In which we are disgusted by a band who are so bad it made FP angry
It’s often said that you shouldn’t criticise or decry art just because you don’t understand it. You shouldn’t put down music, or books, just because they’re not to your taste. Well, I’ve found, there’s a limit to that. For we have been to the worst gig ever, and have barely survived it.
We were given tickets to last night’s gig by the reformed My Bloody Valentine, at the Apollo in Manchester. “They’re a life-changing experience” said the chap who gave them to us. Unfortunately, he was right.
The support –
Sonic Boom Spectrum, Pete “Sonic Boom” Kember’s band* – was good, and interesting to hear; and the main act started off not too bad. It wasn’t really great, very badly mixed, but it was still listenable. I didn’t know any of the songs, but there were some good tunes somewhere in the depths of the mix; although I couldn’t tell if any of them were meant to be vocal or instrumental.
Towards the end of the gig, though, the band gave up on trying to play music. Instead, they blasted the audience as if it was a rioting crowd, with a barrage of white noise. Incredibly loud white noise. “Loud” doesn’t really describe it. Everyone was wearing earplugs, but everyone still had their hands tight over their ears. K was pressing herself against me, in pain, holding one ear to my chest and my hands over her other. And it continued.
I was expecting this to be brief. It was stupid and moronic, after all. There was no art to it, no creative input, no nothing. The band may as well not have been on the stage. But, no, it went on and on. People started walking to the exit, or discussing how bored they were by text message. I started wishing I’d brought a book and a torch. Anything would have been more interesting than standing around in a noise-filled space whilst a few people on the stage had an art-wank moment together. I started counting the people who were walking out – by now it was an appreciable proportion of the audience, and idly wondered where the circuit breakers were. Or if I could cadge a fag and a lighter – but how, with this noise? – and set off the fire alarms, if that would cut stage power. I wish I had done. Ten minutes, and it was still going on, the same as it had been to start with, no change to it, no modulation, just noise. I should have walked out. I should have walked out already. I wish I had done.
It took twenty minutes for the band finally to evaporate their remaining credibility and give up, by which time about a third of the audience had left. Twenty minutes of white noise. Twenty minutes of dangerous-to-health white noise: nearly 24 hours later I still can’t hear properly. My Bloody Valentine disgust me. They have squandered and wasted what little ability they had, in the pursuit of angering their audience. They’re not musicians, they’re brutal morons, and they deserve to end up infirm and insensible. Their audience, who are the ones with the hearing loss, don’t. My Bloody Valentine would be the worst band in the world, if you could describe them as musicians. This truly was the worst gig I’ve ever been to, and it really didn’t deserve to be staged. If the band had never reformed, the world today would be a nicer and more creative place.
* Thank you to the person who wrote in to correct me there. I wasn’t entirely sure who the support was at the time, but the chap who gave us the tickets had said it was going to be Sonic Boom.