Shock of the Old

Nostalgia gigs, Berlin. June 2012.

70s Rock Must Die.” Released at the tail end of the grunge era, you couldn’t help but snicker. Arriving too late to discredit the next-wave power ballad revival led by bands like Nickleback, Lard’s AC/DC parody was a welcome reminder of a forgotten punk value: anti-nostalgia.

Still suffocating under the weight of classic rock radio programming, and its catering to the long gone youth of aging boomers, thousands of well-deserving punk bands, whose music also spoke to their moment, would never get heard. Enough with Aerosmith, and its hip replacement rock. Let’s hear it for Brujeria instead.

Seeing a billboard plastered with posters advertising gigs for aging rock stars in Berlin, its clear that nostalgia still sells. This particular installation is especially interesting in this regard. The artists advertised chart a progressive historical arc, moving from the 1960s through the 1980s, from corny surf pop to coffeehouse folks, early heavy metal, and 1980s glam. The only thing missing is punk.

As much loathing as these gig adverts might invoke, not all is bad. Leonard Cohen, for all the drawbacks of his most recent work, is still an ace guy. Just listen to his early records. No one plays those anymore.

Photograph courtesy of Joel Schalit 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.