Hey, here’s a tip to those of you aspiring idiot musicians: Stop dropping names of other artists you “sound like” in your bio. Trust me when I say you’re full of shit and no matter how much you think you sound like Radiohead, no one else does. And what if you did, anyway? Do you think someone really wants to hear a Radiohead knock-off? Isn’t that what tribute bands are for? (Does anyone even want to hear the real Radiohead anymore?)
If you’re one of the six groups at NXNE whose bio contained a sounds-like Radiohead reference, I only hope your van got a flat tire on your way home. Ditto the six bands who listed the Clash and Wilco in their bio. (Now if you would have written, “We sound like the Clash except we suck,” that might have been cool. Or perhaps, “We sound like Wilco would if Jeff Tweedy wasn’t a total jackass.” Now that’s a bio!) To the six bands who said they sound like the Band, what the hell is wrong with you guys anyway? Martin Scorcese is not going to buy you large amounts of coke and film you on stage any time soon.
If you want to see the entire list of “we sound like artist X” mentions, you can see it after the jump…
Perhaps I could forgive this talentless duo from Dundee, Scotland, excepting that the sound they so blatantly rip off happens to be from Detroit. I’ll admit that I tend to get all defensive when poseurs from the other side of the globe ape great garage rockers from the D, especially when they do it badly.
Essentially a PG-rated version of the Demolition Doll Rods, the Leatherettes are all attitude with nothing to back it up. Not to mention no titties, no cock sock, and no Christine.
“Forged deep within Mount Doom in Mordor, Arise and Ruin shot towards the heavens like a heavy duty Twin Hemi engine from hell to save the souls and ears of the fallen.”
When I read that band bio in the NXNE program, I laughed out loud and nearly shot beer out of my nose. I just assumed these guys couldn’t be serious, but since there was absolutely nothing else going on at eight, why not check them out? As it turned out, Arise and Ruin were far from a joke. Indeed, these were the sorts of uber-serious dudes who bow at the altar of heavy metal, and their band will likely be chosen to represent Canada if synchronized headbanging ever makes it into the Olympics.
If you have a job in which you never have cause to attend a conference, consider yourself lucky. Conferences and trade shows are among the most idiotic constructs of corporate America, a rancid bouillabaisse of sales call, vacation, shopping, forced death march, and marital infidelity. And then when you get back to the cube, you still have to make up all the work you didn’t do while you were running up your expense account in some other city.
So why, I ask, are creative types like musicians and filmmakers — people who ostensibly chose their lot in life largely as a way to avoid shit like conferences — eager to have their own?
You’ve all no doubt heard about South By Southwest, Austin’s mega-music conference. So have I. But Austin is not within driving distance of Ann Arbor, and Toronto is. So I’m here at North By Northeast to try and figure out what exactly a music and film conference is and why anyone would want to travel halfway across the continent to hang out in a Holiday Inn.