A jolly day out

In the late 1970s and 80s rock concerts were almost still exclusively youth events – anyone over 30 would have been regarded as a “weirdo” – and violence was commonplace.

There were riots all the time at gigs,” recalls Peter Hook, former bass player with New Order and before that Joy Division.” (From <article>.) 

I went to a fair few rock and punk gigs in the 80s, and, yes, they were often somewhat edgy occasions. Security was poor to non-existent, and organisation was casual. I remember coming out of a gig in the Ulster Hall with a shoe missing and my clothes torn. I didn’t even realise until I was out on the street (“where’s my fucking shoe? “lol). I knew a fellow Joy Division fan in Belfast, big bloke with a biker jacket, and his thing was to go up to the front row, wait until the gig started, and then randomly start punching people.

From this:

To this:

Nothing against the pleasant and lightweight Mr. Styles- but <headlining Slane>?!

Used to be, going to Slane (and other iconic rock venues) was a vaguely cool thing to do.  Part of this was because gig-going was often countercultural.  The bands often were made up of people who were viewed as “misfits” or “wasters”.

Your mere attendance at such events spoke of a desire to align yourself with a way of being that eluded conventional dreams, and to be present in solidarity with people your parents, teachers, and careers adviser probably would not have viewed as role models lol.  Which is how it should be.  

Nowadays, by stark contrast, gigs are safe spaces, in every sense of the word. They’re big bourgeois days out.  Styles could headline at a N Korean event.  No cultural threat to anyone or anything.  The average golf tournament would be more rock n roll than most singalong modern pop love-ins, despite the presence here of some landfill indie and the well-marketed Wet Leg.  

As they note here, the famous Glastonbury festival in England is now <“more middle-class than a Waitrose olive counter“>.

Modern pop is in probably a worse state than it was before punk in the mid-70s.  It’s a respectable career option for beige bourgeois jollification for young people with pension plans.

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