Sunday, 20 December 2009

Rage Against The Machine and how Facebook saved Christmas

So Rage actually did it. Well, Rage didn't, we did. Killing the name sold 50,000 more copies than the Climb - the competition wasn't even close.

The reality is sinking in. Not only did hundreds of thousands of people rebel against mass markets, advertising, reality TV and rich corporations but they gave themselves a voice. Most of the buyers have probably never had much of a say in who rules the charts, but they have one now and the effects will go down in history as shitty teenage music channels are forced to play the black sheep of christmas singles - 2009.

Will we be shopping for our Turkeys in M&S to the tune of Killing in the Name next Christmas? I sincerely hope so.

A fitting end to a decade governed by the public's lack of imagination and action, this is genuinely a victory. It shows the power of crowd consciousness and emotion, the relevence of online media, music's ability to unite and empower and the fact that underneath a very consumerist layer lie people that are genuinely individual.

A sentence I never thought I'd say: Facebook just saved Christmas.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Mars Volta live at the HMV Forum, Kentish Town

Isn’t it refreshing when a band plays their best tracks, rather than cramming their new material down your throat? The Mars Volta gave the audience a master class in crowd pleasing at on a God forsaken winter evening in London.

Opening with the heart thumping “Son et Lumiere” and “Inertiatic Esp”, the band took in all four albums during their mammoth two hour set. As expected plenty of that was spent watching the band jam away as if no one was watching, but these breaks only served to make the climaxes more exciting. “Goliath”, from their formidable “Bedlam in Goliath” album, was jarring – forcing you to move and sway to the Hispanic grooves. Stood at the top of some stairs I was mesmerised by the sea of heads and hands below, moving like sound waves towards me.

The band still tore the stage up, echoing their more legendary sets as At the Drive In, but this was a band in complete control of their irrepressible talent. Cedric’s vocal range was unbelievable and Omar was like Hendrix incarnate, his fingers a blur as he jammed away.

The set highlight was “Cicatriz Esp”, where a break down took 10 minutes to reform into the song’s finale. When it did, however, I have never heard or felt an ovation like it. In an industry where intention spans are getting shorter than ever, The Mars Volta are a reminder of how much patience can pay off.