When it comes to passion, there are few people I am aware of that really feel that way about not only music, but the industry itself. AP.net staff member Adam Pfleider is one of those guys. If you could see the things that go on behind the scenes with his work effort and his genuine, unabashed enthusiasm for something most people consider a general interest, you'd find it hard to not be inspired. He truly cares. Read his blog here. Specifically, read his latest post detailing how the reunions of Refused and At the Drive-In are not the ideal scenario compared to the small, intimate club shows the bands played in before they either a) broke up or b) got too big for them.
I am extremely excited for these reunions even though there's a 99% possibility that I won't be able to see either of them because they won't play around my area. I'll be lucky enough that someone will record it and throw it on Youtube and, while I won't be there in person, I'll get what I want out of it: I want to see them do it because I never did. I can see where Adam's coming from, definitely. If it were Midtown, I argue that it would be diminished now because it won't mean what it would have a couple of years ago or if there was no Cobra Starship. (Did you see the teaser for their new video? Avoid!) Here's what I had to say about that topic in a thread earlier today. Read further for more on Refused/ATDI:
If Midtown did another tour, I'd take off work the night of the show and be there hours before doors opened to ensure that I could be front row for the entire thing. Of course I would love to see it and I would undoubtedly have a great time reliving everything that band has meant to me. It's because they have meant so much to me that I don't want them to get back and do a bunch of one-off shows to get the hope up that maybe they're coming back but then just dissolve into being broken up again like they did originally. I really don't know how to put it without sounding like an asshole or complete lamewad, but it wouldn't mean the same for me anymore unless they could show me that their hearts were into it. The music meant so much to me that it would be doing it a disservice to everything I thought it was.
Dream scenario would have been for this band to play a farewell show the way so many bands have done or to at least announce that they would planned on splitting after the tour. For them to come back in such a way with Forget What You Know after all that transpired with Geffen and Living Well and then just silently fade away without a formal announcement of any sorts left such a bitter taste in my mouth as a fan. I mean, they don't owe me anything in any way, I understand. I just would have liked to see them end it on a better note because I think they deserved a final sold out show in New Jersey at the Starland Ballroom.
Midtown I was lucky enough to see. Refused? How many people really got to see them at the small clubs they were playing when they were virtually unknown. And how many people actually got to see them play when they released their masterpiece, The Shape of Punk to Come? Even less people. But even if I could go back, would I want to see them at a small, cramped club where I can't move around and the sound is awful and there is no stage really to move around? Do I want to see At the Drive-In flailing around in a classroom where the crowd can't get into it? Not really.
What I took to be Adam's main point is this. "Do you think seeing At the Drive In play in a fucking classroom will even compare to a sea of people watching the band on the main stage of one of the largest music festivals in the world? It just won't. To those people in the basement at Refused's last show - they witnessed something that any reunion at 10,000+ person event won't begin to recreate." If I'm being completely honest, I wouldn't want to recreate something like that. If you look at the ATDI classroom video, no one's moving around. It's just standing there and watching the band play. No one is singing along. Everyone is letting the band do their thing...there's no interaction or participation.
I am a fan of these larger clubs because the crowd is involved. Granted, there's hardly anything more intimate and awesome then when you have a small show and everyone knows all the words to every song and everyone's into it (this is so rare to happen...people are way too self-conscious in a small setting), but have you ever been to a stadium where everyone knows the words to a certain band's songs and they just let the crowd take over? The electricity from something like that is incredible. Sure, it's not the underground roots that these bands came from, but who cares? They command larger venues and people love the music. Isn't that what we wanted this whole time? I want everyone to know about how great ATDI is and I'd love for thousands of people to get to experience it rather than a small subset of fans. I'd rather have a clean-sounding concert where I can see all of them and I can be comfortable and move around than a classroom with awful sound. Think about the buzz that is going to surge through the crowd when the first notes of "New Noise" come in. You can't have that feeling from a smaller venue. I want to have my first and last experience with these bands in the best way possible: playing the music I love so I can be engrossed by the sound and having a spastic performance that reverberates through the crowd so I can be engrossed by the energy. I don't think the smaller venues can really give you this.
I know that I cannot have that moment, but the moment is gone. It's kind of like Blink 182 still pulling out the dick jokes. The moment is gone when you know they're near their 40s and have kids. I know I'm not seeing the same Refused from 1998, so I want my experience to be strictly around the music they played. I want the best experience and that's what you'll get when you see these reunited bands at these festivals. You're going to see At the Drive-In deliver knock out shows and you're going to leave drenched with sweat if you're doing it right. You're going to watch Dennis Lyxzen sing and you're going to leave with a sore throat if you're doing it right. While you're not going to get the actual experience of what the band was like, you're hopefully going to get the next best thing--the actual experience of what the music was like. And that's because they're doing it right.