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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Maria Minerva, Father Finger & Jeans Wilder @ Soda Bar

Maria Minerva
Father Finger &
Jeans Wilder
@ Soda Bar San Diego, CA.

Edmund Burke

   The role of the sublime in the experience of going out and watching live music is not limited to excursions to San Diego's Gaslamp quarter or like destinations.   There is something that happens in a typical interaction between Audience members at a local rock club and the performing musicians that often achieves a sublime quality.  This is a different aspect of being sublime than what an Audience member experiences watching a band play at 207 at the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego, but the two experiences are linked by the sublime quality which they share.

  To explain myself, I offer this lengthy quote from Edmund Burke's A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful:

WHATEVER is fitted in any fort to excite the ideas, of pain and danger , that is to fay , whatever is in any fort terrible, or is conversant about terrible objects, or operates in a manner analogous to terror, is a source of the sublime that is, it is productive of the strongest emotion which the mind is capable of feeling. I fay the strongest emotion, because I am satisfied the ideas of pain are much more powerful than those which enter on the part of pleasure. Without all doubt, the torments which we may be made to suffer, are much greater in their effect on the body and mind, than any pleasures which the most learned voluptuary could suggest, or than the liveliest imagination, and the most sound and exquisitely sensible body, could enjoy. Nay, I am in great doubt whether any man could be found who would earn a life of the most perfect satisfaction, at the price of ending it in the torments, which justice inflicted in a few hours on the late unfortunate regicide in France. But as pain is stronger in its operation than pleasure, so death is in general a much more affecting idea than pain; because there are very few pains, however exquisite, which are not preferred to death; nay, what generally makes pain itself, if I may say so, more painful, is, that it is considered as an emissary of this king of terrors. When danger or pain press too nearly , they are incapable of giving any delight, and are simply terrible; but at certain distances, and with certain modifications, they may be, and they are delightful, as we every day experience. (GOOGLE BOOKS)

  That is from his chapter called, On The Sublime.   The source of the pain and the terror in the example of a rock concert at 207 at the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego is the alienation the audience member feels from his surrounding environment: the burly security guards, 25 USD drinks and distracting interior design.

 On the other hand, the source of pain and terror at a Saturday night Soda Bar concert is the prospect of a failed interaction between Artist and Audience, or the absence of an Audience for the Artist. 
Jeans Wilder

  The first band I saw on Saturday night was Jeans Wilder, performing as a two piece. Jeans Wilder has surpassed 200,000 plays on Last FM, with a consistent weekly Audience of more then 300 people.  You would not get the idea that Jeans Wilder is in the very tip-top elite in terms of Audience size for a local music act from his audience size at this show, but personally I'm inclined to see an Artist with multiple records out and 200,000 last fm plays as a low level National level Artist, as supposed to a local Artist.  As for not being able to draw in San Diego, it's hardly an impediment, but I think it simply speaks to the fact that Jeans Wilder is not in the business of soliciting fans from an energetic live act.  More power to him.

  Father Finger is actually a woman named Kylie from Providence Rhode Island who performs as a one-piece, with various samplers and keyboards with singing over the top.  That also describes Maria Minerva, although the two Artists share contrasting personal styles. 

Maria Minerva

  Maria Minerva was definitely not a hit with the Audience, people were not into the loud vocal levels, my sense is that they would prefer to hear the beats.  I'll say she was essentially as good or better then other related acts I've seen live in similar situations: Grimes, Nite Jewel, Yohuna ETC. The way Maria Minerva sounded was not that far off from the vibe that Grimes gave off in front of a dozen people in a Krishna basement in Toronto in June of 2011.  I've seen Nite Jewel bomb even worse at the same venue within the last 12 months, so there is certainly a question for the depth of the local Audience for the girl and a drum machine formula, and I think Artists who perform in this space can't simply assume that people will be into it.

  At the same time, Grimes' show at Porter's Pub tonight is sold-out, and by all accounts she has had an incredible, break-out year.  When you talk about Grimes, you are talking about an Artist that is closing in at the 10 million last fm plays level- which puts them behind a Beach House (32 million) but above a similar sounding artist like Purity Ring (3 million.)

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