“I largely prefer to listen to my records at home today.”
Just that. A draft of an old post I wrote back in 2011, who knows what else was going on in my mind. And in all fairness, it was more or less the same shit I would have written in 2001.
How exactly did I end up loathing going to venues and getting drunk with friends?
I’ll omit personal reasons and will try to stick to facts even though you might point out that something was definitely going on after the year 2000, which seems like such a distant year now. Can’t believe it’s been 22 years. But yeah, I remember talking to Timo back in 1999 and I just went through my deepest crisis in the sphere of music. I sometimes do what I call the Autopsy detox. Whenever I start to get tired of listening to new and old albums and everything appears to have lost its shine, I go through a long period, usually one month, during which I only listen to Autopsy records. At the time the band was still split up so we’re basically talking about the records between the demo tapes days up to Shitfun. It’s just something that recalibrates my slimy brain and reminds me why I still like this shitty form of music after so many years. Interestingly, it was more or less the time when my first record by Nefas was released under the name of Nuclear Abominations which at the time was only on paper.
And so the question lies in these terms, this is not the first time I have taken a break from the musical discussion. That is, in that case, the break was not only toward concerts but really from everything, including home listening. Such moments of rejection are rarer today partly because I have found a vague equilibrium in my approach to hobbies. Let’s not shout it too loudly.
So how did I end up getting tired of going to concerts? For a couple of years, I ran a record shop so I went to every single concert in Italy and several ones in Europe as well, and I definitely got my share of bullshit, but that can’t be the only reason. I got old too, but then there are people a lot older than me keeping the same enthusiasm.
There is also the economic factor, getting out of the house paying for highway, food, beer, gasoline, tickets, etc. must really be worth it, so basically you filter out all those mediocre concerts that are mostly an excuse to get out of the house. It’s one thing to go to the pub, it’s another to stay out ten hours and spend a hundred euros.
But beyond all of the above which is perhaps more immediate, there are equally hidden personal factors to weigh in. When I go to a concert, I like to focus, analyze and think about what I am looking at. Which I find particularly funny since the genres I follow more closely (you might be surprised but it’s not just Death and Grind) are not particularly deep or brainy. But that’s what I like to do, actually, go there and listen to a band and seriously ask myself if I am liking what I hear and see and why, or if it was worth the pain of all the time and resources wasted to get there. It is energy-consuming, a bit like a chore in some sense, which I force myself into doing for some stupid form of self masochism. I am not a fan of the metal crowd kind of easygoing circus, I would literally die at a gig like the Wacken. I fucking hate the nonsense fun, people in carnival dress, and all that tribal wanking. To me it’s a bit like really enjoying a good glass of wine, you can shove it down your throat or you can actually think about your perceptions. But with age comes some form of control and experience and now I can basically share my attention between a good talk and watching a band, even though I now need 60 seconds to understand if a band is shit and I can take half an hour off to drink in the parking lot.
That brings us back to the first statement. Listening to a record at home is the perfect situation when you can relax, think and focus on the record, not to mention listen to it with a much better sound. But at the end of the day going to a concert is a totally different experience. It’s a ritual. Especially in the broad family of music that this fanzine covers, where aesthetics and image are so important (and such they must be, it’s like going to the opera) seeing a live show is a complement to music and at the same time a ritual in itself. It’s also tiring, just like any kind of social experience. And not something for all seasons of life maybe. It’s also a risk, I definitely give a chance to every band but it is often a total defeat.
The music is alive, and it’s a two-way relationship. It sends back to you what you give it. Underestimate it, treat it like second-grade fun and it gives you back some cheap fun. I was probably in such a situation when I wrote that sentence, I was expecting something back without investing in it first.