Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Best of the 2013 Grammys

I was mostly impressed fun. didn't get electrocuted. 
I usually approach the Grammy Awards with a certain amount of dread because I know I'll regret wasting three hours watching the show. I even stopped writing about them on this blog. Still, every year I keep coming back in hopes of seeing something really great. This was the first year in a long time that I've felt like my time investment was worth it on account of three* great performances.

Despite a mediocre start– Taylor Swift and LL Cool J's ambiguous and rambling opening remarks– fun. delivered some early satisfaction with their performance of "Carry On." Having followed the band since 2009's Aim and Ignite, it always makes me unspeakably happy to see a much-loved band get such a huge audience. Plus, it was kind of awesome when it started raining on stage. 

After fun., I was fading. The Bob Marley tribute was ok... but really I was waiting for Jack White. Holy Smokes. White played "Love Interruption" and "Freedom at 21"and generated just an incredible amount of power. You watch that and you've just got to be converted to the cult of rock. I mean. My God. And then in some final blast of lights, he was just gone. Dude might as well have dropped the mic. How could anyone dare take the stage?

Let me follow that up by saying: Mavis Staples, Mumford and Sons, and Brittany Howard. Apart from when The Apache Relay joined Simone Felice at the Cannery Ballroom in Nashville this August to play tribute to the late great Levon Helm, this Grammys performance was the best nod to Levon I've seen. There's something powerful in the way that artists seem to be at their best while tipping their hats to Helm. 

With special regard to the last two acts, I felt that it said something about where you can find great and honest music. It's always going to be at the roots. Jack White played straight up rock and roll, and The Band sit at the very heart of what we know today as Americana. Forget Taylor Swift in a top hat, or even Justin Timberlake prepackaged as a legend. The good stuff is the pure stuff. 

*The Black Keys with Dr. John and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band should be included in this post, but man, am I tired. Good night. 

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