Washington State Fair Events Center Tacoma/Olympia Area
Thurs Sept 12, 7:30 pm 21+
Recommended by Kyle Fleck
There’s a scene in Gus Van Sant’s 2005 film Last Days in which the main character, a Kurt Cobain stand-in played by Michael Pitt, is strung out beyond repair, watching MTV. The iconic video for Boyz II Men’s "On Bended Knee" begins to play, and the pasty hero prostrates himself in front of the screen, the church-like harmonizing and gentle piano offering the dope-riddled man child redemption in the unlikely cathedral of pop music. Of course, modern indie artists, chief among them How to Dress Well, have also decided ’90s R&B is a fertile ground for inspiration, lifting keyboard sounds and drum tracks and repurposing them for lo-fidelity paeans of their own. Perhaps this is the so-called New Sincerity movement at work. After the irony-as-self-defense underground of the ’90s and ’00s, artists have decided laying claim to the melodrama of their emotions is acceptable. All of which would be moot if Boyz II Men’s music were a laughing matter, but these power balladeers’ best stuff holds up, in our collective unconscious’ Platonic prom.