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Wednesday, 18 June 2014

The truth will set you free.

Many many years ago I wandered down to Glastonbury's pyramid stage to see the then up and coming great white hopes of the UK indie rock scene that were Oasis. 
Three songs in and I left.
I wasn't the only one either.
The field was emptying as fast as it had filled.

Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

It wasn't that they were terrible, but more that their being good wasn't a match for the hyperbolic press that they were riding the wave of.
The sense of anticlimax was palpable.
I clearly remember feeling sorry for them.
I felt that they had been set up to fail.
No band straight out the gate was going to live up to the reputation that the press was asking them to carry.
I was wrong of course, and the rest is history as they went on to conquer the UK, if not the world.

The strangest thing about the experience was reading the press when I arrived home though.
They were one hundred percent behind the band and claimed that their set was the crowning glory of the festival.
While I am sure that there were hundreds who were there that would agree - and thousands who weren't who would also agree - this wasn't my reality, or that of anyone else within earshot of me as I left the area.

They were good, but not great, and certainly not the saviours of anything based on that singular performance.

This didn't matter though.
The press had spoken.
It was probably the first time that I had witnessed reportage being so far removed from what really went on.
It was akin to propaganda.
Nothing written had any bearing on what I had seen and heard.
Of course there are always three stories, and I do take that into consideration.
Yours, theirs, and the unvarnished truth nestling somewhere in between, but here we had a story that didn't reflect my perception of what had happened, or the truth.

Now, all these years later I am reminded of this as I read another review of another band.
This time it’s a small local act.
I simply can't take in the words and fit them together with my own perception of their performances and studio work.
Initially, months ago when I read the first glowing reviews, I thought that I was out of step and missing something that others could see and hear, and I am big enough to accept that this could have been the case.

Yet I had to set that self doubt aside as since then I have literally still to meet anyone face to face - and I seriously mean anyone - who has managed to dredge up one positive comment about them.

A multitude of people just keep saying the same things to me, and all of what is said is negative.

Not a week goes by that someone doesn’t air their opinion to me about this act and how hysterically bad (in their opinion) they are.
Friends and strangers just keep adding to the anti-testimonials.

Less than a month ago I was regaled with the story of how two people had to remove themselves from the main area of a performance so that their howls of uncontrollable laughter did not offend the band.
And when they did they met others who were doing likewise.
A group of gigglers who warmly welcomed them into the warm embrace of the church of what the fuck was that we just seen.

If I had a pound for every time someone asks me how they manage to secure good reviews and bookings as they are so very terrible then I could - without any fear of being accused of exaggerating the amount - take a month off work.

My usual response to those questions is that maybe the person asking should direct their query to the reviewer, or the booker, as I am genuinely clueless.

So what is going on?

I am well aware that in bringing this up I am opening myself up to the usual hate mail, and probably lending credence to the perception that I can be a prickly arsehole, but I am really just asking a question, with that being, why is there this gap between what the people attending the shows are saying and what the reviews claim?
It doesn't actually matter who the band are.

This is, as we know, something that happens all over, and as illustrated it’s an issue that plagues both the mainstream news and everything bubbling under that, but what is really so wrong with an honest view being given?
And I don't mean one that mirrors my own.
It is after all just an opinion being expressed.
Isn’t making positive false assertions just as damaging as making negative false ones?

It may be hurtful, but ultimately once the bruised egos have subsided positives can be taken from what has been said.

When anyone goes to see a band live with the intent to comment publicly, then members being friends, being in a position to do you a favour, or offer you other incentives just shouldn’t come in to it.

Shouldn't honesty always just be the best policy, especially if the intent is not to hurt anyone?

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