When I found out that POLYSICS, the Greatest Band In The World, were coming to play a show in Milwaukee, I laughed it off. After all, this is a band that has never played anywhere near Wisconsin, let alone venture within the borders to permanently rock our Midwestern faces off. The Japanese powerhouses were far too busy selling out baseball stadiums in Tokyo and releasing genre-defining albums to pay us doughy losers lip-service. It made no sense to me; I rolled over and went back to sleep under my cubicle at work. Don’t tease me like that, Wrinkled Hand of Fate.
I then remembered that POLYSICS recently signed a distribution deal with MySpace Records (unfortunate, but effective) in the United States, which meant a US tour would follow. Hmmm, maybe this was about to become a reality.
Say what you want about MySpace, but it knows how to make money and pander to a specific demographic. And regardless of if the MySpace crowd understood the brilliance of Polysics, at least they would be able to sell a lot more records in the US than they used to. When I bought the first 3 POLYSICS albums, I had to order directly from Japan at a cost of over $50 an album. That’s about a billion Yen, I think. With this new deal, POLYSICS albums would be $10 at Best Buy, wedged in between Peter Gabriel and Prince albums. I could roll with this.
So, as part of their new contract, POLYSICS get to hit the road on their biggest United States tour ever. Hitting clubs all over the country (including Milwaukee and Chicago), thousands of kids now get a chance to see sheer brilliance that they probably would have never known existed otherwise. I was pleased as punch, and very happy for my favorite band.
However, because they’re virtually unknown to the US mainstream this point (sadly), POLYSICS will be opening the show, with HelloGoodbye and Say Anything functioning as co-headliners. You’d think that this would bother me, but it’s actually pretty cool. This is a good gateway for POLYSICS to infiltrate the target US demographic that throws tons of cash at their favorite bands. They’re sitting on a potential goldmine here, even though they are globally more rich, respected and famous as HelloGoodbye and Say Anything combined. No bother, I know that most people think music begins and ends in the States.
Still, I’m going to the show(s), and I’ll stay to watch everyone play. HelloGoodbye doesn’t bother me too much. Sure, ‘Forrest’ is kind of an idiot that got extremely lucky when it came to a record deal (the prowess of Drive-Thru Records has fallen from grace faster than Britney Spears and Whitney Houston combined), but he writes catchy tunes and they know how to market their stuff. In fact, I think that ‘Shimmy Shimmy Quarter Turn’ is a pretty awesome track, but then again, I really like Prozzak, too. Take from that what you will.
Say Anything is a bit more annoying, but I like Max Bemis because he’s an insecure asshole with some crippling emotional problems. I can relate to that, and he also says that Saves The Day is his favorite band. It’s nice to see bands like Say Anything reference that fact that Saves The Day already did everything that needed to be done with this particular style of music, and everyone else is just attempting to parody them. I appreciate honesty.
However, it’s always sad when a wildly respected and popular band opens for a younger band with a younger fanbase during a tour. They’re out of their element, nobody knows who they are and nobody cares. I remember seeing Ash open for Saves The Day a few times in 2005, and I was shocked to see that none of the kids knew who they were. Same deal when The Velvet Teen opened for Minus The Bear. You’d think that one or two of ’em would have stumbled upon them by now.
Seriously though, HelloGoodbye and Say Anything have no idea what they’re in for. POLYSICS will take the stage every night and destroy everyone. No shoegazing, no taking it easy for a night, no drugs or bouts of depression. They know one speed and one speed only: Murder. The kids in the crowd won’t have any idea what hit them, and POLYSICS will be selling out of merch every single night. Soon, POLYSICS will be on MTV, J-Pop will invade the United States mainstream and all the scene kids will be wearing matching jumpsuits to school.
At least I can dream, right? Whatever, dude.
When I was in a band at the end of the 90’s, the birth of internet file sharing had barely begun. Before MySpace, MP3.com was the only place for an up-and-coming band to get exposure, and it was so primative at the time that you couldn’t ‘stumble upon’ anything. You either already knew the band beforehand, or you weren’t going to be listening to music. We were on the cusp of having to tour to gain fans, versus recording something in your basement and releasing it for the world to hear the next day.
Today, there’s more ways to share and create music at a hobo’s cost than ever before. From an artistic point of view, bringing previously-expensive methods of expression down to consumer cost is always a good thing. YouTube and MySpace have led the revolution to killing the notion of ‘celebrity;’ people now want to be entertained by people just like themselves. That’s rad, especially for reclusive writers like myself that hate authority and love money.
Let’s start New Wave Jacket. Have a good weekend.