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Saturday, May 07, 2005

A cover band that played at the hostel I'm staying at last night did a medley of

- "Imagine" by John Lennon
- "Walk on the Wild Side" by Lou Reed
- "You Can't Always Get What You Want" by The Rolling Stones

Instead of doing a traditional medley, they would do one verse of one song, and then trade verses with the other songs, going back and forth until they finally finished about twelve minutes later. The setup of the band was an upright acoustic bass, two acoustic guitars, and a guy with a harmonica, which actually does prove that you can't always get what you want when what you want is a band in the Southern Hemisphere that doesn't sound like an impression of Jack Johnson if he were about two-thirds less talented than he is now.

I don't hate all cover bands, nor do I hate all long songs1, I just hate long meandering solos that don't go anywhere and have no point2, and I hate really crappy covers of songs that add nothing to the original. I understand that these bands are really only in existence because people want to hear their favorite standards in a live setting, and they're entitled to their opinion--I guess I just hate getting trapped in a venue listening to bands that I don't want to listen to.

1 One of my favorite recordings of all time, Van Morrison's Astral Weeks features five songs (out of eight total) that are over five minutes long. Miles Davis' Bitches Brew has songs that are over thirty minutes long. Neu! and Kraftwerk are notorious for lengthy tunes ("Autobahn" for example). Not to mention Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here.

2Boy, do I hate the Allman Brothers' live sets, and Phish, and Trey Anastacio, and The Greatful Dead. I guess I just want the statement to be said, and finished. I'd rather be left wanting more than resentful that Gregg keeps starting another round of solos on each instrument, goddamn it.


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