The Facebook posts came fast and furious. The one hoping for more drug overdoses than last year. The one bemoaning the death of “real” music. The one imploring “ravers” to trade in their tickets and buy guitars instead. And so on, ad nauseum. Some of the updates were jokes, obviously. And some were barely containing their poster’s resentment against the electronic dance music movement and all its colorful, supposedly drug-addled followers. Given how cyclical music culture is, surely their grandmothers are laughing.
Electric Daisy Carnival isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But it’s the most-attended music festival in the U.S. — Coachella’s repeat weekend notwithstanding — and that Las Vegas is its host city is pretty significant, both culturally and economically. It’s also apparently the breaking point for those in the music scene tired of seeing DJs grace billboards up and down the Strip, some of those DJs commanding more than $100,000 for a two-hour set during which they might press a few buttons, flirt with celebrities and check Twitter. This, to say nothing of the music they’re playing, which of course is as fake as the DJ performance itself, right?
This, to say nothing of the 99 more pressing concerns that local musicians should be discussing or concentrating on instead. Like writing songs that make a connection with the rock audience the way the Twittering DJs’ tracks are resonating with the clubbers. (It happens. Remember the fervent reactions at The Skooners’ shows?) Like rethinking the presentation of their live show, not unlike how those Strip spots have reinvisioned the nightclub experience, to foster a sense of innovation and stimulation. (Which is what Kid Meets Cougar is accomplishing right now.) Like creating sounds and rhythms that not only invigorate audiences, but make them bigger, a la electronic dance music and its millions of new fans. (Afghan Raiders. Neon Reverb. A Beauty Bar drenched in sweat. Enough said.)
Why would the rock set get so bent out of shape about the DJ world? It’s not as if all those clubbers would be opting for Deadhand if they didn’t have Deadmau5 (or vice versa, for that matter, right?) I’ll venture a guess, though: Seeing an excess of enthusiasm from the eager clubbers, and a dearth of enthusiasm from the fussy downtown crowd, must rub those hard-working musicians the wrong way. And I get it. But nevermind that party. In fact, start your own — a different kind, one that uncrosses the arms of the music fans and gives them a reason to enjoy themselves. Because that’s what everyone wants from their night out, be they a tweaker or a hipster: a good time. So give them one already.