IS ALTERNATIVE MUSIC EVEN STILL ALTERNATIVE?
Years ago, to be alternative meant something. You were liberal, open-minded, and tolerant and looked out for others who were the same. Sometime in the 1990s rock music went mainstream and the very people we always wanted to distance ourselves from were suddenly in our bars and clubs regularly making dicks of themselves and throwing their toxic masculinity around like it was money thrown at strippers on their poles. Nobody liked those guys but they insisted on turning up trying to intimidate guys in makeup or LGBTQ+ rock fans. I kind of stopped going there in the end. I discovered gay bars and they had different policies with regards to letting people like that in. I found them more relaxed and nonviolent even though the music could sometimes be horrendous. So why do we even call it Alternative Music these days? It’s so mainstream that even the worst bars will churn out old grunge classics or even (the dreaded) Oasis. Maybe I should stop being a grouchy old man but these men make me uncomfortable. Since so many straight women now come to gay bars their chav admirers were quick to follow but they always make an issue out of how they are straight but they really “don’t mind” us. I mean it’s so kind of you to tolerate my existence in a party nobody invited you to. Maybe you could just leave if it’s that much trouble for you.
Alternative Music these days doesn’t even excite me that much. A bunch of mediocre indie bands churning out songs I’ve heard a million times before, and done better too. It’s very rare a rock band from the last few years will excite me and get me into them. I tend to enjoy weird underground stuff veering more towards electronic sounds. The reason being is that all the cool parties I go to have people on Ketamine or MDMA dancing to these rhythms. It just seems more fun for me. And a lot of gay based electronica I’ve discovered online seems to have a more relevant political message than anything these indie bands are producing. I rue the day that record companies churned out these shit guitar based bands because it was “cool”. The people who like that scene probably really never “got” the scene in the first place. It’s shite to the N’th degree and quite frankly full of wannabes and pretenders.
Not to say that if I go to the rock scene I don’t have a good time. I always do. It just doesn’t hold the same interest to me that it once did. But even the gay scene has become boring. Endless drag queens and karaoke mean that the Cardiff gay scene at least has become like some tacky holiday resort. London is a lot better but these bars need to realise that not all gay men and women like drag and cabaret. I know that one Cardiff bar tried to put on a rock night but it wasn’t successful unfortunately. Maybe a bigger city like London or Manchester can accommodate more diversity but in Cardiff it just wasn’t a hit. But Alternative Music doesn’t have to be grunge, metal and indie. There is a plethora of interesting electronic based acts in Europe who have a small following and are in every sense of the word “alternative”. My friend Ryan regularly sends me music by underground artists he has discovered and it’s truly on the fringes of society. We are soon going to watch two bands called TR/ST and Kontravoid and I know it will be a wicked experience at both. Lots of dancing, drinking and random flirting with guys who don’t have fragile egos ,and end up punching me because I danced too closely next to them.
If you haven’t hear of TR/ST and Kontravoid I would recommend looking them up on Spotify or YouTube and checking them out. Ketamine vibes all around.
WHAT IS ALTERNATIVE MUSIC?
Alternative music is traditionally guitar based music that was on the outskirts of popular culture. As that has become more mainstream, electronica has carved out a niche amongst the alternative crowd.
Can guitar music ever make a comeback as truly “alternative”?
I don’t know. But I do know that it has to be doing something that current society will truly hate. It’s how cool things always start. The “in” crowd never catch on to a scene in the early days. Whilst I listen to a lot of Electroclash and EBM, most people think it’s garbage, particularly if the singer is some fucked up drag queen singing about how she got fucked in the ass whilst her head was swimming in Amyl Nitrate. I don’t think society has quite got to that stage yet. Lol. But who knows what the next decade holds?
What I can predict is that in 10 years, LGBTQ+ people will be as accepted as the fact that grass is green. Also, Pineapple on Pizza will be normal as everyone realises they were wrong about that too. Haha. Maybe.
We are moving more towards fluidity with regards to sexuality and gender. Of course, right now we have a few dinosaurs (more than a few) who insist on trying to drag us back to the stone age but that is only because sexuality and gender are things that they secretly struggle with and rage is a good camouflage.
This means we will have more LGBTQ+ musicians and artists and they will feel more and more free in expressing themselves without fear of violent reprisals.
What I would also like to see is more POC making waves in this new fluid culture. It seems that hip-hop culture in the hood of New York for instance are quite misogynistic and homophobic in what they express. I would love for POC to lead the revolution in emancipation from toxic masculinity. They deserve the freedom more than anyone.
So, in conclusion I will say that the rock scene is still good and still relevant. I’m not arguing that it isn’t. Live music is important in keeping the very culture of people leaving their homes to have a drink, alive.
But I just wish there was more musical diversity in these cool venues. I hope the gay scene becomes more musically diverse too but that’s a separate issue.
Let’s have more Electroclash and EBM as well as 80s metal cover bands and grunge throwbacks. It’s not like the crowd who go there don’t also like these things.
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