Arcata Eye Scene

A-town art, music, theatre. Mostly music. Updated Wednesdays.

Josh Duke: Keeping the rock’n’roll flame alight

Who will save Rock’n’Roll? No really though, who’s gonna do it? Since Kurt Cobain made his grand exit we’ve been set adrift as no king (or queen) takes up the rock crown while MTV forgot somewhere during the last 10 years that they’re supposed to play music videos. Every couple of years critics will come along and try to say that such-and-such band is the next rock god that will bring the music industry out of its slump and convince us all that there’s something that’s more worthwhile to listen to than whatever phase of rock happens to be in revival this week.

This review is a lament laced with a ray of hope. Somewhere along the line rock music stopped being fun. And if it wasn’t fun, it was supposed to make us angry. Gone are the days of Stone Temple Pilots and Soundgarden. Guns’N’Roses and Smashing Pumpkins have been stripped of their dignity and talent to make way for the wasteland that we call Blue October, Three Days Grace and Puddle of Mudd. Sheer angst was replaced with whining, pathetic complaining taking the place of anger. What happened to us? How did we let this happen to one of the only things that we as Americans can say that we invented?

The Ravens don’t want to be the saviors of rock’n’roll. Which is good, because most people aspiring for the role are missing the point. It’s been a solid year since the I’ve seen The Ravens play, and it was fun. Did ya here that, people? F-U-N. I stomped my feet, I raised my fists in the air, and I knew nearly all the lyrics to their choruses just by knowing the titles of their songs. They’re not here to do anything new, they’re here to try and blow us away with anything but their natural ability to get us moving, and rock our socks off.

But what is it about them? Is it Melissa’s raging vocals, paired with a harmonica to give us that blues twist to her Siouxsie style of singing? Or is it watching Brian’s hair flail about as he delivers epic guitar solos? I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I will say that it was simple, it was raw, and it was incredibly well-rehearsed. Aside from a minute technical difficulty, they pulled that show off without a hitch (but with a former member of The Hitch, har har – JS/Eye Scene Ed.).

Sure, there were a few other bands that played that night, but putting The Ravens first saved us the time and energy of slagging through a couple bands that can’t hold a candle. I would say bill them last next time, but I know you all well enough to know you wouldn’t have stuck around so late for them to start.

Maybe our culture doesn’t really need a rock savior. Instead of focusing upon who will save the genre, maybe it’s just us, here in Humboldt, that should worry about our own rock ‘n roll souls. With our own regional hero, we’ll have little to worry about, and without a national hero, we’ll be able to distinguish ourselves as a viable music scene even further.

See, we told you sometimes Josh has nice things to say – even if the fact still surprises even him. Feedback to fun@arcataeye.com.

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