1. YOU FUCKHEADS.
Have you no respect, no purity of vision, no soul? Do you love the sound of your tepid, mediocre opinions that much you can't even stay quiet for the 30 minutes or so required to take in Lou Barlow's stunning, heartfelt solo set at the Sub Pop party on Sunday night? Sure, I appreciate that you were there to enjoy yourselves and feel like you were part of some spurious "scene," but... fuck it. You think something as life-affirming as Lou singing songs from Sebadoh's gorgeous new album, The Sebadoh--unaccompanied save for a stuttering drum machine and a quieted acoustic guitar--happens every night... every year, even? You stupid fuckheads. You don't fucking deserve the occasional talent you find in your midst.

And to those wankpots behind me loudly complaining about how Mr. Barlow was ruining your favorite songs: If by "ruining" you mean "putting his whole heart and essence" into songs like "Tree" and "Love is Stronger," the way he presented them so starkly, unadorned and beautiful, then fine. Strange use of the English language, though. Someone should buy you a fucking dictionary.

2. You fuckheads.
Why even bother going to rock shows? Tuesday night I caught Freddy Cole (Nat "King" Cole's brother) at the Jazz Alley... where do I begin? The smooth, sinuous professionalism of the main performer? His cool, languid baritone voice, which oozed a naive worldliness and a sincere belief in love? His piano playing, so fluid, so graceful, so full of humor and warmth? His salsa-loving band, the guitarist sitting all laid-back and perfectly poised? His guest singer, Dizzy Gillespie's daughter Jeanie Bryson--a fine, voluptuous '90s approximation of Peggy Lee (as evinced by her breathy reading of "Fever")? Or perhaps I should talk about respect... the way the performers were allowed space to shine by the audience, the way the audience wasn't herded around like cattle and frisked by security the way punters often are at $20 shows, the way everyone was so relaxed.

Contrast this with Sebadoh at the Showbox on Monday night--a mediocre show, even by indie rock's tame standards. Fan pressed against fan, cigarette smoke hurting the eyes, a soundman who couldn't be bothered to do his job properly, songs which occasionally flashed into brilliance, but more often than not sounded greygreygrey. And Sebadoh is one of indie rock's brightest flames!

By contrast, Freddy Cole was so unassuming, graceful, and moving in his art: almost the exact inverse of every alto-rock act extant. It's not as if his gorgeous, husky voice was that important. What mattered was how he felt his way around a song--his intonation, his timing, his pointed asides--his perfectly natural, inspirational flurries of piano to flesh out the stand-up bass and drums. There were melodies! Heartfelt, witty lyrics! Do any rockers remember those?

3. You fuckheads.
Why the downer on all-ages shows? No wonder this country's music scene is so stunted, so retarded. Due to some weird, nebulous age definition, people are excluded from taking part in events just at the time they're at their most receptive. No wonder Seattle crowds have such a world-weary cynicism, such a jaded complacent attitude. There's never any fresh life breathed into a stagnant, decaying scene, there's no chance of any energy coming from anywhere. Here's where the U.K. has the edge every time: Teenagers are allowed to mix with "adults"! Fancy!

So under-21s aren't allowed into rock shows where alcohol is being served? Then don't fucking serve alcohol at rock shows. Harsh--but we've already seen the alternative. Either that, or quit complaining about how dull everyone around you is.

4. You fuckheads.
Rock show encores: Why bother? The band come onstage, they play their songs, they leave. All well and good. Want to play more songs? Then play more songs--in your damn set! Why go through that ridiculous routine every night--especially as most of you have to embarrass yourselves by hurrying back onstage before your half-dozen semi-interested fans stop applauding.

5. You fuckheads.
Next week I'm leaving this country for good, and you know what? I'm gonna be missed by a shitload more people than I'm gonna miss. You still need some entertainment, imagination, and bitter humor in your everyday, humdrum lives? You'd better start boning up on British cable TV, then. I've had it up to way past here with your whining, back-stabbing, incestuous, rumor-driven, depressingly mediocre "scene."

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