A Year in Concerts, Part I: From Slayer to the Symphony

Images of a Slaytanic Symphony

From Slayer to the Symphony and many others in between, we've seen it all in 2010. Most importantly, these experiences reveal similarities and differences of all live music events, bringing out the best and worst in all of us.

2010 was another good year for live music. Many of us have seen at least a few shows here or there, and some of us have spent more time in front of towering stacks of PA speakers than with the very persons we claim to love. While tastes and genres may vary from show to show, there are a few undeniable truths and dynamics present at almost every club, concert hall or arena — no matter who is playing that night. The live music experience is defined — and measured — by the way fans react to the performance, and music of any kind has the ability to trigger piloerection (that means to make the hair on the back of your neck stand up, not what those of you with your mind in the gutter might think).

There are also many differences in the way people “do” things at a concert that, when compared to audience behavior and etiquette twenty years ago, seem odd, out of the element, or extremely annoying. In this article, I will reflect on some of the more memorable shows of 2010 and examine the good, bad, and lessons learned over the course of the past year in concert-going.  Some phenomenons are present across various genres and types of shows, yet each show retains a unique nuance that serves as the sole fleeting memory of what transpired on any given night.  And some of these phenomenons just plain kick ass.

First, let’s examine an item of ubiquity sure to be present at each and every concert, no matter how big or small: the video camera phone.

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Elections 2010: California Experiences “High Voter Turnout”

Proposition 19 Triggers Spike in Voter Registration among Liberal Pothead Demographic

California boasts an illustrious political history that few states can match.  Over the past 50 years, the Golden State has given us presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, and more recently, has provided us with other iconic public figures with equally impressive track records such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Nancy Pelosi.
Image of Prop 19 Banner
Perhaps even more notorious than the politicians spawned from California are the ubiquitous, controversial propositions that appear on ballots during each election cycle.  In addition to potentially altering legislation, these hot-button issues serve mainly to anger and divide citizens of the state, as well as the rest of us across the U.S. who must rely on our elected officials to overturn our civil and Constitutional rights rather than do so by our own hand.

Two years ago, Proposition 8—the infamous bill to ban marriage between homosexuals—took center stage in California and garnered the attention of the entire nation.  The costly campaign to drive voters to the polls and support the measure drew enormous amounts of external funding, much of it coming from the religious right who reside beyond state lines.  As a result, California became a moral and political battleground for American politics.

We all know what happened.  Droves of frenzied citizens flocked to voting booths to exercise their unfounded authority to deny alternative segments of fellow Californians the right to legally marry each other.  On the other side of the spectrum, people turned out in record numbers to vote against the proposition only to be ultimately outnumbered by selfish heterosexuals who wish to reserve the legal right to marry–and subsequently cheat, divorce, and sue–as a sacred privilege to be shared only between a man and a woman.

This year, California ballots will feature a much different issue to be put up for public vote: Proposition 19—the move to legalize marijuana.  While the outcome remains to be seen, one thing is imminent: high voter turnout.  Pun intended.
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Satanic Witchcraft vs. Marxism: Elections 2010

Delaware Senate race to showcase epic battle between good and evil

In case you haven’t noticed, the never-ending cycle of campaign politics is rearing its ugly head yet again in our beloved United States of America.  Much like the previous decade of dualistic political struggle, it is another exercise in snake oil sales and soothsaying—a tired act that only masks the candidates’ true intentions as they jockey for position to wrap their bloated sausage fingers around the withering teat of our nation’s cash flow.  A flow, mind you, comprised of hundreds of billions of dollars in payday loans from our friends in communist China.

The race for one of Delaware’s seats in the U.S. Senate promises to offer a close-up look at the universal struggle between Good and Evil, or Republicans (or a Tea Partier who is really a Republican in disguise) vs. Democrats.  However, the roles are completely redefined in this latest clash, where the Great Satan is now manifest in a Republican form, but faces an evil even greater than Lucifer himself—a Marxist.

Photo of Satan and Karl Marx

Satan (left) and Karl Marx (right) square off in a battle of who is the greater evil. According to Fox News reports, Marx and his proponents have just taken over the universe's No. 1 rank of Supreme Being of Evil from Satan.

Before we get to the Main Event, let’s take a look at the Tale of the Tape. Continue reading