You know the old saying about rock and roll.
“Old rockers never truly die. They keep playing until their bodies fail and then their soul/essence/consciousness is uploaded into a neural network and the subsequent holographic representation of beloved rocker is immediately booked for a triumphant, six-week 'Rockin’ Resurrection' run on the Vegas Strip."
OK, so maybe it’s not that old of a saying, but you get the idea.
In 30 years, your grandkids will be lining up to see “Biggie vs. Tupac ‘Live!’ ” at the Bellagio, shows at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Or the sexy visage of 1968 Elvis Presley teaming up with the still black and B-A-D 1987 Michael Jackson for “Two Kings: Rock Meets Pop — Father and Son-in-law Together for the First Time!” (Forgot about that little pop-culture flotsam, didn’t ya?). The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan will ... still be alive and touring, naturally.
Surely, our beloved earthly deity — technology — will fill our future idle hours with fully digitized and conscious versions of the folks and music we grew up listening to and loving. But until then, we’ll have to keep deciding whether to spend money and time to watch our rock and soul heroes, music sex gods and goddesses age onstage.
I’ve been to many shows featuring veteran rockers still out there getting it done and sometimes the audience members, whose ages are usually within a few years of the performers, can be pretty brutal on their former heroes and sex symbols.
Hey, y’all, no one’s hair is awesome forever. And, yeah, even the skinny English guys can get a middle-age gut. And, sure, not too many people want to see the 65-year-old guitar-slinger in tight leather pants. And perhaps the formerly young and magnetic waif-like songstress’ decolletage has gotten considerably more visually complicated.
But, hey, we know that time, gravity, and eventually death, always win.
The past decade has been tough on classic rock- and soul-loving boomers, but now that my Gen-X-era indie-rock and hip-hop heroes are indie-rock and hip-hop grandpas and grandmas, I’m trying not to take out my frustrations with my own inexorable march to the finish line on the artists and performers who have provided the soundtrack to my journey for the past 48 years.
I’m just saying, if your old-school favorites can still get onstage and perform their music at least reasonably well, and they aren't up there trying to pretend they’re still 25, let go of that old poster picture you’ve embedded in your head and accept them and yourself in the now. You’ll enjoy the show more.
Who are you?
I'm rambling about all this age stuff because I’m honestly feeling a bit wistful about my waning youth and to clunkily segue into the recent announcement that the Who will come to Blossom Music Center on Sept. 10 with an orchestra and a new album — the band's first in 13 years — in tow.
The Who is Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend, and as a touring outfit, they have been in full legacy mode for decades. I caught Daltrey’s symphonic “Tommy” tour last July at Blossom. There’s a lot of singing in the 75-minute run time of "Tommy," and though he can’t hit the high notes as smoothly as he once did, Daltrey and his voice held up quite well despite the heat and humidity.
So, if you’ve never seen the Who, or haven't seen the band since that awesome show back in (insert favorite tour year here), here’s another shot.
Plus, there’s an orchestra!
Akron Women's March
On Saturday, there will be an Akron Women’s March. It begins at 11 a.m. at the John F. Seiberling Federal Building with speakers, and then heads down to the Sojourner Truth Building for a group version of Truth’s “Ain’t I A Woman” speech.
The event is hosted by the Ohio chapter of Moms Demand Action, a nonpartisan, grass-roots movement “fighting for public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence.” To coincide with the march, local singer, songwriter and activist Zach teamed up with local poet and yoga instructor Julie Norman and turned her poem “Rise” into a song.
They then enlisted local singers Gretchen Pleuss, Angie Haze, Tracey Nguma, Natalie Martin and Bethany Joy, who banded together under the name She Bends the River to record the song as a way to support the march. The song is available for 99 cents at CDBaby.com (yes, it still exists) and any proceeds will go to March-related funding.
Last but not least, here are a couple of good, locally sourced shows worth checking out.
On Thursday night, to get you ready for the Akron Women’s March, Live Music Now in Kenmore plays host to an evening of Celebrating Female Art. The cozy little venue will feature music from locals Rachel Roberts, Bethany Joy and Jordan Serpentini, along with live painting by artists Katy Frick and muralist Serpentini. Tickets are $5-$10 donations, which will go to the artists, and the doors open at 7 p.m. Snacks are available.
On Friday night, Musica will host a good evening of interesting music featuring Bluelight, the experimental R&B group that released "Home" (https://bluelight-music.bandcamp.com/album/home): a chilled-out, full-length album in October.
Made by some of the talented well-schooled “cats,” the record features guests including Pleuss and emcee Floco Torres. It is moody and infused with contemporary (not smooth) jazz. But simply framing extended solos isn’t the point, and it’s damn groovy.
Also on the bill are Barberton’s the Woovs, bringing their rootsy rock tunes, and Cleveland’s hazy, emcee/singer/guitarist Peachcurls, mixing contemporary hip-hop sounds with old-school, Funkadelic-style soul-rock and other strains. Tickets are $10 and available at the door and ticketweb.com
Malcolm X Abram can be reached at email@example.com or 330-996-3758. Like him on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/1lNgxml, and follow him on Twitter @malcolmabramABJ.