A few weeks ago I had a lengthy discussion with my friend about the current state of music. Although I consider myself fairly open minded in my musical tastes, enjoy everything from metal to electronic to indie to pop, etc., I couldn’t help but be frustrated with the overabundance of indie rock taking over the country. It’s not to say that no one out there is making good metal or hard rock music, it’s just that the general population doesn’t care. And because they don’t care, there are less concerts and festivals, fewer opportunities for bands to spread their musical wings. But both my friend and I thought it interesting how this just isn’t so overseas.
We may live in the land of the free, but our culture is strongly dictated by what’s on the television and radio. We’re not the ones pulling the strings, and that doesn’t apply to just music but also fashion, art, entertainment, etc. That’s not to say Europeans aren’t enjoying indie music as much as we are. But while people are listening to Mumford & Sons and Foster the People, no one has forgotten about bands like Rammstein, Chevelle, or Staind. Yeah, those bands are all still around and making new albums. Of course they have their devoted fans here in the States who will continue to follow them into the musical depths of hell. But in Europe, you won’t feel like such a freak who’s “behind the times” if you say you like them. Those bands are headlining some of the biggest rock and metal musical festivals like Rock am Ring, Download, and Pinkpop. All we have is Coachella and Bonnaroo. Both offer a diverse mix, but the big acts are whomever is getting serious airplay here.
Most bands can also feel confident that they’ll probably sell out every venue they play. Here, not so much. Bands that can sell out smaller venues here are playing to larger stadiums in other countries. But this scenario doesn’t just apply to rock and metal music. The same can be said for dance/pop and electronic. I’m actually impressed that dubstep has completely blown up in the States. However, I know in a year or two, no one here will care. The electronic scene has always been tremendous in the U.K. and Europe.
Remember the goth scene a decade or so ago? If you want to see a goth, find obscure clubs in warehouses in New York City. Or just walk the streets of Germany. I’ve always admired Europe for not having a perpetual stick up its behind. Not much phases them and they’re not so quick to judge. They also understand the importance of individuality and what nonsense a passing fad is. If you’re still into wearing grunge and want to enjoy the real taste of music freedom, get a plane ticket.
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