I'm Too Old for Shitty Pop Shows, and Other Things I Learned at the AP Tour


Before I found full-time fortune at the Phoenix, I was a part-time music writer for the Boston Herald. And with the exception of the several times I saw 311, I legitimately enjoyed my assignments - especially interviews with contrarian hotheads like Immortal Technique and Sage Francis, who I prodded to shred conservative ideals that were often touted on the nearby editorial page.

Every summer since 2004, I was guaranteed several trips to Great Woods/The Tweeter Center/The Comcast Center in Mansfield, where I got to review artists ranging from LeAnn Rimes to her brother, Busta. On most occasions - even if the music sucked - there was some redeeming attraction, like a steady flow of slutty co-eds at a Black Eyed Peas show, or the resounding ignorance of young, dumb, and shirtless Dropkick Murphys fans.

Still - about four seconds into last Friday’s AP Tour touchdown at the House of Blues in Boston - I decided that it might be time to stop covering concerts that I’ve overgrown. You could say that I was forced into early retirement; not by the newly iconic Colorado hipster-pop duo 3OH!3 that I went to see, but rather by Family Force 5, which I suspect is the greatest insult to music since Eddie Murphy, the Chicago Bears, and even the 2 Live Jews.

There are several reasons for my rash decision: I’m tired of watching mediocre muck manifest, of witnessing the hysterical way that materialistic merch whores bump and grind to it, and, most of all, of looking like a pedophile with my notepad and camera. It’s one thing to be a parent chaperone; it’s another to be a drunken 29-year-old who clearly has no interest in the show unless Fergie is soiling herself.

Anyone who finds the Jonas Brothers and their chastity offensive should avoid the Family Force 5, a self-described Christian crunk rock band that was fathered by a little known Jesus rocker named Jerome Olds. Believe it or not, their lame group handle - and individual monikers like Fatty, Chap Stique, Crouton, and Xanadu - is just one reason these lads should be hung on rusty crucifixes.

Every song is a shameless style jack, as if Family Force producers ran Kidz Bop and Now That’s What I Call Music! compilations through a shit grinder. On one song they impersonate The Police; another dulls down Nine Inch Nails; and one bruiser puts a cute spin on Rage anger. If that’s not cool enough; they also do rap, country, and death metal.
Teenagers are obviously the dumbest segment of our population, but I can’t imagine they’re as stupid as adults who push abstinence. Especially in Massachusetts, where adolescents might sing along to “If you can’t dance - get out of my room girl,” but where “dance” means “sniff Oxycontin off my crotch,” and where “my room” means “the high school hockey locker room.”  

I’m sure their defense is that Christian crunk rock provides a powerful contemporary vehicle through which young people can deliver god’s word. Unfortunately, I don’t believe in god; in fact, the existence of Family Force 5 might be all the evidence I need to prove that no such entity exists.

So that’s it - I’m finished polluting my eardrums. Thank Nas this pointless activity is over; in my six years of blasting everyone from Ne-Yo to Bon Jovi and Kelly Clarkson, I’m sure that I’ve never convinced anyone to stop liking vapid pop fare. Furthermore, I never would have if I kept at it for the rest of my career.

Like I knew last Friday - when the DJ played “Baby Got Back” between sets, and I was the only one who recognized it as something other than the song from those Spongebob Burger King commercials - I have no business being around anyone who wears the shirt of the band they're going to see; and neither does anyone else who’s old enough to have seen PCU in the movie theater.

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