The First Hundred Days

by |
03/04/2009 1:06 PM |

In which Jesse Hassenger sees music, in New York, as you do.

Usually I write about movies here, but I also go to what I think is an above-average number of concerts. I say “I think” because, as with moviegoing, you can always find a New Yorker who’s doing more than you (damn you, whoever saw Street Fighter: Legend of Chun-Li and at least one of those times the Vivian Girls opened for someone else cool! I am almost certain you exist, no matter how ridiculous you sound!). I saw a record (for me) twenty-four shows last year, mostly for fun, but a little bit for justification: I’m paying to live in a city where the Mountain Goats play two or three times a year, so I’m damn well going a bunch of those times, before I have kids and it’s ten years later and the Hold Steady reunion tour is my first show in I don’t even know how long.

That said, the get-it-while-you-can school of concert attendance can still backfire, in that you can go to more shows than you ever have in your life and still feel like you probably missed some good ones. It’s that urgency that informs my friend Nick Sonderup’s blog project 100 Bands, 100 Days. Sonderup has decided to, yes, go see 100 bands play in and around the city over the course of 100 days. He’s currently less than halfway through, although he’s one hundred percent through making the two gigs I’ve attended so far this year seem paltry and sad.

The site is fascinating less for gig reviews (since you can get those in mind-numbing detail all over the place now) than the state of mind and first-person observations about being tired, sitting through opening bands or not, spending a ton of money on concerts… basically, all of the reasons you don’t see a show every night. Most ridiculous, though, is that you can read all of this and still feel sort of vaguely jealous that someone is doing this crazy New Yorky type of stunt: this is what it must feel like to see every band you think you might want to see, to see every cool revival at Film Forum, to actually use your Netflix subscription wisely, to blow your New York income on New York.

In fact, I’m going to buy some damn Mountain Goats tickets right now.

4 Comment

  • Tell him he should go for 365 days straight, or bust. Concert Joe claims to have seen over a 1000 shows in 365 days, although I don’t know if he saw a show every day of the year or skipped a day here and there.

  • also related check out this for inspiration, now at MoMA:

    Tehching Hsieh (b. 1950, Taiwan), who is best known for his five One Year Performances: between 1978 and 1986, the artist spent one year locked inside a cage, one year punching a time clock every hour, one year completely outdoors, one year tied to another person, and, lastly, one year without making, viewing, discussing, reading about, or in any other way participating in art. Hsieh’s final performance piece, Thirteen Year Plan, was completed in 1999 after a process lasting thirteen years

  • Yeah, see? In New York, there’s always someone who will be like “100 bands in 100 days? Whatever, I’m seeing 200 bands in five days while tied to a stranger.”

  • ok I read up a bit on Concert Joe and it seems he did skip nights here and there.

    Robert Christgau did 30 consecutive days and wrote about it in Village Voice,(I think it was one of his last articles for that paper if I remember right)

    http://www.villagevoice.com/2006-07-18/music/a-month-on-the-town/