Category Archives: Overrated Shit

Overrated Shit #4: Mumford & Sons live, 09/02/13

I’ve been to two choreographed, big-time concerts in my life. I saw Roger Waters do The Wall a couple of summers ago in Indianapolis, and if you can afford it (it isn’t cheap), I’d recommend it. It’s an incredible mix of live and digital effects, along with the awesome soundtrack, of course. And the scale is something which isn’t often replicated by other live shows, although I’d imagine Madonna and U2, to name a couple, could probably pull it off.

The other staged show I witnessed was the New Kids on the Block, back in 1990 in Peoria, Ill. A plethora of choreographed dancing, a big video screen, at least one of the Kids floating over the crowd during songs. Lots and lots of teenage girls screaming. While the music wasn’t much to write home about, the show was pretty impressive.

So when I saw Mumford & Sons on Labor Day at Klipsch near Indy, these are the two shows I thought of over the course of the night’s tightly choreographed show. Unfortunately, Mumford came off more New Kids and less Waters.

It started with the big video screens. I began to notice how every shot was perfect, the framing, the lighting, the cuts. It was like the final version of a concert video, that well done. Thing is, you can’t do that unless you know precisely where every band member is going to be at all times. I also started to realize that none of the backing band was ever on video, even if soloing. And when someone (crew? member of opening bands?) ran onstage with a cowbell and was playing with Mumford & Sons, the cameras never cut to what I now know to be the only spontaneous act in that show.

The last thing that really struck me, though, was each song sounded pretty much exactly like the album version. No, Mumford and the fellas weren’t lip syncing. But they weren’t re-working the arrangements much, jamming, changing instrumentation, nothing much to distinguish what they are capable of as a live band compared to what they create in the studio.

That’s what frustrates me. I have friends who saw Mumford & Sons in a club in Louisville a year ago, and they raved about the show, the energy, the jamming. I saw none of that. I saw a band determined to give each of their Grammy-loving fans the same show, from Boston to Bakersfield. An Applebee’s-ization of music.

It really sucked the heart out of the show for me. When I go to a live show, it’s the opportunity to see improvisation, re-working of the catalog, how the band connects with the audience. At Mumford & Sons, I was served the equivalent of the opening number at the Academy Awards. And while I know some people gobble that up – just as many of the people at that Labor Day show did – I’m not interested in swallowing that bile.

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Overrated Shit #3: The two-party system

So Joe goes to the doctor one day. The doc checks him, asks him questions and comes to the conclusion that Joe is probably diabetic. They talk about diet, exercise, possible solutions. Through the course of the conversation Joe comes to tell his doctor, “Well, I probably drink 10-12 cans of Coke a day.” The doctor tells him to cut it out, that with his condition this habit will kill him. “No more Coke.” So Joe, being a good patient, goes home and pours his remaining Cokes down the drain. Then he goes out and buys a 12-pack of Pepsi.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is two-party politics: An exercise in self-delusion and self-destruction.

George W. Bush was the most secretive president ever, started two unnecessary wars, ignored the will of the people in states that legalized pot for sick folks, gave enormous no-bid contracts to all his daddy’s and Dick Cheney’s friends, gave huge tax cuts to all his daddy’s and Dick Cheney’s friends, bailed out his grandpa’s big banking buddies without a thought or a prosecution, and so on.

And so we elected hopey changey Barak Obama … who continued Bush’s secrecy, didn’t stop the Iraq war (we were partially kicked out and still have thousands of troops there), increased prosecution of legal growers of marijuana, decreased prosecutions of financial crimes (to a 20-year low), continues our unnecessary and expensive war in Afghanistan, has not repealed the economic destruction known as the Bush tax cuts and so on.

Coke, meet Pepsi.

I voted for Barak Obama last time. I don’t regret that vote, because no matter what an incredible disappointment he and his entire administration have been, they’re better than the assholes that preceded them and are damn sure better than McCain and his crew would have been.

But that’s not good enough. So he won’t be getting my vote this time. That honor goes to Libertarian Gary Johnson.

I live in Indiana, where we know who is going to win this state: Mitt “I will do anything for money and Mormonism, in that order” Romney. So what is the point of voting for either major party candidate? It’s a wasted voted. The federal government will continue to ignore our state, as do the presidential candidates.

However, let’s say the Johnson took 10 percent of the Indiana vote. That would raise some eyebrows among the Republicrats. Because what is the last thing our two-party douchebags want to do? Share power with anyone other than the douchebags sitting across the aisle from them.

Real change won’t be a fast process. It won’t be an easy process. But if Americans want real change, voting third party is the only option. The Republicrats are bought and paid for. The corruption is so endemic that the only way they will really change is if they have a real fear of losing power.

This is the first step. Vote third party. Do it again in 2016. Do it again in 2020. Keep it up until the Republicrats have something to fear. Vote for change, true change, not promised change that disappears the day after the vote.

Vote for Gary Johnson for president. I will be.

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Overrated Shit No. 2: Pizza King

Yummy. Let's eat pizza.

I’m probably going to make some enemies with this one. Few things are sacred in this world. In eastern Indiana, you don’t mess with the King.

To start, I will concede that I occasionally love me some Royal Feast. Greasy, cheesy, meaty … mmmmm. Calling in your order from the telephone at your table is fun. For those of you who have been to Clara’s in Richmond, you’ve seen the double-decker bus that is in the middle of the restaurant. Pizza King does do some unique things, and its product is good cheap pizza.

The problem is, that while it tastes like good cheap pizza, it doesn’t cost like good cheap pizza. It’s a bit pricey for what it is. In general, I’d rather eat pie from the now-defunct T-Dubs, local fave Greeks or even Papa John’s. I’ll either get a better pizza (T-Dubs and Greeks) or a better deal (Papa John’s).

Another reason I’m not ringing the king anytime soon: The way the ingredients are all ground up reminds me of the student sausage scene from Pink Floyd’s The Wall. Not appetizing.

Sorry, Pizza King. You are overrated.

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Overrated Shit No. 1: Sorry

I make no apologies for my loathing of Sorry. This game isn’t about winning; it’s about trying to make sure no one else wins until one day, maybe, way too long after the game first started, someone lucks into a victory. It’s hard to get a piece out of Start, then it’s way too easy to get a piece kicked back to the beginning. The last time I played, we went through a deck and half of cards before I got my first piece out of the starting area. I wasn’t playing the game. I was watching it.

There are so many better options out there: UNO, Go Fish, euchre, double-deck euchre, Battleship, Monopoly, etc. Games with better tempo, better strategies, games that entertain and engage instead of frustrate and enrage.

Sorry, Sorry. You are unworthy of the hype.

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