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Gorillaz At Madison Square Garden, Friday October 8th, 2010: Apeshit Sucks -by Iman Lababedi

Pretty early last night, round about when Lou Reed sucked so indelibly on a misjudged “Some Kind Of Nature”, I realized this was going to be an unsavable unmitigated disaster.
What made Damon Albarn think that putting Fred Smith circa New York guitar sonics on the song would improve it. It doesn’t. It sounds like the song is beating itself into submission and nobody is winning. It doesn’t merely sound unpleasantly out of tune, it sounds unpleasantly unpleasant.
Look, it takes a special kind of horror in the face of experience to take two thirds of the Clash and one quarter of Blur and come up with this ape shit. And I admit to not being even remotely a fan, though there are coupla songs I can stomach, but from the beginning with Snoop Dogg on video singing “Welcome To The Plastic Beach” the problem here is manifest. King Kong Damon is too fucking busy for his own good and itis hard to translate into a live, or certainly. an improvised live setting. We expect our live music to, I dunno, breathe spontaneity. But how can you do that when she are juggling a full band, huge amounts of bytes, and a complete video presentation. The answer is? You can’t and Gorillaz doesn’t.
The audience might not agree with me and some level or another maybe they have a point  but if they are flipping out? I can’t hear it. The place is 2/3 full -I would expect it to sell out but whatever. And the audience is cheering but they aren’t roaring. And I have heard MSG much louder for even, say Maroon 5. Damon has a sense of history on  the occasion though he stupidly refers to the place as “Madison Squares Garden” but this great frontman. GREAT GREAT GREAT frontman, with Damon with Blur (one of the experiences on stage, is so busy directing the experience like Captain Stubing on the Love Boat he is a bore. Dashing around doctoring every fucking sound you hear. Layers upon layers of sound being manipulated. “Rhinestone Eyes” is terrible. Just terrible. It was better on Letterman the night before.  I can’t tell what they are playing they have tweaked it so much.
At some point Damon mentions playing Damascus, Syria this summer. The first Western band to do so. Perhaps but  Lebanon, an hour away by car, has had everybody from Joan Baez to the Kinks so big whoop. And “White Flag” is Arabic music the way Mali Music was, well, Mali Music. With all the will in the world it is all very colonization stuff. And not the real thing.
As an Arab I appreciate, Damon’s East-West Peace initiative. And as an Arab I love Arabs, though not their goverments. And I love him bringing Arabs on stage with him. What I don’t love is Gorillaz boycotting Israel. What the fuck? Can’t we have it both ways. Actually, shouldn’t we have it both ways. “White Flag” -about a dream of peace, is MEANINGLESS, when you are willing to deal with only one half of the parties. Peace with whom, precisely.
It is a good song. One of several.
as for the special guests?
Lou Reed sucked.
Mos Def sucked
De La Soul sucked.
The Clash were sidemen.
And truly unforgivable, Bobby Womack sucked.
So do I have nothing to say positive?
“Clint Eastwood” was pretty good.
Gorillaz was awful.
The gorilla in the room was Damon’s overweening ego. He should reform Blur and bring em to tour the States.

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