Adventures in "Emo"
Last night, courtesy of some free tickets from my uncle, I seen a band called Funeral for a Friend play in Glasgow. I had seen this band support Boy Sets Fire while they were on the way up. Now they are selling out venues across the country, on the back of the release of their second album 'Hours'. F4AF play what you might call post-hardcore, or "emo".
Emo, short for "emotional hardcore" is the latest big trend in alternative music. It has supplanted the angsty downtuned riffs of nu-metal with an even more introspective mood. Teenage boys everywhere have taken to silent rumination on the plentiful woes of their existence. Anger is replaced by regret and aggression is replaced by self-pity. Whereas Metallica or Pantera fans like to get drunk, headbang for a couple of hours and then have a nice riot, "emo-kids" are straight edge (they don't drink or do drugs, or, unbelievably, have promiscuous sex) and remain rather passive. Long, unkempt greasy hair, ripped t-shirts and denims has been replaced by pristine swept fringes, clothes that are fashionably small and an almost anorexic thinness. To be sure, this crowd was out in force in Glasgow last night.
The music itself is patchy - like any genre, it has his good bands and it has its absolutely hateful ones. The good bands display a kind of endearing emotional sensitivity and musical artfulness, the bad ones (and they are in good supply) sound like malcontent rich kids with too much time on their hands.
Politically, there is also diversity. There are many post-hardcore bands which have refined and improved the "anti-establishment" attitude of punk. Bands like BoySetsFire and Rise Against have taken Emo and blended it with the ferocity of hardcore and rhetoric of Rage Against the Machine. The others - the majority in emo - are more interested in the foibles of repeated heartbreak, emotional redemption, suicide and increasingly in something they called "sexual politics". I don't really understand what "they" mean by this yet but presumably it goes something like "boy meets girl", "girl plays hard to get", "boy gets upset", "boy buys a guitar" etc etc. Life is reduced to a series of interpersonal disputes between the self-loathing and the self-obsessed.
Anyway, FF4F were absolute bollocks. The singer is from Wales and yet he speaks like Axl Rose - "how you doin' Glassgou?" Fuckin' idiot. Me and my fellow stroppy companions left two songs before the end.
And no, I wasn't thinking about this shit during the gig. I was concentrating on other, far more interesting subjects.