Let me start by saying that I had a blast at this weekend’s edition of Boston Calling, the awesome music festival down on Boston’s City Hall Plaza. I (and a lot of fellow, like-minded music fans) got to see a ton of great bands, like Local Natives, Vampire Weekend, and Passion Pit over two days, and the people who put on the festival do an AMAZING job.
It’s too bad one of the bands who “performed” took the opportunity to shit on their fans and an opportunity to connect with the other people in the crowd. Then got all pissy when I voiced my displeasure on twitter.
I showed up early on Saturday, specifically for Deer Tick. I WAS a big fan of the band. Some great songs, and some very listenable albums are out there. They’ve got a new one dropping in a few weeks, appropriately called Negativity.
Well, they get up on stage, and the lead singer – who’s really the songwriter/impetus behind the whole band; a guy named John McCauley, from Providence – lackadaisically just mumbles into the microphone, quote “Uh… we’re just gonna play the new album front to back, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Oh. Well, fuck you too then, pal.
He proceeded to do as promised, and wasted an hour of festival exposure playing an album NO ONE HAS HEARD YET OR IS FAMILIAR WITH. It doesn’t come out for another 2 weeks – but I can tell you, after listening to this performance, it sucks and it needs a lot of work. It’s slow, and meandering, and BORING. Nothing like his uptempo stuff, and nowhere near as good of a record as War Elephant or even Divine Providence, which he totally should’ve played.
Look, everyone hates it when a band you paid to see plays new stuff at a concert (after all, we all wanna hear the hits), but it’s expected that if they have a new album out, you’re GOING to hear one or two songs from the new record. That’s understandable. But to play a FULL album full of ballads? At a festival? Where a ton of people aren’t familiar with you, and you have a chance to bring a TON of people onto your bandwagon if you rock some new faces out in that crowd? You don’t do it.
It was a dismal set, and when the nicest thing people can say about it was how it was “neat” you brought one-hit-wonder Vanessa Carlton on-stage with you for a song because you’re dating her, it’s a bad sign.
You play your good, fast, familiar stuff at a festival. That’s Music Promotion 101. You do stuff like Matt & Kim did during the first Boston Calling session back in May:
Which apparently this chump never took.
It becomes even more apparent when you see how he responded to me on Twitter. Let’s do a tweet-by-tweet account, shall we?
This is taken during their first song, and before he had addressed the crowd. I was still excited to see them at this point.
Yup, this is right after the third song, when I realized he wasn’t kidding about playing the new album.
I was really pissed I’d hurried down to see them. They were just lazily playing the songs, going through the motions, not interacting with the crowd, which had dwindled considerably by that point.
I think that’s the one that set whoever handles their Twitter off, because soon after:
Well, that’s very scenester douchebag of him, isn’t it? Not “Sorry you didn’t like it” or offering some sort of explanation or reasoning. He pretty much made a wanking motion at me through the internet. Turns out this guy has a history of doing stuff like this and might be a little sensitive when it comes to criticism. Sounds to me like someone’s got a MIGHTY big opinion of himself, don’t it? Oh, and it gets worse after I fired back.
… and let’s be clear: They are NOT a successful band. Yeah, you can sell out clubs in Providence. So could Buddy Cianci’s hairpiece. It’s not that hard. This guy has been getting a little bit of buzz from the Pitchfork crowd and all of a sudden he thinks he’s the fucking Rolling Stones. You’re not there pal, and with an attitude like this, you’ll NEVER get there. Maybe you say you want it that way, in typical hipster fashion. Fine. I hope I can help oblige.
Will do, bucko. Hope you enjoy being less relevant and successful than your has-been girlfriend.
Moral of this story: DON’T BE A DICK TO FANS. Or else you’ll end up with a career worse than Vanessa Carlton.