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The Scarlet & Black

Letter: Response to concerts staff ed

I’ve been involved with concerts since I got here (a year and a half ago, or something), and while understanding the spirit of your staff ed, I disagree with it entirely. It’s the same haterade, uninformed stuff you hear on a typical Friday night: “Man, Concerts, you guys really suck. You didn’t bring anybody good last semester. I love Kings of Leon. You should bring those guys. And my friend here loves Damian Rice. You should bring him, he’s really awesome. And let me talk to you about Films, too, man, they suck…”

Kings of Leon and Damian Rice are, to be honest, exactly the kind of quality that Grinnell Concerts is least equipped to bring, and will never be well equipped to bring, and SHOULDN’T BE well-equipped to bring. If you love Kings of Leon so much, go see them in Iowa City, where the University of Iowa Concerts Committee brought them last year. Pay your $30 and have a really good time, and I really mean that. These artists, however, represent just the best-intentioned edge of a whole slew of other bad ideas about “quality” in music.

Do you really think that concerts should bring groups like Ladysmith Black Mombazo when ACE is perfectly capable of bringing them? I really loved that show, but its existence is incredibly tangential evidence for critiquing concerts.

And Indie? What does that label even mean? Does it cover Fucked Up, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, the Blow, and Blue Scholars? Does it count towards Liars? Does it count towards Peter Brotzmann? What about Capillary Action and Bird Names? A cursory look at the Concerts schedule for the two years I have been here would reveal that the programming includes quite a bit of “non-Pitchfork-approved” (I am assuming this is the standard you are using for “indie”, and I find it incredibly facile) music. Does it mean just whatever a certain group of people like? I don’t know what it means at all. And “Indie” bands provide great value.

For 30 thousand, you get either Ghostface or ten indie bands. I want you to make the case that Ghostface is worth missing Fucked Up about ten times.


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