How many Ampeg 8x10 cabinets are weighing down vans or trailers attached to vans, all hurtling down the monumentally overbuilt motorways of our obese and over-entitled nation right this second? Too fucking many. How many shows feature acts that play essentially the same equipment but for relatively slight cosmetic differences? hey can you hurry up getting you Marshall 4x12 slant front speaker cabinet and Gibson SG and Marshall 50 watt head off of the stage so that I can place my Marshall 4x12 straight front speaker cabinet and Marshall JMP head and my Gibson Les Paul on the stage, without all of which I'd never be able to dial in the absolutely critical sonic signature of my tonal avatar?) Obviously considerations for the material differences of instruments must be allowed, however decisions as to practical necessity must be made with a more stern scimitar than that which is now being swung.
And the costs incurred by these and the 538 other bottomless habits of operation sewn into the touring culture of North American Independent Music are foisted upon consumers. Higher ticket costs, higher costs for touring culture's artifacts (which exist as the naturalization of the 'memory myth' of western event-consumption culture, which is a whole other big fucking mess), higher costs for the Coors Light that you just dropped $5 for at the bar (read as time spent laboring, say if you make $12 / hour answering customer service calls from some God-absent corner of some terrifying nest of cubicles at Discover Card's corporate head quarters, then that'd be 25 minutes of your life leashed to a phone bank in one of the most contemptible ditches of such a cruel glass and aluminum hell). Unethical, self-defeating, and at times practically malicious cost dumpings along the entire reach of the ethical spectrum are systemic in the touring process. Growth-focused commerce has no claim to any actual piece of standing ground in the metaphysical stuff of Live Music- about which is North American Touring Culture.
Multiple ideology-reinforcing myths exist within North American Independent Music's touring methodology, a methodology which actualizes a modus operandi determined by misuse of resources, a methodology the successes of which are determined by the displacement of operational expenses upon the consumer, and which assumes an unfounded right to geographic access. Dozens, if not dozens of dozens of further critiques could be set out against this methodology, but I am tired from a day off of lounging by the pool, watching cable television, enjoying the air conditioning of the 5th floor of the hotel in which I will upon a double bed sleep tonight having nuzzled up to a massive plate of Mexican food surrounded by middle-class people nuzzled up to other plates of Mexican food but the line of differentiation is that I paid for my meal with money set aside in the catering budget of the show that Eagle Twin (not I) played last night for which St. Louisians of many stripes paid $15.00 to see.
Most of the anecdotal references made here withstand major distortion in their transposition to the other market segments of Western Music such as hip hop, country, pop (all of which tend towards even greater maluse and profligacy.
The Western Myth of the Individual's Right to Travel Cheaply and at High Rates of Speed is one of our culture's most insidiously absurd significations. As travel industry handouts are retracted by the current trans-Atlantic politics of budget balancing, the Western Myth of the Individual's Right to Travel Cheaply and at High Rates of Speed is a skirmish line shaping up to become a surreal manifestation of class divisions that will will leave the middle class holding their plastic luggages, but without tickets or car keys or mortgages in hand.