If you picked up my ipod and looked at my playlist you might be convinced that I am a serious headbanger with a predilection for indi-rock and Goth bands, all dark and raging, emo and angsty. And yes I do like those genres of music but I have a wide range of tastes much like I do with my reading and art. My only criteria are that it be good as in heart-felt, well-constructed and well-presented. You will have my attention and respect then, and I will give you my time, and time is far more precious than most people realize. Why the rock, and I mean rock, not pop with a couple of rock riffs that passes for rock these days? Well, I may have mentioned that I come from a real working class background: lots of blue collars and white trash around. Rusted cars in the yards of dope smoking, binge drinking, foul-mouthed and ill-mannered neighbours often living in houses provided to them by parastatal employers like the South African Railways. My parents had even poorer roots and were bikers, my father being the president of a motorcycle gang called the Roadrunners. Sadly it would be the bikes and the club that would result in his death at a really young age, leaving a 23 year old wife and two young children. I mention this in way of introducing the music we had in the house: rock. Elvis was king and ruled the house, and by Elvis I mean the stepping razor Elvis of the 50’s, not the portly Vegas singer. Elvis singing that dangerous blue grass, white trash, shotgun shack, steel string intoxicating music that we now recognize as the origins of rock. Lennon would famously say, “…before Elvis there was nothing”.
So, yes, we listened to rock: Elvis, Credence Clear Water Revival, The Rolling Stones; biker rock. In my teens I loved Kiss, Queen, Lynrd Skynrd, Bad Company, Boston and then along came the British punk, New Wave and Goth movements of my late adolescence. Enthralled by these new bands with new music who represented my generation rather than my parents’, I adopted their culture, styles and fashion. During my military national service and my Varsity years I followed bands like The Cult, The Cure and Bauhaus, and still love them. But I also like Classical music, for music does indeed sooth the savage beast, and I rage and rage, so I am in need of soothing. I am a man of many seasons and so my music has “seasonal flavours” which basically means my choice of music to listen to will depend on my mood.
OK, so how does this relate to standards or the standards? The standards are what one Michael Bublé refers to as his genre: traditional pop (also classic pop or pop standards) music which consists of Western (and particularly American) popular music that generally pre-dates the advent of rock and roll in the mid-1950s. Traditional/classic pop music is generally regarded as having existed between the mid-1940s and mid-1950s. You, dear reader, are going to think to yourself: “no, he doesn’t like THAT type of music”. But I do, I do! Thanks to the same Mr Bublé. I went to see him perform last night (17/03/2015 – St. Paddy’s Day) at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, South Africa. Michael Bublé has achieved global sales of 45 million albums in the course of his extraordinary decade long career. He is an under-the-radar phenomenon: a hit-making, ticket-selling powerhouse who has never become a household name. Backed by a full orchestral band he is a crowd-pleaser, humble, grateful and very, very funny…all this before he has even sung a note, a consummate performer. His earlier covers of Moondance, Feeling Good and Fever are my personal favourites and he performed them last night to my great joy.
So (as the publicity blurb put it) “imagine the setting. A tropical summer’s night in Durban, the stars are out. The glorious Moses Mabhida Stadium arch is lit up in all its glory, towering over a crowd waiting for an enigmatic crooner to set foot on the stage. Sound good? We thought so.”
Not quite! Tropical summer’s night, yes, stars, no! Just an absolute tropical deluge, and yet in that pouring rain his fans stayed and in that pouring rain the man performed! He even came out into the crowd and sang a number of songs, getting his ass as soggy as ours. Very cool. As Michael said to us, “these are the nights that stand out, that you will remember for the rest of your lives, getting wet is a small price to pay”.
This is the second time I have seen him perform and I enjoyed it even more than the first time. I strongly urge you to attend one of his shows. They are so very enjoyable! Trust me on this. The man sets the standard.