These multi-day music festivals may be the closest thing we can get to experiencing a post apocalyptic world in which only people under thirty years old survive. These survivors somehow kidnapped their favorite musical acts and forced them to play a concert. This is what Made In America felt like, and probably what Electric Zoo felt even more like, thats if you could forget about the constant advertising and overpriced food and drinks. The 11 dollar tall boys, the 5 dollar water bottles and the 15 dollar plates of chicken fingers and fries
We all know by now that two kids died at Electric Zoo this past weekend causing the concert to cancel its third and final day. I cant say I was surprised, I kinda figured a few kids overdosed and died at every one of these things. At Made In America I sat in front of a medical tent for a bit and saw underage kids being brought in on stretchers, or in handcuffs, after drinking themselves into a corpse-like state. One kid tried to run away, his body completely covered in his own caked on vomit, falling every three steps until he finally fell to the concrete sidewalk for good and then the blood started flowing.
There's no way for me to continue without sounding like an old man. You never grow up thinking that one day you're gonna be the one to say "kids these days" but then one day you do. It just made me feel really uncomfortable to see so many people so completely fucked up. I suppose this is how straight edge people feel in a bar or at a house party.
I'm not straight edge so I shouldn't talk. That morning I was dry heaving bile into my hotel room toilet bowl. I had the bright idea of drinking the whole day and night on an empty stomach. True self-reflection takes place while laying on a bathroom floor, clutching a toilet bowl.
This was the second annual Made In America festival. The first year featured Pearl Jam as one of the headliners which didn't seem to fit the rest of the bill comprised of primarily hip hop, R & B and electronic dance artists. This years lineup was similar with just a few more rock acts shoehorned in.
I suppose the point was to provide something for everyone but barely anyone cared about the rock acts. I really shouldn't be surprised when New York City has not one single contemporary rock radio station anymore. It's clear that rock music is almost non-existent in the mainstream.
The crowd for each rock act was laughable compared to the sea of people that checked out the other sets. To put it in perspective, the last two acts of the two day festival were Calvin Harris and Nine Inch Nails, in that order. The audience for Calvin Harris was as far as the eye could see. It was the biggest crowd I could remember from the whole festival (I'd imagine Beyonce had a huge crowd too but I don't remember). After his set was over the festival grounds became a ghost town. Nine Inch Nails played to a crowd that went to see them and only them. A few others who were too drunk or high to know what/who they were watching were there too.
I guess this could be a good thing. Maybe the lack of interest in current mainstream rock music means that it will come back in a new form. Could this really be the end of those cookie cutter rock bands? You know, the ones where every front man has those same nauseating gravely pretentious rock vocals. One can only hope.
I may be getting older but I'm not so off base that I can't say "maybe it's just me". The fact of the matter is that I'm reaching an age where these festival shows are becoming less and less tailored for me. If 50,000 kids are having fun at a show and then I see right through all of it, who is right? I'm fully aware I'm not the target demographic for any of this and that's fine. I just like to be aware, I wanna have an educated opinion, so it's not just me blindly hating. I like to hate with two eyes open.