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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Brother Can You Spare Some Context?

Monday night I went to see the Smithereens at Jenkinson's Pavilion. This time I got there with time to spare and didn't miss anything like with the Psychedelic Furs two weeks ago.

The Smithereens were great. They played all the songs from Especially For You and the hits that came after that. The crowd was a loyal fan club, singing along with each track word for word. Pat carried on a pleasant engaging banter with the middle-aged crowd throughout the show, and in the end he invited about a dozen girls up on stage to dance along to "A Girl Like You". He played my request for "In A Lonely Place", although I think they might have planned to play it anyway. They clearly had a fun time, and they seemed comfortable with being the Smithereens in 2007.

Now faded from glory, they were a premiere New Jersey band back in the late 80's. They cut their teeth playing at the Court Tavern, The Dirt Club, the Stone Pony and other clubs from the time.

They were the kind of band that could have been as big as any pop band of the day, but for whatever reason never made it huge. Their songs are original, sincere, well crafted pieces of rock and roll poetry. Pat's voice is signature, not unlike that of Richard Butler from the Furs. Not unlike that of John Easdale. Why some bands become cultural icons and some don't is a great mystery.

And now for some bile. As with two weeks ago, G106.3 was the co-host/promoter for the show, and one of their DJ's was playing tunes before and after the show.

Now G106.3 is a shadow of it's former glorious self, FM 106.3. But as I've stated before, it's not too bad, and relatively good compared to the rest of the radio dial. They tout themselves as Jersey's rock alternative, which is fine. And of course the Smithereens are alt rock heroes, so it makes sense G106.3 would want to be involved.

Unfortunately, the DJ spinning that night had no clue. No,in fact, being clueless would imply he didn't know better, so that's not true. He was just awful. Based on the tunes he spun, you'd think it was a Warrant concert from sometime in 1988. On top of the mindless,I'm-so-cool, yee-hah banter that so many DJ's are helpless to resist spewing, this guy played almost nothing but metal tracks. Now I might not mind a night of hard rocking metal if that's what I chose to go out and hear, but this was a night with a crowd to see the Smithereens, an ALTERNATIVE MUSIC crowd. Def Leppard? Something and something else and Van Halen? I thought I heard Poison, maybe. Then after a few tracks he'd belch out "G106.3, your rock alternative!" So not only are you making the people in the club physically ill, but now a bunch of poor hair metal kids are gonna be thinking they can request Ratt and Guns 'n Roses on G106.3. And of course anyone who wasn't aware of what G106.3 actually plays and was looking for an alternative station to listen to has to be convinced they must be a cheesy rock station, and will look elsewhere.

Nice way to cross promote, dude. Next time, try a little context. CONTEXT. Alt station, alt band, ALT MUSIC!


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