Sunday, February 28, 2021

Review of Genesis' Duke at Pitchfork

Interesting review, written by an author who I'll say up front knows a lot more about Genesis than me.

For somebody who as a kid jumped from Elton John and Wings to Yes, I am surprised to this day that I never got into Genesis. Danny Agramonte and I were fellow progheads in 11th grade honors history, and every Monday we'd lay our new purchases on the other. One Monday, he came in, agog at The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. "It makes Olias of Sunhillow look like Foreigner 4," he gushed.

But I didn't get it. Danny later sent me off in the direction of "Charlotte the Harlot," so he knew what rocked, but that was the thing about Genesis--or at least Peter Gabriel Genesis. They didn't rock.

They also didn't get played on South Florida radio. Or at least they didn't before Duke.

The local rock station, Zeta4, or maybe by this time it was WSHE, began playing "Misunderstanding," which was shit, but they also played "Turn it on Again" and that was an interesting track.

It made sense as concise prog and it also made sense as something you heard on rock radio. I didn't become huge fans of Genesis (I didn't even buy Duke), but Genesis had started doing something I hadn't previously thought they knew how to do. They started doing in fact something that not many bands in the entire world knew how to do, which was to here and there get their progressive music serious airplay.

From around that same time, only The Police, with some of the deeper tracks from Ghosts or Synchronicity were able to pull off the same feat.

Abacab accelerated the process. There was dross mixed in, sure, but the title track is a masterful piece of jammy progressive rock, and "Keep it Dark" is even better, stutters and bursts of electronic instruments that take their cues from a driving 6/4 beat.

So the thing about '80's Genesis is, it's not that they started writing sappy shit (though they did). The remarkable thing is that they simultaneously and for the first time got good at the things they'd used to do.

Friday, February 26, 2021

The Hollywood Sportatorium

Check it out, click that link, if you haven't before: SoFla's concertgoing Stoner Nation forged a legend out of a leaky, acoustically atrocious, aircraft hangar in the middle of nowhere. I was 14 years old when I first attended a show at the Snortatorium, and the feeling as I entered the seating area with its dopesmoke cloudcover was that of crossing into a dark fantasyland, orcs and wizards and longhaired freaks crawling through the plastic chairs on the floor and over the permanent seating in the rafters.

And I felt that way even *before* I smoked reefer for the very first time that night. The first kid I spoke to collapsed into a quaalude-induced puddle right in front of me, and, later, my old man, who was waiting outside in his car, told me they were doing drug deals on the long hood of his Chevy Nova.

I never bought PCP at the Sport, never got a blowjob in one of its bathrooms, never got arrested, but that wasn't 'cause I couldn't've.

I saw Kansas there (twice), Foreigner (with Blackfoot, who blew the English band off the stage), Black Sabbath, Robert Plant, Rush, Van Halen (who were basically a distorted muddle), Iron Maiden (twice), and Judas Priest (with Megadeth)--that time, my father came inside with me(!).

Beyond the always surreal experience of just being in the cavernous space with six to ten thousand of South Florida's rowdiest motherfuckers, highlights were probably the laser show I saw at that first Kansas show, and the riot that broke out when Neil Peart was tardy for that Rush concert. The show started 90 minutes late, but it was worth it, as I can always say I've been teargassed--the Iron Cross of sorts for veterans of the old Sportatorium.