Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

I Said I Don't Want A Whale In A Box Or A Bag

Tonight I attended a music recital at the BA's school.

As it was her first public performance on drums after four years of piano she was understandably nervous but I personally was looking forward to the event. Was it because I was eager to see my beloved daughter displaying her skills? To see where my hard earned money is going re: drum lessons? No. It was because after four years of listening to 'Indian Dance', 'Jingle Bells' and 'Claire De Lune' (at least twice) being murdered on the piano by 9 year olds, I was eager for a change in fare!

The music department, ably run by a good friend of mine, holds a series of music nights through the year which group together similar instruments. For example, there is a keyboard night, a vocals night and tonight's offering: drum, guitar and bass. Being a happy clappy Christian school there tends to be a plethora of rock guitarists and drummers in the fold and there is often some real talent in the air. They're not too fussed about sticking to worship music either which means there's often a bit of quality rock n' roll and punk on offer ;-)

The BA herself is a novice but she has surprised me with her aptitude for drums given that she had all but no sense of rhythm as a tot. Tonight she was performing to a backing track by Tommy Igoe called 'Time and a Half' which I really liked when she played it for me at home. She was disparaging of her own skills however, condemning the track as 'boring' and her own playing as under par.

So we approached the evening with differing expectations and levels of anxiety.

I perused the programme with delight. For my listening pleasure there would be performances of: Pearl Jam, Led Zeppelin, Classical Gas, Cold Play, ACDC, Cream, Snow Patrol and 3 Doors Down. There was also a couple of numbers by Australian greats Tommy Emmanuel and Paul Kelly. What a treat! I nervously hoped the BA could hold her own in this rarified atmosphere.


Tonight I heard more perfectly good songs murdered by inept musicians and their irresponsible instrumental teachers than in any other previous music night! There were about 22 performers and by the 6th it was obvious that rhythm was not a pre-requisite for entry into the guitar program. Most of them were pretty happy when they hit the right chords and the temporal placement of these chords seemed of little importance to the majority of the 'would be' Eric Claptons.

Amongst the roadkill was a version of Cream's 'Sunshine of Your Love' played on bass guitar, solo, with no backing track, drums or vocals. A novel experience and one endured by many a bass player's mother through the years I am sure but why by a poor unsuspecting audience?

Also, note to guitar teachers: do not ever, ever, ever let your pre-teen student of 12 months attempt 'Stairway to Heaven' when it is evident that the poor creature has only had the music for a week, has never heard the original and has had limited time to practice. Really. Woeful.

Alright, so I am being harsh. But really! If they are going to perform, choose something appropriate for them. Don't give the kid with arrhythmia and 6 months experience 'Classical Gas' to tangle his fingers around. The same thing could be said of Kryptonite by 3 doors down and something called 'Face Down' by 'The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus' which was the victim of a serial killer, being trashed more than once!

On the upside, I discovered a new piece of music which I liked so much that I downloaded it upon getting home. One of the BA's contemporaries executed a very nice version of Pearl Jam's 'Yellow Ledbetter' which had me bobbing up and down in my seat. I have since discovered that it is the source of some controversy, being one of those songs where you cannot discern a single lyric.

Now for those of us over 45 this is not an unusual situation. Heck, most of the songs writtten in the late 60s and early 70s featured artists so far off their faces that their noses had to ask for directions to their ears. We grew up expecting that lyrics would be indecipherable. People like Peter Frampton even put synthesisers over their voices to ensure that they were incomprehensible! Apparently however, our modern youth are more demanding (now there's a surprise).

Wikipedia lists this as one of the quintessential indecipherable lyrics songs of all time. This has resulted in some quite amusing You Tube banter. One rapier wit posts a 'Misheard Lyrics' video and some poor dour Pearl Jam fan responds with:

Have you ever thought you might be the stupid one for thinking that you have to understand the lyrics instead of feeling the emotions the song creates? I can't speak or understand spanish music but I can apreciate it all the same.

Dear, dear some people take themselves far too seriously! :-)

On a site which features the actual song, a critic quips

i think he is singing after a root canal

you asshole. people like it because it has a good melody and people who like pearl jam can understand him because their not ignorant people like yourself who think they can be all smartass. besides his singing isn't as irliterate as most of today's rappers.
How can people like this song..it is well know only because you can't understand one freaking word of it. Did he sing it with novacain in his mouth

Am I the only person who finds 'irliterate' hilarious?

But what about the BA I hear you ask? Well. She was amazing. She was by far one of the most accomplished performers there and she acquitted herself extremely well. I was in equal measures proud,terrified and amazed for and by her. She came through with flying colours!

Well done BA! Only wish I had taken my camera.

image credit: meg white
image credit: cream


we_be_toys said...

I'm so glad you said it first - "Irliterate" is going to be my new favorite word - right up there with "edjamalation", which is best described as "that ther book lerning, whut you done got hat skewl, sos you won't be irliterate no more."

Kudos to the BA for her stellar performance, and damn, I would have loved some pictures of the evening's frolics!

JustJessie said...

Yay! I'm glad she did so well! Grayson's starting guitar lessons this summer (unless I can talk him into piano or violin), so there are sure to be lots of painful recitals in my future, too!

One of my biggest fights with my mom when I was a teenager was over a Pearl Jam concert. She refused to let me go, and I gave her hell over it for ages. It's funny to me that kids BA's age still like them!

Amy Jo said...

I'm sure BA is quite talented! You'll have to make a video of one of her performances!

I cracked up as soon as I read your title because Pearl Jam is my favorite band, and I immediately recognized the cadence of the song from that lyrical mistake. PJ has never published the lyrics to that song because they change it up on a nightly basis. I'm always glad to hear they have a new fan!

A Free Man said...

First of all, I have a total crush on Meg White.

Isn't the whole point of school recitals to suffer through endless versions of songs that you used to love until your kid - the only shining ray of light - comes on to play. And then to surreptitiously slip out of the hall?

Arizaphale said...

AFM: The 'hall' was too small. There was no escape.

Elisa said...

hahaha - love the review of the evening!
I think a Free Man is correct! haha

The best is when your kid thinks some lame remake of a classic is really a new song and they freak out when you know the words...then you tell them it's an "oldie" and they just don't believe you.

Recitals...gotta love 'em!

Stacy said...

Why am I not surprised that BA did well? Of course she did! :) Sounds like the farings of the evening...were interesting. Ah, learning music is always fun for their parents. My own had to listen through my screeching viola playing. In an old farmhouse the walls are a bit thin, so there was no escaping it. ;)