Thursday, 26 April 2018

[photo by:]

If you were to ask me to name one artist that is at the forefront of punk rock, I’d have to say Jeff Rosenstock. It’s not just that he makes fresh, interesting, relevant, progressive pop punk, it’s also that his whole approach to making music is commendable. The man puts out his music for free, for God’s sake. And even though at times his music seems to be getting ahead of itself, there’s no denying there’s something special about it.

Last time I saw Rosenstock live, that special something was evident. It was right after the 2016 election, and the concert was filled with solidarity and camaraderie. I came away from it with an even stronger feeling that whatever Jeff Rosenstock was doing, I was on board with it. This year at the Paradise I’m not so sure.

Let’s be clear: the power and fury is as present as ever in a Jeff Rosenstock show. The band knows how to unleash their songs with powerful precision and energy, and there’s no doubt that the audience is engaged and sharing this moment together. That’s more than I can say for most touring artists (not like I know of a lot). What felt peculiar this time was that it seemed like Jeff Rosenstock was dedicated to suck out the momentum from his show. This started at the very beginning with the entrance music of Foo Fighters’ the Best of You. We’re fired up and ready to go. But, Rosenstock has to bring everything to a standstill and first announce that groping is not allowed at his shows (as if that was what was stopping gropers in the first place). Fair enough, but it seems like every song was preceded by some announcement: “Everybody is going to vote, right? Everybody raise your hands and send good thoughts to Martha’s van” And gone are the days I guess where the audience is allowed to figure the show out for themselves. Songs are announced beforehand and every song is for every body (“this is for people who haven’t lost hope”). This spoonfeeding to the audience was much more apparent when Rosenstock announced that they would be playing 5 songs in a row uninterrupted (like this into itself is an accomplishment). The momentum and energy that the band built up over that time was remarkable and definitely showed what they’re capable of when they focus.

Like I said, I love Jeff Rosenstock and his whole approach to making music. This performance was a little too overindulgent and seemed a bit off. I hope it doesn’t happen again.

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