C'mon C'mon take me to the rock show
By Naomi Potter
Exhibition brochure essay for C'mon C'mon, Truck Gallery, March-April 2007
This is the biggest band you’ll find,
It’s as deep as it is wide,
Come on and join together with the band,
Hey hey hey hey hey hey, well everybody come on.
-The Who, “Join Together”
In one of those strange and unexpected twists in life, I became something of a babysitter for bands touring to the small Czech town where I used to live. As a result I have spent a lot of time in dark clubs waiting for yet another band to get on stage and rock out. Save the occasional brilliant performance, it’s boring stuff, an endless chain of anticipation that would generally fall apart after the first guitar solo. Many a night I wondered how these guys could get up there with such promise and deliver nothing. What kept me going back was the distraction of watching bands and their fans absorbed in something so pointless, united with an absolute sincerity and conviction to the music and the image. Metal, punk, alt-rock, hip-hop, you name it, each comes with a style that defines their musical lineage. I love music style - a calculated equation perfected to create an image that exposes their sound before the posters hit the street, the fans meet at the club, or the boys strut on stage.
Let’s now step up to Jo-Anne Balcaen’s stage, or rather into her club.
Lured in by the promise of a great show, wrist stamped, ready for the assault, we are slapped with the crazy re-mix of razor-styled metal and early rock’n’roll fan hysteria.
C’mon C’mon is about falling prey to the outrageous signs of desire and expectation that music of any genre constructs and then delivers at high volume. This twisted idea that “there will never be another one as desirable as you” is the edge on which most rock gods balance, and the place from which their total package is designed, assembled, and shipped out to the hungry.
The fan, as true outsider to the main spectacle, struggles to conform and, as such, to find meaning through identification. It’s a losing battle. The combined confusion of obsession and fantasy, seizing even the most level-headed, transforms them into screaming, hair-pulling, dress-ripping lunatics. Overwhelmed by the untouchable show and larger than life persona of the rock star, the fan is the epitome of frustrated desire. A desire that is continually administered like a slow drug, causing addiction, obsession, and in the end a crash as the all-dreamy guitar grinding climax is never achieved or allowed. It’s the almost hope-filled flash point that keeps the fantasy lover alive even after the lights go up and the dry ice-filled illusion reveals itself for what it is: a dirty, over-used guilty pleasure.
But in the end, what better things in the world are there than a rather nasty, secret, heart-thudding guilty pleasure? C’mon C’mon ! Let’s go see the show.