The Music, Morningwood, and Kasabian
The cynics are up in arms over Kasabian and the Music's rudimentary ripping off of predecessors like Primal Scream, the Stone Roses and Janeâ€™s Addiction. But to the general public, such imitation could and should be construed as fun. Like going to see a really good cover band.
Yes, it’s true that Kasabian and the Music are almost entirely unoriginal. But within the realm of the live music experience, this should not be a sticking point. Besides, many of the people being force-fed the current crop of British imports probably missed bands like Primal Scream in their heyday anyway. We should be able to avoid the critical rut of relying on comparisons. It’s a difficult fucking task though, I know.
A recent show at New York City’s Irving Plaza kicked off with local act, Morningwood, who could very well be accused of the aforementioned stylistic poaching. Having first made the scene when New York City rock was resurrected in 2002, Morningwood were branded from birth as a sub-standard Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Maybe it’s the libidinous frontwoman, Chantal Claret, or the quick spurts of sludgy rock they dash off as fully fledged songs. But the crowd ate up their set, relishing Claret’s manic sex-kitten-like behavior, especially when she pulled down the bassist’s pants and bit him on the ass.
Kasabian is funny. Taken at face value, they’re a bunch of Brits dedicated to blowing our minds, 1993 style. Their set was flashy and catchy and had a pit of devoted pogo-ers in place. And then the band spoke: “Come on New York, how punk are you?” Oh please. They lost me right there, snapping me out of a light-induced haze and thrusting me into a place populated by New York’s favorite argument-starters, the Bravery. Like the Bravery, Kasabian clearly believe that they are, for lack of a better term, the shit. And, like the Bravery, they are dead wrong. They are fun. They write catchy tunes. But they should by no means try and dupe the music-consuming public into believing that they are the delivers of something new and important. They should drop the serious façade and keep with the spastic dancing and overwhelming lightshow, thereby maintaining some shred of the reality that they are, in fact, quite a good Britpop tribute band and not much else.
Rounding out the bill was the Music, an impressive bunch of musicians too young to be truly familiar with the psychedelia they are channeling. Which in a way makes it all the more endearing. Each component of the band is talented, the core fanbase is frighteningly devoted, and many of the songs – particularly those off recent release, Welcome to the North – are anthemic and strong. So, what then is everybody’s problem? Why isn’t the Music tremendously popular? Again, its probably the comparison complex: It’s hard to sell someone on a band whose singer borrows from both Perry Farrell and Geddy Lee, and cribs his dance moves from that annoying kid you knew from those rave parties in high school. But my argument still stands that cynicism aside, the Music are capable of a dramatic live performance, which is really all the concert-going public should worry about.