Saturday, November 22, 2008

Byrne and Eno at Benaroya Hall

Eno and Byrne have made a new record, Everything that Happens will Happen Today, their first in 30 years. Byrne and Eno began their artistic relationship in the late seventies with 3 Talking Heads albums, followed by their groundbreaking album My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. Songs from all of the above will be performed in this concert, but not in that order.

Their performing together, and at Seattle's premier opera and symphony hall, has me really considering seeing the show. Both men are more than musical giants of a bygone era, they are still a central presence in current intellectualism. Eno is a board member of the Long Now [link], and Byrne has the giant building instrument in New York City [link]. In the late 90's Byrne wrote an eerie social/art critique piece for either the Atlantic or New Yorker, I can't remember. I do remember reading it and being struck by its "prophecy". He wrote that the soft plastic, rounded edges, candy colored tech aesthetic that was so hot in gadget and furniture design [example ] was all very cute and pretty, but that something sinister lying beneath this cute and candy-like society, and may emerge someday soon. Then came G.W. Bush, the Taliban blew up the Buddhas of Bamyan, and then Islamic extremists killed 3,000 Americans on September 11th. Back to talking about Byrne, we live in a world of artists who long for the status of shaman and soothsayer in our culture, who believe they are attenuated especially for perceiving subtle shifts of popular aesthetic and able to be an Oracle of Delphi sounding an alarm. Most artists fall short of oracle or prophet, David Byrne actually did it.

( I am not saying David is the greatest teller of the American story, the teller of our whole on-the-ground real experience and semantic space. That distinction goes to the Minutemen. Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan are more famous for this epic 20th century Americana song crafting, but the Minutemen took it as far it could ever go. )

Benaroya Hall
February 18, 2009

No comments: