Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

Come Together There is a time-honored war strategy known as “divide and conquer,” and never has it been more effective than now. The enemy is using it against us through television, internet and other social media. I opened a Facebook account a couple of years back to gain more entries in local contests. Since then I had fallen under its spell; I rushed into judgment on several social issues based on information found on those pages

Quiet The Phones! This weekend we attended two beautiful Christmas musical events and the enjoyment of both were significantly diminished by self-absorbed boors holding their stupid iPhones high overhead to capture extremely crucial and highly needed photos. We too own iPhones, but during a public concert we possess the decency and manners to leave them turned off and/or at home. Today’s performance, the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City’s Central Methodist Church, was a new low: we watched as Mr. Self-Absorbed not only took several photos but then afterwards immediately posted them to his Facebook page. We were dumbfounded.

A Torturous Defense In defense of the C.I.A.’s use of torture in a mostly fruitless search for vital information, some suggest that the dire situation facing us after 9-11, justified the use of torture even at the expense of the potential loss of much of our nation’s moral authority.

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · Music to our ears
. . . .

Music to our ears

Robert Downes - November 22nd, 2010
Music lovers in Northern Michigan have pined for another outdoor
concert scene since the days of the Castle Farms music venue back in
the 1980s. Happily, a new concert facility planned for the Grand
Traverse Commons within the next couple of years should make that
dream a reality (details on page 10).
There have been some false starts through the years: at one time there
was a plan to establish an outdoor concert venue at Turtle Creek
Casino in Williamsburg, and some even hoped that Castle Farms would
reprise its heyday of featuring artists such as Tina Turner, Bob Dylan
and Def Leppard. Those plans didn’t turn out, but the new one looks
like a winner
While Northern Michigan doesn’t have the population to support a major
facility on par with the DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston (which
draws on an area of at least 5 million people), we do have enough
numbers here in the summer to support a smaller venue equal to that of
Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids.
And that’s approximately the size of the proposed amphitheatre at the
forthcoming Historic Barns Park on the west side of Traverse City.
If you’ve ever been to a show at Meijer Gardens, you‘ve enjoyed a
first-class operation. You bring your own low-slung chair and enjoy a
concert amid the surroundings of a fabulous sculpture park. Sandwiches
and pizza are available, as are Michigan wines and craftbrews.
Some might claim that we already have enough concert venues in the
area, but the new amphitheatre will most likely fill some needs that
are lacking in the current scene.
For one thing, a sense of ‘edge’ in the musical offerings. Locally, we
get a big dose of classic rock at the Cherry Festival and Interlochen
each year (ie. Steve Miller, Gregg Rolie, Foreigner), but there‘s not
much on the scene for concert-goers in their 20s and 30s. Bands that
appeal to younger audiences, such as Umphrey’s McGee and Dark Star
Orchestra, have had shows at the TC Opera House with unfortunate
results, owing to the trampoline nature of the floor there that can‘t
support hundreds of fans dancing to the music.
That sort of thing will be resolved at the new Historic Barns Park
stage, which is sure to be a huge tourist attraction, bringing more
dollars as well as music to the region. And wouldn’t it be nice to
enjoy a local vintage with your show? Let‘s make it happen.

***
Speaking of music... Got to admit, when I read about Jackyl’s use of a
chain saw onstage in Rick Coates‘ story about the band in this issue,
it struck me as pretty old hat. Didn’t that go out of style years ago,
along with big hair, headbands and Spandex pants?
Eminem has done the chain saw thing too, wearing his ‘Jason’ mask.
Then there are other rock clichés, like full arm tattoos, yelling into
megaphones over the mics, Catholic school girl skirts for singers,
Ramone‘s sneakers...
No need to put a statute of limitations on this stuff if the fans are
still loving it, but why not share the love? I’ve been to plenty of
snoozy folk concerts where a chain saw solo and a few flash bombs
would go a long way towards waking up the audience. And full arm
tattoos and nipple rings on performers would do wonders for the
average jazz audience, which tends to be rather on the elderly side.
Jackyl might want to ditch that chain saw and move on up to a
jackhammer to keep things fresh.

 
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