I have a high regard for rock artists. This does not mean that I am a fan of rock stars. They are altogether different entities. I do not really care much about the headbanging ‘rock stars’ whose egos are as vulnerable as their shaken brains after a performance. But fledgling rock artists are a completely different story and a category in itself of artists who need more than anything, respect and a concert environment where they can perform for themselves without the exacting demands of rock fans on coolness and rebelliousness, where they can bang their heads out in the name of their music.
Rock artists begin their exploration of the possibilities of their art in the universities. The university plays a crucial role in ensuring that these artists are given the opportunities to pave their way to redefine rock music and to free it from the banalities of mainstream rock that has less to do with music than with personalities whose excessive use of eyebrow pencils keeps the eyebrow pencil industry afloat, whose leather pants constrict their testicles to a debilitating effect in the event they decide to have their own progeny, and whose view of the world is limited within the enclosures of a jam packed stadium. The university, however, has been found wanting in this task of encouraging the flourishing of rock music as most rock concerts in the universities are organized by students. Although it is not my object to denigrate the capability of students to organize but in most cases, and in all the concerts I’ve attended at the University of the Philippines Visayas spearheaded by overeager students clubs and organization, all these rock concerts turned out to be dead serious failure.
Below are the DOs when organizing a rock concert bound to be a flop:
1. Let lousy freshmen or sophomore students host the program. You’ll never know when they will commit stupid blunders such as forgetting the name of the band that performed 27 seconds ago and then wanting to sound cool like social climbing kolehiyalas would go on saying “You’ve just heard from the Jesus Cradle Rock….uhm…whatever.” You just do not know how this ‘whatever’ will forever scar the rock artists, forcing them to recoil back to their dark rooms with satanic pictures pasted on the walls. And the world will never hear from them again as they’ve all decided that being a wrist-slitting emo is more cool.
2. Be late; be excruciatingly late. Begin the concert two hours from the set time; bore the audience until they reach a level of exasperation that whatever pleadings made by the rock artists to change the world, end hunger and poverty, save the environment, or make love not war will be met by nothing but empty beer cans thrown at them. The organizers, meanwhile, are spared from ire of audience, who felt sacked and cheated after a long wait only to hear an unfamiliar and incomprehensible alternative rock piece composed by some unknown.
3. Choose a proportionately huge venue; the rule: the size of the place should directly proportional to the organizers’ perception of themselves and their perceived ability to gather a crowd. A venue similar to the size of Woodstock is the minimum. This will allow a glaring contrast between the venue’s vast expanse and the almost desolate area for the audience. Now this one is a classic epitome of minimalism, a philosophy espoused by some of our rock artists who think ahead of their time.
4. There’s no point in vigorously marketing the concert. In the age of Facebook, Twitter, webgroups, and send-to-many text messages, traditional marketing efforts are just a waste of time and money. But keeping some semblance and being a bit faithful to these vestiges of the old times, rock concert organizers may resort to hastily made banners declaring their intention to stage a concert. Tarpaulins are rather expensive and too bourgeois, so to heighten the effect of a concert existing solely for art’s sake, use those cheap looking banners made from recycled rice sacks. Voila! Art juxtaposed with social equitability and a hint of Marxist commentary.
5. The first-time hosts should strive to be as tasteless as possible–they can run about the stage, take pictures of themselves using cameras of their phones, and make pathetic remarks such as ‘whatever’ whenever a name of a band escapes them. In the event of an inevitable flop, the host may be requested to announce to the audience to text their friends to come to the venue as the concert is for free. A form of desperation in its ultimate form in as far as lack of taste is concerned.
6. Invite half of the entire police force of the city. This way, aside from ensuring public safety, they can inadvertently contribute to the size of the crowd. Furthermore, who knows, one of them may spot a silent observer like this blogger, and basing on how he looks, single him out to be the likeliest to make fun of the concert and write about how it flopped.