[Metroactive Music]

[ Music Index | San Jose | Metroactive Central | Archives ]

[whitespace] Crowd
Photograph by George Sakkestad

Crowd Control

Summer's best moments can still happen within the impromptu community of a crowd

By Gina Arnold

By now, just about everyone has seen that TV ad in which six teenagers board the last subway home from a rock concert and fall asleep in each others' arms. "I realized it was the best night of our lives, and I wished it would last forever," the narrator intones. It makes one wonder what concert they were at: U2? Eminem? 'N Sync? Neil Diamond? No matter.

Rock shows actually do have the potential to be the best nights in our lives, which is why people pay such high prices to get into them. The fact that they can sometimes be uncomfortable and crowded doesn't matter. Rock concerts create communities out of individuals, and in this day and age of detachment, those impromptu communities are more important than ever.

Those communities are also distinct. At the rave-oriented Area:One Festival, for example, coming to Shoreline on July 31, the community will be very slightly older and more sophisticated--the liberal-arts majors of every junior college in the vicinity. At Ozzy Osbourne's OzzFest on June 29, also at Shoreline, the crowd's collars will be blue.

Yes, there's no question that rock shows (in both arenas and clubs) have much to tell us sociologically speaking. At the Old 97's show at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz on June 2, the crowd will be on the cutting edge of the Americana movement, people whose musical tastes run to Springsteen, Wilco and Steve Earle (who appears July 21 at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga). Depeche Mode's comeback concert at Shoreline on Aug. 4, however, promises to be crossover-free. Instead, it will draw a pro-U.K. rock crowd with nice haircuts and expensive shoes.

The B-52s on July 15 at Villa Montalvo should appeal to computer types in their late 30s. And as for Tom Jones at Redwood City's Fox Theater ... well, Tom Jones is an anomaly. Like Aerosmith (Shoreline, Aug. 8), he is so timeless, he could conceivably appeal to just about anyone.

Actually, every year, the core audience for rock concerts tends to skew older and older--just as the bands that tour do. There aren't that many exciting young acts right now, leaving mostly the warhorses on the road this summer. But even warhorses can still sprint.

Every summer season hits some significant highs, and this year should be no exception. Radiohead's Shoreline appearance on June 27 is much anticipated, as is the fabulous Roxy Music (featuring original members Andy McKay, Bryan Ferry and Phil Manzanera), which will be making its first appearance in 18 years, at Chronicle Pavilion in Concord on Aug. 4.

Other gigs to mark on the calendar include Wayne "The Train" Hancock at Fuel on June 8, the Cuban All-Star band the Buena Vista Social Club at Villa Montalvo on July 12, Cheap Trick's acoustic set at the same venue on July 19, and the Wallflowers at the Mountain Winery on June 26-28.

There is something for everyone out there--from 8-year-old girls to 64-year-old Beatles fans, and everyone in between. So buy a ticket to something. You, too, could have the best night of your life, like the kids in the commercial.

Summer Music Guide

Critics Choice: Reviews of select upcoming music events.

Summer Sounds: A four-month planner for all the season's best concerts.

Free For All: The summers offers plenty of chances to listen up--for nothing.

Venue Finder: Ticket and contact information.

[ San Jose | Metroactive Central | Archives ]

From the May 10-16, 2001 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2001 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.

Foreclosures - Real Estate Investing
San Jose.com Real Estate