Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Manchester comes to Buenos Aires

Last Saturday, I went to Personalfest, a very popular annual music festival here in Buenos Aires. I started at the main stage with Ian Brown of the Stone Roses and then strolled to the second stage for NYC's the Bravery. There is nothing like a tight pristine suit, wry pretentious lyrics (“Your words are like knifes in my ear”) and inflated egos to remind me of home (one of them, at least). My sister and I passed empathetic glances while a band member tried to thank the audience in Spanish.

As we returned to the main stage for New Order while the Bravery was still playing, my sister said “I hope they play that song about that about that soldier who wants to see his family." She got her wish. Lead singer Bernard Sumner (who turned 50 this year and dressed humbly for a rock star) announced that “Love Vigilantes” is a “vehimently anti-war song”.

Near the end of the show, a band member declared “Ian Curtis lives” before playing “Atmosphere” by Joy Division during the encore (after Joy Division lead singer Ian Curtis hanged himself, the remaining members formed New Order). I don’t know if it is just me, but “Love Vigilantes” always reminded me of “Atmosphere”. Sumner didn’t try to speak Spanish and he rightly assumed that Argentine fans would eagerly and aptly accept his invitation to sing along to the main verse of “Love Will Tear Us Apart”. Perhaps my expectations for New Orders synth super hits were too high, perhaps those songs depend too much on production or perhaps darkness is just beautiful; for me, the Joy Division songs stole the show.