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Adam Grant to Seattle: “Enough with the Dick Rock Already”

Posted by July 13th, 2008 No Comments »

ALive & Kickin’
The Georgetown Music Festival
June 11-13, Seattle WA 

Dear Seattle,

Not long after moving back from New York City, I was fortunate enough to see some of Seattle’s best bands at the Georgetown Music Festival. Unfortunately, I also had to face the fact that this city has not matured past its love of what I would call ‘dick-rock.’

The most notable evidence of this assertion is the over-hyped and over-glamorized Thee Emergency, a band who relies solely on stage presence but lacks solid song-crafting or lyrical prowess.

I am offended that, in a city known for its embrace of incredible music, a band like Thee Emergency would be placed on such a pedestal; many individuals being solely impressed that someone has the guts to grow out an afro or that a girl fronts a garage rock band.


The Lonely Forest

I would suggest that it’s a bit shameful, especially considering the fact that other great bands like Skeletons with Flesh on Them, Lords of the North, and The Lonely Forest deliver equally passionate live performances but with much better songs.

In a spirit of reluctance, I have revisited the qualities that I look for in a band. I would hope that the typical Seattle music fan, along with the incestuous music industry in this city, would embrace similar attributes.

1.    Well-crafted tunes
2.    Unique stage presence
3.    An aura unique to the band
4.    Originality

No band meets these expectations with 100 percent accuracy, yet those worthy of praise will have some measure of success in each area.

I also realize that we sometimes fall in love with bands based on a pure, visceral gut reaction. I can only surmise that others in this town are having that reaction with Thee Emergency.

To make my frustrations worse, I read in The Stranger that The Blakes are having a send off show for their UK tour at Neumos. In the review, it was suggested that The Blakes are deserving of my attention and should be considered ‘a superpower’ in the world of music.

Are The Blakes are super power deserving of my attention? Do they offer well-crafted tunes, great stage presence and originality? I will give them some credit for some solid songs, but in general, I would suggest that they lean towards the generic sound of ‘dick-rock’…not too original. I will reserve final judgment until I’ve had a chance to see their live show.

One thing that’s certain is that the Blakes are leagues beyond Thee Emergency, which may account to their burgeoning success outside the greater Seattle area. Yet, it still feels odd that they are having a send off show for a UK tour.

I would rather pay tribute to a band like Slender Means or Fleet Foxes as the standard for Seattle’s musical output. Like the Blakes, I should reserve my final opinion until I get a chance to see them live. I will keep you posted.

Bitter & Back in Town,

Adam Grant

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