5 Things I Never Wanna See When I Go See A Band!

1. Keytars

Can we get one thing straight, please? Keytars are not cool, even when used in an ironic manner. I remember when I first saw the Cars in-concert and diminutive synth-man Greg Hawkes stepped out from behind his array of keyboards and strapped on a keytar. The poor guy, after sitting on a stool for the first hour of the band's set just wanted to stretch his legs, but, in doing so, he scarred this writer - and many others in the audience, we can presume - for life.

Having said that, there is one, and only one, exception to this rule: Devo.

2. Flying V's

Look, Flying V guitars are cool as shit, but if the wrong band or musician plays one, it throws off the whole aesthetic. Don't believe me? When people ask me what kept Husker Du from finding the mass audience that they deserved, my answer is simple: he was the wrong guy to be playing a Flying V, the same way Paul Westerberg would have been if he'd have strapped one on.

A few bands who CAN pull off the Flying V: Skynyrd, KISS, Eagles of Death Metal.
Bands who CAN'T: Everybody else.

3. Three Chicks And A Dude

I dunno about you, but anytime I see a band with one female member, the rest of the band immediately becomes invisible to me. I'll bet good money that I am not alone in this, but when you flip the equation around and see a band of all women, but there's one dude in the band, all I can think about is how fucking lucky this dude must be. Oh, get your mind out of the gutter. Okay, sure, he may be romantically involved with one of the gals, but, even if he isn't, he is the absolute envy of every dude in the audience. In other words, we hate him, the lucky bastard.

4. Pyro

Ever since the Great White tragedy, I am always completely dumbfounded any time I see a band still using pyrotechnics. Any band that remains convinced that their performance just won't "pop" without some pyro needs to consider that by employing pyro, you are taking an entire audience's attention off of you and on the nearest fire exit.

5. Singer-Songwriters Who Tune Their Guitar Between Songs

There is a good way and a bad way to tune your guitar between songs. The good way is to have your roadie do it, the bad way is to BUY A GUITAR THAT STAYS IN TUNE. Most annoying of all are those who ignore the entire audience for what seems like an eternity while they tune away.

Then, of course, there are those who make a few jokes about having to tune their guitar or have some pleasant banter at-the-ready while they perform this task, but it's still annoying. I've seen Cheap Trick dozens of times, yet I've never seen a band member tune their guitar onstage.

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  1. You're a musician. Things bother you that bother fans less. But I've got to disagree on your "Three Chicks and a Dude" point. Just recently I saw a NYC bar band, Jane Lee Hooker (both a great name and an awful name, but a name nevertheless for a five-woman band doing blues covers and blues originals) who opened for Ike Reilly (who IS the real deal, and is located out your way) at a NYC club. Jane Lee Hooker was fun, the lead singer had stage presence, and the band members were a couple of notches better than a bar band. But I kept saying to myself, "The fact that the band consists of all women doing Muddy Waters and Johnny Winter makes Jane a dull girl. If there was a GUY in the band then I wouldn't see the band so much as an all-gal band, and then could take them seriously. N-o-v-e-l-t-y. The Bangles and The Go-Gos were exceptions because in The Bangles case, they had GREAT original material, and as for The Go-Gos, they had great songs and super stage presence, AND they sang about trifles." And yes, even when I think to myself I think in whole sentences, and have been doing so since the age of seven. It's a real weight on my otherwise weight-free shoulders.

    1. Have you seen Kathy Valentine's latest all-girl band The Bluebonnets? They've toured with Jane Lee Hooker and are the real deal, to my eyes and ears anyway. In their case, I think a guy in the band would completely minimize their visual impact and perhaps ruin the chemistry since while they do pack quite a punch, they do so without being overly muscular, which was my gripe with the lone guy in The Prissteens.

    2. Will look out for The Bluebonnets. Had not even heard the name before. Good ... I've got something to track down this morning.