The Spectacle Of It All by Cooper Myers
You would probably miss it on the street. From the outside, you may think that it is just some bar, maybe a club. When you walk into the small, smokey space, you probably can tell that this wouldn’t be your traditional definition of a concert. The electronic drum kit is on the opposite side of the stage from the lone guitar, with a projector screen dividing them. The room is dark, full of fog, and illuminated by eerie blue lights.
The screen regularly attempts to capitalize on the tension of the room by spouting cryptic messages about 9/11 and weapons of mass destruction. When the show begins, quite possibly after you’ve had something to drink, you are transported to a world of even more paranoia and anxiety. The drummer and the guitarist emerge from the shadows, taking their place at their respective instruments. Eric Goodman, the creator of the massive work, also turns out to be a proficient guitarist. Via a series of drum beats similar to those you would find in any action-sci-fi movie, you are thrust directly into the spectacle itself.
The spectacle, an idea designed by Goodman, takes many forms. It is, in effect, the metaphoric lens that the average human looks through. One that blinds them from reality itself. It is naturally a very broad concept, and Goodman showcases it in several different ways. In one segment, he criticizes the class system of the U.S by singing a poor man’s blues, contemplating selling the only thing he has left, his guitar.
In another, he satirizes the effect of media on people by juxtaposing horrible news stories featuring murder, rape, and other fairly common disasters with the joyful advertisements proceeding them. He shows his distaste for the war in Iraq, and the excuses for it given by George W. Bush (think weapons of mass destruction). Throughout this, various quotes from authors, musicians, and overall brilliant thinkers flash on the screen, giving you just enough time to think about what it means before the scene changing to the next scene. Musically, the show is wholly varied. It features futuristic movie music, classic rock guitar solos, ominous atmospheric chords, and bluesy working class riffs.
The music itself was well thought out, and both musicians were certainly more than proficient while playing. Had someone somewhere doubled the output volume, it would have been even better. It was probably for the better, anyway, since the music wasn’t really what you were supposed to be listening to anyway. Thus Spoke the Spectacle deals with subjects that you may have heard of before, maybe some that you have fought against yourself. However, it deals with them in a different way.
The spectacle is something that consumes you at every stage of your being. Whether you are the most conservative or liberal of thinkers, however opposite your beliefs are, you are in some way influenced by the spectacle around you. After the show, Goodman even said himself that he was influenced by the spectacle. Just because we know what it is doesn’t mean we’re not affected or distracted by it. If you have a phone, or watch TV, or eat at Panera, you are not only part of the spectacle, but encouraging it.
Unless you plan to dedicate yourself to a Buddhist-esque lifestyle, you can never really get rid of it. But getting rid of it is not the point. The point of it is awareness. You really can’t get away with not having some form of communication digitally. The government will stay corrupt unless we have some full scale revolt. Goodman doesn’t promote contentment, though. Through knowing what the spectacle is, we can refuse to mindlessly obey what the world tells us to do. Thus Spoke the Spectacle is a brilliant portrayal of this, converting anger and discontent into a thought provoking “concert”.