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Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Rhianna/Calvin Harris - SECC - 10/10/11 (Glasgow)

Well here I am back in the SECC to dip my toe into the populist bollocks that passes as what is hot in the world of mainstream chart acts.
This time it's to see Rhianna supported by superstar DJ Calvin Harris.
Every once in a while I find myself doing this as part of my parental role.
I could say that it's a tough job, and someone has to do it, but if I'm honest about it then I would also have to say that it's no great chore really.
It gives me one to one time with my daughter, and the large stage shows and effects are pretty spectacular.
I even enjoy the dance routines, the costume changes and all the other little bells and whistles that are part and parcel of how this sort of show is promoted to the public.
It's all very slick and there's obviously a great deal of effort goes into it, and I can appreciate that.
I even get a perverse kick out of people watching, and similar to how many of us can watch Jeremy Kyle and feel a sense of superiority over his guests, I can get the same kick from being stuck in a crowd of sheeple.
For instance while lining up and waiting to go in I noticed that every third young woman was wearing either brown trousers, leggings or shorts.
Obviously earth tones are in this season on the high street, but seriously, when you add the amount of bare legged spray tans I seen to the equation, then it looked like they had all waded through rivers of shit to get to the SECC.
From the darker shite tones sported by those who must have just climbed onto the banking, to the lighter looking shite tones of those who had obviously been drying out for a while, all I could see was a a world painted in brown.
Now I don't really want to slag those who share the planet with me (liar), but c'mon, where did free will go to.
Is imagination and individuality a concept that has been lost on the majority.
Just because it's on the rack doesn't mean you have to buy it.
Similarly what is the score with the skyscraper platform and heel combo that they are all wearing.
Every second person is staggering about like a sailor on shore leave.
I could get along with people risking ankle and tendon in the pursuit of making a fashion statement, but what is that statement when out of a thousand young women nine hundred and ninety eight are wearing the same thing.
What does that actually say about them all?
The uniformity of the youth is really quite a sad spectacle.
It also dawned on me that while I despise the cattle shed style of the SECC and the way that staff herd the fans about like dumb animals, that maybe this is actually the norm.
If a very large crowd of people display very little intelligence and ape a herd mentality then isn't it appropriate that the tried and tested process of how to control the herd is used?
Just a thought.
Anyway, Calvin Harris and Rhianna.
I'm not unfamiliar with Calvin Harris as I seen him do a DJ set many years ago when he was first making a name for himself.
Back then I was impressed with the breadth of the songs he was sampling ,and his ability to segue everything together seamlessly.
Now he appears to have taken his abilities on the decks and transferred them across to delivering the lowest common denominator crap to the masses.
He's still spot on with the beats and the mixing, but the choice of material is bland, bland, bland, and I found myself drawn to watching the generated graphics that were hypnotically pulsing in front and behind him instead of paying that much attention to the material.
I suspect that in a club he will tear a roof off, but in this sort of environment it's a case of give the people what they want, tuck the cash away, and try and forget it ever happened.
Rhianna on the other hand has it all. She can sing and there wasn't a hint of a backing track being played.
Instead she relies on the backing singers to keep it all held together, but that's not to say that she doesn't pull her weight vocally and there's no doubt that she is the star of the show.
The highlight for me was a was a very raunchy cover of 'Darling Nikki' that captured everything that Prince gave it and a little more due to it being sung by a woman.
However it was a serious lull in the flow of the gig as the vast majority were unfamiliar with the song and you could feel the interest waning as she sang it.
Apart from that my unfamiliarity was a bit of a barrier to my enjoying the show fully, but it was very obvious that the musicianship was top notch as was Rhianna herself.
So yes. I get the appeal. But it's really not my thing.
It comes across as very manufactured.
Sort of music done by numbers that's designed to have a mass appeal at the expense of any artistic integrity.
It's entertainment appreciation rather than music appreciation.
An extension of the material we get on shows like the x-factor. All bling and just enough substance to get by.
So if that is what rings your bell then a Rhianna gig will cover all the bases.
If not, and you want to find something with a bit more balls, more integrity and even maybe a bit more sweaty, then you will find that in the clubs at a fraction of the price and no doubt without an earth tone in sight either.

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