JAM’N 94.5 Monster Jam Was No Fun

I got punished assigned a review of the JAM’N 94.5 MONSTER JAM the other night, which is a pop radio station festival over here in Boston.  You can read it here if you’re desperate for…well, just desperate I guess. Nicky Minaj, Drake, B.o.B, Shontelle… It was probably the most normal thing I’ve ever done in my life — and I used to hang out every weekend at a Pizzeria Uno at the mall when I was growing up, and I’ve seen at least two episodes of CSI.

Couple things: first of all, everyone knows live hip hop and r&b pop shows fucking blow. The god-awful braying, the bragging, the incessant hype men- shut the fuck up for five seconds dude, I want to hear the song, not have you yell your resume at me. Secondly, giant shows at places like the TD Garden -where this party of 15,000 bridge and tunnel teenage street-fighter-wannabees and reality-tv-sluts-in-training took place- are literally the worst setting on earth to see a live music performance. The sound sucks, the sight lines suck, the lines are bread famine length, and the over all shit-smeared Americana of the whole thing in which you’re ushered around holding pens like potential criminals is just a major bum out. To top that off, they weren’t even serving beer at the show.  Fair enough though, since I was probably the only person over 21 there. But still, even if I’d only had three beers and a pretzel they could’ve made at least $400.

Another weird thing they did: since some of the sets were only supposed to be ten or fifteen minutes (play your hit, then GTFO) they’d literally cut the mic in the middle of a song. NEXT. What is that all about? It was like they were presenting the Oscar for best achievement in auto-tune. Nicki Minaj, Shontelle, even headliner B.o.B got the bumrush off the stage. You’ve got to keep the wheels of the pop star treadmill running slick, I guess. Besides, by the time the seemingly interminable concert was over, I don’t think some of the acts were even popular anymore - not only is your fifteen minute set up, New Boyz, but your fifteen minutes of fame are too. Thanks for coming.

I was wandering the halls of the arena in between sets like a shell-shocked survivor of the culture wars, trying to find someone to sympathize with. I saw groups of young girls, all ass and teeth and hair, showing off their bodies like water buffaloes presenting their hairy cow vaginas in mating season while still managing to stuff pizza into their faces, and popped-collar hood rat interns jockeying for their spot in the tiny-boner awards, and I wanted to pull some of them aside. Music doesn’t have to be like this, I wanted to tell them. There’s a whole other world out there.

I finally decided I was going to talk to some kids, to see why they were here and what it was that they were most excited about. I had just ordered a $17 coke, so I went over to the concession area to get a straw. A nice-seeming girl came over looking for napkins to wipe nacho juice off her paws. All of the napkin dispensers were empty though, so she did the next logical thing: grabbed a fistful of fifty or so straws and starting wiping herself off with the paper they were wrapped in.  Then she threw the entire disposable mess all over the counter and the floor and turned away as if nothing had happened.

I was thinking about what a great metaphor that display was for this type of concert in general on the way out when I saw at least seven girl fights, (not the hot kind), three people being taken away on stretchers (also not hot), and a group of dudes getting hassled by the pigs (kind of hot). Shontelle sang that one “Impossible” song though, so, you know… good show I guess. Can’t wait till next year.

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