Spin at Bonnaroo
I almost never write reactive pieces, but I gotta do this.
I got frustrated with them a couple weeks ago when they said Black Lips and The Selmanaires are Athens bands. No, they're not. I chalked it up to confusion when their writer incorrectly reported songs White Stripes played at Bonnaroo. But further reading has me even more befuddled.
According to the writers at Spin, it seems every performance at Bonnaroo was the bestest thing ever. Are they incapable of objectivity or decent music criticism? I know I'm only an amateur at such things, and claim nothing more. I'm a social scientist who maintains this goofy blog on the side. I realize that I can fall into fanboy mode when discussing some bands, an affliction that is admittedly far too common among we music bloggers. But really, shouldn't professional music writers be capable of leveling criticism at some band at a four-day festival? I didn't follow their Coachella or SXSW reporting, so I have no idea if this has been a persistent issue. Did they just assign writers to cover artists whose posters are tacked to the ceiling above their beds? I suppose not, or the fact-checking would have been better.
You can read a selection of Spin's reporting from Bonnaroo on their site.
On The Police:
...the fact the Police, a group of three strong-headed individuals who vowed never to regroup after their 1986 breakup, was on stage, in the middle of farmland Tennessee, was simply enough. Hands down my favorite gig at Bonnaroo. Say what you will about reunions. This one ruled.
A band showing up is not enough. And although it was good, I can't imagine saying that set "ruled." They played a nice set with some pretty hit-or-miss improvisation and production values well below those of the other headliners. I'd put it in the top one-third of shows I saw at Bonnaroo, but that's about it.
...shrieking album-worthy recreations of classic tunes such as "Ænema" and "Stinkfist" as well as new tunes [emphasis added - Rich] like "Lateralus," "Schism," and a handful from the band's latest record, 2006's 10,000 Days.
Um, "Lateralus" and "Schism" were released in May 2001. You know how I know that? I've had that CD since its release, and I just spent five seconds on Google. "New"? No.
The band, taking the main stage amidst a ravenous, packed audience...
Patently false. One of the more sedate crowds I saw at the festival, and definitely the smallest at the main stage. Not sure what the author saw from his "backstage perch" but that wasn't it.
On Sam Roberts Band:
Perhaps best of all, it was clear that the band was having just as much, if not more, fun than anyone. As the set closed with the ten minute epic "Mind Flood, " it was apparent that we had all just witnessed an indisputably Bonnaroo worthy performance.
Unbelievable. Least original or interesting band I saw all weekend. I'd agree the band was having more fun than I was, absolutely. The "indisputable" claim is absolute hogwash. I teach my students not to use such absolutes in their writing; you'd think professional scribes would know better.
I know it's easy to pick on Spin and their ilk, so I won't dwell on this any further. But really, what a horrid excuse for music journalism. By the way, starting an article by bragging about your level of access and love for your subject doesn't really add much.