One fine day a guitarist plugged his guitar into a thing that amplified its sound. From that moment on the era of modern music began, what you heard was no longer an exact and reliable copy of what a human being as a transmitter of sound was able to produce alone with an acoustic instrument and more importantly, somebody invented rock and roll and pop music as a classical model of our contemporariness. It was the beginning of an exciting era in the history of music but in the 50s they automatically considered it a sham, a scandal, a swindle.
So John Maus’ concert divided the audience in the Círculo de Bellas Artes de Madrid, so what? Fantastic, the same thing happened the first time Elvis appeared on TV, the first time Dylan went electric, when the Pistols recruited a bassist who didn’t know how to play, when Kraftwerk did a concert with robots or when Public Enemy started using sirens. Since when is a concert better or worse because of certain technical decisions? What makes John Maus a less worthy proposal than Suicide, Flaming Lips, Sunn))) or anyone who plays using overdubs, who doesn’t use fancy arrangements or doesn’t have an orthodox voice? Trying to mark the limit of what does or what is does not constitute a valid live proposal is a lost cause.
John Maus played at Primavera two years ago with such a proposal. It was a success, as was his concert this year in the Casino de l’Aliança. Let’s be honest: Maus has been developing his language with this type of performance for years and we think it is fabulous, whatever anyone says. That’s what John Maus is all about, full stop and by the way, it is more than commented on, on the net.
To many of us it is added value to instrumental expertise to see an artist going beyond his talents and it is difficult for us to understand why this needs to be explained once again. Others, of course, can think differently. I wouldn’t be surprised if they had a poster of Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup on the wall of their houses…
What we must remember at Primavera Sound is that anybody can leave a specific concert of the festival if they don’t like what they see and hear (there are other bands playing on other stages), rather than throwing a glass at a person which is at best reprehensible and at worse criminal.
Abel González, PS.