Sunday, July 09, 2006

Rhythm & Code Blue

Twang, thrum. Thump, thump. "Cough. This on?"
These were the sounds of trouble. A cover band was warming up, tuning up, doing a sound check. Whatever it was, it portended bad noise in the mall.
Every Sunday this upscale Marin County mall provides electrical outlets so some jokers with guitars and microphones can visit their fantasies of superstardom on folks who just want to spend the day shopping and sipping lattes. Or maybe the idea is to drive the crowds into the stores where they can at least hear CD compilations of the original versions of corny old rock 'n' roll songs.
If that was the idea, it wasn't working. People actually sat around listening to this graying group of buffoons hacking away at their instruments a few miles from the homes of real graying rockers like Huey Lewis, Bonnie Raitt and a couple of the living Grateful Dead. There were three guys and two women, average age 53, and they were inappropriately unashamed, as my wife put it.
Between all of them they might have hit an average of two notes right in each song, but in the wrong place. You had to grit your teeth and listen real hard to tell if they were covering a Stones song or an Airplane song. The drum solo sounded like the janitor carting away a barrel of litter, only without the rhythmic broken wheel. Yes, there was a drum solo.
We moved as far away as we could without going into the parking lot, but everybody else stayed put, swaying erratically to the beatlessness and occasionally applauding. Dozens of people in the crowd were old enough to belong to AARP, which meant they were Boomers who grew up on rock, or they were Boomers' parents who condemned it when their kids listened to it. Either way they should have hated this stuff.
So there we sat at the far end of the mall, too old to let go of our music and too young to be totally deaf. Too bad.

Photo credit


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