Nostalgia and Money-Grubbing Festival Lineups Are The Worst

Nostalgia and Money-Grubbing Festival Lineups Are The Worst


I’m just going to throw this out there: “Much like David Guetta, nostalgia is the worst.” Actually, scratch that. What’s worse is the money-hungry concert promoter who knows he/she can get you to fork over as much dough as possible to see [insert your favorite act from your teenage years who fell off but needs to pay the bills so hey, let’s tour!]. There are very few exceptions to the rule of an older, previously defunct band, group, etc… being able to put on any semblance of a live performance. For example, the Jesus and Mary Chain blew the collective mind of everyone who saw them at the 2012 Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh, N.C. Sidenote: I was there.

Too often, festival lineups are littered with acts that shouldn’t be anywhere near a bill, never mind close to a headlining spot. This became particularly evident when the lineups for the Coachella and Paid Dues festivals hit the web last week, causing everyone to hop on Twitter and squeal with prepubescent delight over seeing names that previously only existed on blog headlines like, “[insert act] call[s] it quits.” Said headlines then give way to “[insert member of aforementioned act] announces solo album and tour.” Next are the reviews, panning the solo projects with critiques like, “This guy just works better in a group setting.” You know how this pretty much always happens? I do. And for me, it was when Jurassic 5 dropped their fourth and final album, 2006’s Feedback.

The Los Angeles group, sans founding member Cut Chemist, truly churned out a turd with Feedback, which fell to pieces with corny singles like the Dave Matthews-featuring “Work It Out”. When that song puked its way into my ears, I felt offended and slightly betrayed. But then I thought about everyone who introduced me to and raved about J5. These were your prototypical college kids; well-to-do, potential Greek candidates who could name four, maybe five hip-hop acts when I asked who else they liked. Depending on the person, they named J5, Mos Def, Atmosphere, Common, and maybe Kanye West, though in 2005 (the start of my junior year) no one really listened to Yeezy like that. Yet.

It was weird. I was falling out of touch with an act that helped me learn about and appreciate other acts (thanks, Last.FM!). It was like deciding that I needed to stop hanging out with a certain friend, though he/she had introduced me to some new people who, funny enough, were way more enjoyable to be around. There was also the fact I hated faulting any group who killed it in concert, especially a hip-hop act. But there I was, shrugging my shoulders at J5’s entire discography and excommunicating myself from their fan base. Admittedly, I’ve given each member’s solo material a fair listen—particularly Chali 2na’s—but none of it really impressed me.

But I digress.

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  1. Saxon Baird
    Jan 28, 2013 @ 18:23:00

    But wait, are they re-inventing it or just re-creating it? I think you can pull from the past but still offer something new and tweek in a different way. That would be re-inventing. I am not sure of Joey Badass, as much as I dig him, is doing that.

  2. Gabe Meier
    Jan 28, 2013 @ 13:19:00

    Noz pretty much bodied the debate in this article: http://pitchfork.com/features/hall-of-game/8948-revival-tactics/

    “The bigger question, though, isn’t one of representation, but of relevance. If the best thing that these artists can offer is a functional rehash of an old style, why do they even need to exist? Why can’t a 17-year-old fan of either act just cut out the middleman and listen to Lord Finesse or Lord Infamous directly? The answer comes back around to rap’s obsession with that damned newness. The crate-digging mentality that birthed the era that Badass fetishizes is close to dead now. There’s no reward for finding something obscure from the past, but everyone wants to be the first to the fire for the hot new rapper. The only way most hip-hop listeners would ever be willing to engage these aged aesthetics from the fringes of the genre is through a contemporary cipher. They need a fresh face to gaze upon, a modern personality to dissect. The past can’t follow back on Twitter.”

    Jan 28, 2013 @ 13:17:00

    Agree wholeheartedly with the rant though.

    Jan 28, 2013 @ 13:16:00

    No different than ASAP Rocky trying on every single style from 90s rap. This is how hip-hops always been.

  5. Ringo P
    Jan 28, 2013 @ 11:51:00

    I think the difference is they weren’t around at the time so they can’t be entirely nostalgic. They’ve been inspired by something old (but new to them) and are re-inventing it. It might provoke a nostalgic response in some old heads, but that’s way different from the kind of self-delusion that leads people to think they’re going to get a middle aged Snoop bringing that kind of energy to a note perfect run through of Doggystyle.

  6. Andrew Martin
    Jan 28, 2013 @ 11:07:00

    Good points about Joey and Lute. I personally don’t mind it, if only because I’ve looked past the nostalgic aspects. Still, something to marinate on.

  7. Saxon Baird
    Jan 28, 2013 @ 10:57:00

    Nice little rant. And long overdue!

    However, I am curious, do you think nostalgia has a place elsewhere beyond the bullshit mega-concert promoters and bands getting back together for one more pay day?

    For example, what about Joey Badass or even the overlooked Lute? Both are definitely re-hashing a sound (and some times even the entire aesthetic) of 90s NYC boom bap. I see a lot of what they are doing deeply rooted in nostalgia. I still dig it, though.

    Maybe that’s just me getting old and stoked to hear a track that doesn’t include auto-tune (not hating!) or the melodramatic sound of Alex Da Kid, et. al. On the other hand, maybe they are doing nostalgia “correctly…”

    Anyways, just some thoughts.

  8. Zach Moldof
    Jan 28, 2013 @ 09:51:00

    Chris Brown is human garbage as far as I can tell.

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