On Scene: Punk is not dead

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— At first glance, and probably according to anyone who went to the Agent Orange concert at Steamboat Mountain Theater on Dec. 13, having a punk show in a seated venue is not the best idea.

That's mostly because having a punk show at all in a town that so rarely hosts music that lends itself to violent dancing means exceedingly giddy, yet still-violent dancing. Cram that enthusiasm into a space that's no more than 10 feet deep, with padded chairs on one side and a stage on the other, and vicious bruises are in store for everyone in attendance.

It hurts to have a rock show in this venue. But judging by crowd reaction to Agent Orange (and local openers The Plagiarists and Amputators), no one really cared about the pain they'd feel in the morning.

That's what makes any venue, even a 200-seat restored movie theater, an ideal setting for this kind of show. The less it feels like live music should be performed there, the better.

You don't need a full theater stage, light boards or even decent sound to make a punk show worth going to. Of course, the Mountain Theater has prime setup on all of those things. But it also has the local eccentricities that give a show featuring local bands the right amount of DIY character.

And all that works because, more than likely, no one at this show started listening to Agent Orange - a band that has been around for almost 30 years and helped define the surf-influenced West Coast punk scene in the early '80s - for any musical merit that would be aided by a proper music venue. Well-mixed audio and ample dancing space don't make loud, fast rock sound any better.

It's also likely that no concert attendee older than 20 started listening to Agent Orange any time in the recent past.

Here's why I started listening to Agent Orange, why I've listened to punk rock since middle school and why I still love it, even though the genre rarely actually makes it into my CD player: You don't have to know anything going into it.

Agent Orange is still playing the same three chords it was in 1979, and one more would still be too many. It's simpler than pop music, which requires a kind of brutal honesty about what your band is trying to accomplish.

Agent Orange played, and still plays, rock music that doesn't have to be about anything. And that keeps their two-minute tracks timeless.

Comments

steamboatsconscience 7 years ago

Please, Please Pilot management Make Margaret go away. Get one of our High Schoolers to do these columns At least they will be readable, and interesting. Pleazzzz!!!!!!!

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frizzsurfndestroy 7 years ago

steamboatcons...you are a fool. Many people in this community enjoy Margaret's take on the music scene here in Steamboat, as well as her wealth of knowledge on what she is talking about. Something you clearly have no grasp of. Here's a shocker; some people in this town actually like a good rock show with some diversity to it. If you don't like Margaret's point of view, or voice, don't read her articles!

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steamboatsconscience 7 years ago

frizzy as one of margaret's relatives , I understand that you want to protect your cub. It is not the subject matter of her articles that bother me, it is the way it is written. her writing makes no sense whatsoever. I cant decide if she is bashing punk rock, or if she likes it. IMHO, (that means in my humble opinion, which last time I looked was allowed in this country) her writing is sophomoric, and disjointed and most of the time leaves you wondering what the heck her point was in the first place. I have no problems with punk or "a good rock show with some diversity to it." Give me more. Just give me someone who can write about it coherently. So sorry, I will continue to (try to) read her articles and comment if I want to. Rock and Roll is "where God and the Devil shake hands". I doubt either you or Margaret can tell me what rock legend said that. Or are you diversified?

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frizzsurfndestroy 7 years ago

Hey braniac... perhaps you should check your own grammar before bashing someone else's writing. My third grader gets red marks for sentences beginning without capitols!! If you don't understand her articles, that's your own mental limitations; they make perfect sense to the rest of us punks. I barely even know Margaret, so I'm not one of her "cubs" silly, but I will defend what I feel is a good article written with wit, substance, and knowledge. It's ok to express your IMHO, though, phonetically it's hilarious! And as for your where the devil and god shake hands..I know who you are talking about..I just can't utter his name without laughing so hard I might just get frizzier... IMHO! phonetically that is!! oi oi oi.....

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Matthew Stoddard 7 years ago

As a local performer, I am glad that Margaret has taken over the 4 Points. Just the fact that she has bothered to "REVIEW" a show instead of just plugging it says volumes. She's been a great writer since she stepped in.

And it's Neil Young's quote. A lot of folks (myself included) think the man can't sing better than a tortured cat in heat, no matter how well he writes, and yet people dub him a rock legend. Kind of a bad allusion to support an argument against Margaret's writing.

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steamboatsconscience 7 years ago

hey, glad you all like her writing. i don't. and i'll continue to express that opinion. kiel like AO have voices like honey? at least neil knows more than 2 chords. merry christmas buddy.

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dimwitiguess 7 years ago

I posted this on Magaret's "What Do You Want to See in the 4-Points?" Maybe this is the place I should have posted it.

Margaret, Sorry, but I hardly look at Four Points, just enough to get my fingers on it and toss it aside. Most of the stuff in that section looks unappealing though it's obvious the attempt is to appeal and to dress it up for someone. That someone is not me. It seems to fit the "stuffed-shirt" element in this town. Esoteric and, fankly, quite boring.

There are people "outside the formal arts community" doing their thing. That's where you need to focus - on the proletariat. Your paper is creating a rubbish section.

For me you'll need to find out what the other 70% of the town's make-up enjoys. Just trying to help for what it is worth, but I'm only a dimwitiguess.

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Matthew Stoddard 7 years ago

ste-consc: That's the whole point: you don't like her writing? Fine. Don't read it. I don't listen to Neil Young (unless it's with Crosby, Stills & Nash) for the same reason. For those of us actually interested in more than just a plug for the band du jour at a bar, some of us actually prefer her writing styles over most past 4 Points writers. She writes well, with complete sentences; she obviously researches her subjects unlike past writers (7 Angry Jurors, anyone?), and helps bring insight instead of taglines. That's what I get when I read it, at least. Not everyone will see the same.

As for Agent Orange: did you go see them to make a comment about their voices? Sounds like you didn't from the post. So, how would you know what their voices sound like?

If that's not what you want, stop reading and let nature take it's course. If enough people stop reading it, I'm sure it'll get back to the Pilot.

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steamboatsconscience 7 years ago

kiel

of course she will probably be gone within a year, with or without criticism. i think we all know that the 4 pints job is pretty thankless. btw, have you ever heard of youtube? i spent some time listening to them, including stuff from the 80's, i made my comment from that. they ain't barry white. besides this wasn't about the music. i just posted a new blog addressing this in the reader forum, so lets see how she does.

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powderman 7 years ago

Hey give him a break. Have any English teacher at our high school read some of her articles and see what grade they would give her. I like to be open minded and read most articles, but it is very hard to understand what she is trying to say, and often the words do not flow.

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bubba 7 years ago

Tough Crowd!

SC, I would think the 4 pints job would be well thanked- who doesn't like a good pint?

If, of course, you are referring to 4 POINTS, you probably should be more careful with your spelling when bashing someone's writing ability- and as far as I've seen, it wouldn't be a thankless job if you weren't bashing it, or starting forums about why you don't like it.

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Matthew Stoddard 7 years ago

Honestly, I've never heard Agent Orange. I'm not a youtube kinda guy. I watch the "best of" on G4 to get the occassional giggle. I still like my 80's hair metal.

I'm not from Margaret's generation, but I have no problem understanding her. I can just see from her writing that she seems to enjoy the arts when writing about it. It means she pays attention to what's going on instead of just covering a story, the way I see it. It's refreshing, to me. That's why I loved Alison's writing: it showed interest in the subject.

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