This is what you get when you mess with us

I'm back from my Indianapolis concertacular weekend and I have many thoughts. The chief among them is why is Radiohead so popular?

I mean Radiohead has been at the top of my list of bands to see in concert for a couple years now, and I was excited to see them in Indy on Sunday. It was just strange to see about 10,000 other people just as (if not more) excited. They would play a couple discordant notes that barely sounded like anything and the crowd would go nuts like they'd played the opening slide guitar part to "Freebird." I love Radiohead, but they don't seem very rock an roll, you know? Someboday didn't tell this crowd.

About halfway through the show, I realized that Radiohead play the sort of music that the teenagers of the future listened to in '80s apocolypse movies. It's exactly the sort of stuff gutter punks would have blaring in the headphones (or ear implants or whatever) as they assaulted the fine citizens of a big city in the year 2030. It made me want to buy some parachute pants and get a barcode tattoo.


This is all in contrast to Monday's Wilco concert. Wilco is a band that by all accounts should be mch more popular than Radiohead. They have a core of very approachable pop melodies surrounded in several layers of feedback and noise to give it that indie cred that the kids seem to like. However, there were nowhere near 10,000 fans at the Wilco show.

Wilco played at White River State Park just outside downtown Indianapolis. Jeff and I been through there earlier in the day on a Segway tour (yes, I just said Segway tour) and it was a lovely venue. Everyone in the city seems really proud of it, too.

The Wilco crowd was as devoted and knowledgeable as Radiohead's but they seemed less inclined to rock. Lead singer, Jeff Tweedy, even had to give everyone permission to dance like the way you might tell a dying relative it's okay to go to the light. I really think Radiohead wouldn't have minded if everyone had just swayed back and forth, while Wilco would have really liked a mosh pit. They should have swapped crowds.

I've seen Wilco a ton of times and at this point it's like catching up with an old friend. We laugh, we have fun and we know we'll see each other again soon.

So now I need a new band that I've always wanted to see in concert. That list is thinning in my old age, so I think my new number one is The Weakerthans. Yes, they did just play in backyard in March, but I, alas, was thousands of miles away.

1 comment:

Kelly said...

I was also confused by the enormous crowd at Radiohead - I didn't realize their appeal was so widespread.

Edmund and I had the exact same "who's the new band you've never seen but want to" conversation, since Radiohead was his for something like 10 years. I don't think he came up with anyone who's not dead.

Glad you had fun at Wilco! Did you stay in downtown Indy? How was it?