Friday, November 12, 2004

Chromeo vs No No Spots vs neon lights vs Georgia Straight

I wrote this in response to a review of the Chromeo/No No Spots show in Vancouver. My friend Adrienne is in the No No Spots, and took issue with what the reviewer (who is generally on the I-hate-it-all side of things) said. So did I...

Published in the Georgia Straight - November 18 2004


I have read a number of your reviews, and - occasionally - agreed with the sentiment but not the delivery. Adrienne, lead singer of the No No Spots, recently brought your Chromeo concert review to my attention, and we had a good long talk about the state of indie rock in this pretty city of rollerbladers and glass apartment boxes.

Your reviews typify the mindset which seems to pervade a very vocal, jaded minority of music listeners and concert goers here. It works something like this: Is it from Vancouver? Well it probably sucks. Do the "scenesters/hipsters/cool-kids" like it? Well then it definitely sucks. Is it obscure and almost unlistenable, sonically boring but full of artistic pretenses, or experimental to the point of being annoying? Well then it's probably great, and the rest of you kids just don't get it.

Now, I said a very vocal minority, because the voice of dissent-towards-the-locals is well heard around this city. Read between the lines of your name dropping and genre checking, and you can sense a palpable distaste for those of us who aim to build a scene - a sub-culture maybe - that revolves around a like-minded view of art, music and style.

When I left Toronto ten years ago, to come to Vancouver, one of the reasons was because of the lack of local support and sense of community in the indie scene over there. It was fragmented and non-existent in the post-rave comedown. Now I find myself leaving Vancouver to return to Toronto for similar reasons. Go there, and you will find a swell of support for the indie locals, and an attitude which doesn't take itself too seriously. We have none of that here, for the most part. What we have are a bunch of people who are too cool to enjoy themselves when it comes to hearing good - if derivative - music played by their peers in their own city (for the record, Elizabeth are a great band to watch).

No No Spots are well aware of their short-comings. But they do have hooks. And they do have a fanbase and a group of friends who will support them as they grow. It would be nice if those with a voice inthis city did the same. Chromeo are a novelty act; unfortunately, since one of them is hip-hop editor at Vice, they will probably spend quite a bit of time in the minds (if not the hearts) of that magazine's readership. That other band with the neon stuff... I went outside and stood in the rain for a while when they were playing. Some of my friends were out there making vaguely witty references to things which I laughed at, responded to, and had fun thinking about. Hopefully you didn't spend too much time sulking in a corner of the bar while the rest of us had fun.

Greg Ipp
No Format / Color Magazine / Terminal City