an actual artist like Devandra comes along with great songs like Little Yellow Spider, and doesn’t receive any credit for his works it gets upsetting. To argue that he doesn’t spark your imagination just listening to his thoughtful and sometimes goofy lyrics is a battle you will lose. His songs are creative and unique that can be related too in many different ways. Some may read into his lyrics one way and others a different way. No matter which way you read into them you agree they are great lyrics in their own manner.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhW7FLo6peU

Doubt that Devandra is really looking to become a mainstream singer or become super famous from his musical works, which just adds to his originality when it comes to his music. He may like to stay underground for you could really argue that the true lovers of music are the ones who dig deep enough in music to find the underground music. So even if he is left to be an unknown artist, you should believe he should be the one of the most credited unknown artist there is. In the long run he is sure he will begin known in people’s minds when people speak of great singer/songwriters. Although, you wish he could receive the credit he deserves it may be better for him to stay right where he is. To not only keep him separated from other artists but to allow him to keep his unique style and creative mind set, un-tampered from any of the mainstream business he may be dragged into. For any other Devandra Banhart fan you will feel the same when said, that sometimes the greatest of artists need to be left to their own genre. Not cast into another one where they don’t fit or get the recognition they deserve. We can only thank him for his music and wish him well and to hopefully continue upon his path of creativity.

A Little Classical Never Hurts

Classical music gets a bad reputation as being for rich or geeky people. Really it is one of the most difficult and most beautiful genres of music ever to be created. The works of Beethoven to current works of artists like Danny Wright are all pieces that any one person who listened too them, couldn’t disagree there is nothing but beauty in the writing and playing.

Ludwig Van Beethoven

Most people consider Classical music to be boring or for anyone who is over the age of 60. If you were to listen to four different pieces created and played by the great Beethoven, you would erase that image from your mind. Every Classical music piece has a story to it that the artist shares with you. Not with words, but with instruments and sounds that can range from a solo pianist to a symphony or orchestra. A talent that can only be achieved with utter greatness upon ones instrument can you really hear the story and feelings in a song. Classical gives you all of this in one genre that will not blow your mind but blast it to another universe of music.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4IRMYuE1hI

The beginnings of all music can be translated to have some kind of relation back to Classical. From the notes or rhythms in the songs, or even the melody or inspiration a song might bring to a fellow artist. The younger generations have already taken Classical music and stomped on it repeatedly, saying it doesn’t have any flavor or excitement. Although, agreeing there are some pieces of Classical music that can lull you to sleep. You have to understand these composers and artists are creating all this music simply from their own talents and an instrument. Not a fancy recording device or sound amplifier. It’s just a person with their feelings and thoughts being played out on an instrument.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Classical is great to listen to but not trying to convince anyone to become a hardcore fan. A little Classical music would never hurt anyone, in fact it’s proven in tests to improve a persons IQ simply from just listening. There is no doubt that someone who truly gives Classical a chance will not be disappointed to find a new genre to indulge in. So not only asking you, but promising you to give Classical a chance to be heard and you will broaden your musical horizons to another level. If interested check out the different works of Beethoven or Mozart. Any of their musical pieces will show you a new world of musical feelings and thoughts to deal with. Another great example is Cannon in D Composed by Johann Pachelbel.

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