Tuesday, 22 December 2009
Le Pub, Newport 17/12/09
Is hc a product? Do we need more people at gigs wearing more t-shirts buying more vinyl? Does it come down to money at the end of the night? Don't get me wrong, a little bit of money will always make things easier for bands, so keep buying the merch, but DIY effort and self empowerment will give hc its legitimacy and ultimately its ability to last.
So what are live music, split 7 inches and shirt designs if they aren't products? They are energy, ideas and attitudes captured to help communicate the spirit of hc's fight back. New Morality are a perfect example of what live music can show about a band. I went to see them because I knew they would be great live. Cornered had set Le Pub on fire a few weeks ago and my impression is that dutch bands can be trusted to offer honesty, intelligence and passion. Ferdinand plays drums in both bands, Jonne is the bass player in Cornered and the frontman for New Morality. I was expecting something when they stepped up on stage but all of us in the crowd were in a strange mood. It was as if we wanted to be entertained. As if we were asking "What have you got?" This isn't fair because we should be giving our dutch friends an unconditional welcome after their long journey. But we just stood there...we weren't in the mood at all.
"So who is going to a funeral tomorrow?" Jonne asked. No one replied.
("What have you got?")
It's like we are treating the band as a product.
("We've paid our money. We've come out on a cold Thursday night...What have you got?")
And then, as the first chord sounded, we all found out! New Morality have an extra dimension as a live band. Jonne likes to force a reaction out of the crowd. He likes the fight and it is clear he doesn't want the easy life. He enjoys the pressure of challenging people's perceptions. He told me afterwards that he constantly wants to start an argument. An argument in its truest sense, a dialogue, a persuasion. A new morality? Yes, my guess is that his motivation is to inspire people to a fresh way of looking at life. Real values for real problems. Everything that New Morality showed onstage was a call to mobilise against the forces that have squeezed the vitality out of our old ideals. It is time to look at old things with a new clarity and resume the fight with more purpose.
We spoke after the gig about the rise of right wing politics in the Netherlands and the problem of lazy sloganeering in politics that goes unquestioned in the media. There is a danger that the lyrics of our favourite new bands are nothing more than words. They will be if we don't get inspired and get involved. New Morality showed how hc is so much more than a product.
"So who is going to a funeral tomorrow?"