Hugs and Kisses, the Outbursts of Everett True: Antifolk, Part II

Late Monday means another SOTC dispatch from Everett True, publisher of Plan B. A while back, he wrote about antifolk, not anti-folk. This week, he's writing about it again. Send him more things to write about at everett@planbmag.com. Read all his Sound of the City columns here.


photo by Cami D

The Outbursts of Everett True

This week: More on antifolk, the movement that's not sweeping a nation

I played an antifolk fest the other night.

Antifolk (UK), that is--not to be confused with anti-folk (US). One is shamelessly a rip from the other; but oddly, the other is at least several years past its sell-by date. Isn't that always the way: cultures borrowing from other cultures and reinvesting with meaning something that long since ceased to be relevant. (As a great 'for example', look to the Eastern Bloc's appropriation of rock music as a tool of revolution during the Nineties--something that the kids of America and Britain always aspired to, but never managed.) So anyway, to recap: antifolk (UK) is filled with misfits and outsiders, folk who want in but know there's no earthly way they'll ever be allowed so they might as well start their own party and hope that someone, anyone, turns up. They nicked the word antifolk cos at least it seemed to be in opposition to something, and yes, it also implied that musical ability wasn't a pre-requisite.

Anti-folk (US), on the other hand, is the establishment, more or less. Nothing wrong with that: I just want to call it as I see it.

I digress. So I played an antifolk fest the other night, in London. Man, I was bummed to be there, no disrespect to anyone present, but the previous evening I'd shown up, half-delirious (through lack of sleep) to a Brighton antifolk night in a pub I never even dreamed would countenance live gigs (most the clientele sported piercings dating from the Seventies) and. . .

Well, here's the deal. Most my colleagues at the Plan B office suspect (I suspect) that antifolk is nothing more than a bunch of folk musicians trying to sneak back in the zeitgeist's back door, under a thin veneer of respectability. I say there's nothing wrong with that--but that's anti-folk (US). That's certainly not what the antifolk shows I've seen in Brighton have been about: my main man Larry Pickleman is a former Belfast lad, brought up in the bad part of town, who matches sweet plinky-plonky Oompa Loompa (Willy Wonka) tunes to PC-baiting misanthropic lyrics, a sampler and a tiny electric guitar played with alarming venom. And if that's folk, or anti-folk, then I'm Morrissey. And, trust me, I'm not Morrissey.


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