In lieu of this weekend’s Pitchfork Music festival, I’d like to pass along a great commentary article from yesterday’s Tempo section of the Chicago Tribune. It’s about the performing of seminal albums in their entirety live in concert. Pitchfork Festival started doing this last year and since have partnered with ATP’s (All Tomorrow’s Parties) Don’t Look Back series to have bands perform their landmark albums front to back. And Tribune reporter M. David Nichols makes an excellent point when thinking about this concert concept in the context of considering who a large segment of Pitchfork’s audience is: Generation Y, a generation that has been raised on and embraced the MP3 and did not grow up with the full-length album per se. Nichols also makes an excellent point about how this concept defeats one of the main reasons fans go to rock concerts and why cutting the live unpredictable element of rock n roll is not necessarily a good idea for live music.
I saw GZA perform Liquid Swords last year at Pitchfork and it was less than what it’s like to listen to the album at home with headphones strapped on and no worries of sound problems of beer spilling on me. The only plus I can see is that performing an album that was originally intended for your ears only, is that now the eyes and other senses are looped in and there’s the rare chance of hearing the album with fresh ears in a new setting. But still the experience visually is not as good as the original ears-only vision. And with hip hop, especially, an intricate album like Liquid Swords, usually falls way short live because the production quality is lost to the unpredictability of the live sound system.
After Public Enemy performs their “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back” album in its entirety tonight, I’ll be sure to talk with fans and let you know what the vibe and thoughts and feelings were like. You can watch most of the festival via P-fork.tv here.
But before the show…one quick question: What do you think about these live full-length album performances by ATP or the concept in general?