The Tumblr site dedicated to documenting all of the “disappointed” Brand New fans from their recent The Devil and God is Raging Inside Me and Daisy New York album shows is maddening. It showcases the worst of the this entitled selfishness that I have felt festering in our music world over the past couple of years. There’s a tendency to over inflate the problem when it’s so easily noticeable in today’s world of social networking — and reading through some of the comments leaves me trying to laugh it off instead of focus on the sad reality. If I can try and find the humor in the absurdity it gets less obnoxious. I’ve been trying to collect my thoughts on the entire thing for the past few days.
I am not one of those people that thinks having our phones with us has ruined social events. I like the idea that if I’m at a show I can snap a couple pictures and remember the night. Hell, I’ll even toss out a couple tweets during shows every now and then. My thought process is more about documenting the event and what has taken place vs living the event through my phone. It’s when everything about a night is projected through your iPhone lens that I feel you’re living a distorted reality. There’s a fine line between documentation and remembrance, and spending the entire night looking at a screen. It’s a little like going to a sporting event and watching the game on the jumbo-tron even though the real thing is right in front of you.
Augment — don’t replace.
The night you’re not checking your phone every few minutes will feel different from any other night. Those nights will resonate with you longer. You’ll feel more connected and involved — present. The “fear of missing out” bug has caught us all. We spend so many wasted minutes wanting to make sure we’re not missing something that’s going on without us. But here’s the secret: Everyone wanted to be at that Brand New show. You’re the one that everyone else is jealous of because you’re living it. I feel as though we should try and live our lives as though others are missing out on what we’re doing right now, not as though we’re missing out on everything else.
The most depressing part about the entire thing is reading people talk about how Brand New let them down because they did exactly what they said they’d do: play two of their albums at a show. If you’re buying one of these tickets — you know going in you’re going to get to see two albums. If you, for any reason, didn’t want to see a certain album … then you shouldn’t have bought a ticket. These shows weren’t for you. Chanting a different album while the band is performing is a whole new level of disrespect — it’s almost mind numbingly stupid to think about.
If you’re the band … isn’t there a part of you that’s like “fuck this?” … isn’t there at least a little part of you that’s tired of this sort of thing? I know Brian Fallon has written about it before, and I can absolutely see where he’s coming from. Brand New is in a spot where they can’t win. At times I feel like reason and logic goes out the window when this band is discussed. I’m surprised Jesse addressed the incident the next night — but aren’t you, as a fan, a little bit ashamed that he had to?
I find something new to love about this album each time I listen to it. If you’re still pining for Your Favorite Weapon — you don’t get Brand New. I can even understand not liking this particular album and being a fan of the band’s previous two; however, seeing some of the songs live does take it to a whole new level. Even if you don’t like the album — if you bought tickets to these shows appreciate seeing a once in a lifetime performance and maybe even just try going into the experience with an open mind. I mean … or throw a temper-tantrum like a petulant child.
At the end of all this nonsense is one simple question: Isn’t music and our scene supposed to be above this? The community and the love and passion that fans have for the bands in this (relatively) tiny part of the music world is supposed to be above this kind of thing, right? What happened to that community? What happened to respecting the musicians when they’re performing for you? When did it become all about the guy in the crowd with his twitter and not the band on the stage? We’re here to watch, to be entertained, to get lost in the music — we’re the fan — we’re not more important than the musicians. It feels like somewhere along the moment where everyone started downloading music for free that we lost track of our own role and place in the entire food-chain. It became all about “me me me” and “I made you because I listen to you” — the balance feels like it shifted when music became almost interchangeable and instantly disposable. Now fans feel like they were doing a band a favor by listening to them at all.
Can we go back?