As you may have read previously I went to see a show for Pablo's birthday. Omar Torrez, a guy I never heard of, did a set at the Triple Door and blew me away with his guitar skills. It's especially refreshing when most modern bands don't seem to give a damn about actually showing skill at an instrument. Actually I can't blame them really. Audiences are very forgiving when it comes to music and will buy into any media hyped artist as good simply because they're told to.
I'm not going to sit here and pretend to be a connoisseur of exquisite songs. I listen to as much crap as the next person. Yes I got the memo that everyone should hate Creed now and any critique towards Radiohead or the Dave Matthews Band is taken as harsh as a racial slur in a lot of circles. Difference being is I have a hard time expecting any band that makes it big to be proficient in writing songs, providing good vocals, and being able to play instruments with a fair amount of skill all at the same time. We simply have lowered our standards as a consumer base. We've bought into the Wal-Martization of music and propelled rock media as gospel.
It makes sense. It's safe, comfortable, and gives us an elitist mentality towards an art genre that takes little consumption. Film and literature all require a fair amount more time out of our lives and few of us will ever consider ourselves great hobbyist in these respective arts. Modern music takes around four minutes of our day. It's cheap, accessible, and played everywhere whether we like it or not.
Writing a good song, or even a popular one (yes there is a difference), is hard work. To capture the attention of someone for such a short amount of time is difficult and even the most talented have their misses. Even though the days of complicated harmonies and composition that last over ten minutes are over it still requires a lot of elbow grease to become a success.
That's why it was a relief to see Torrez play. Not that he's a household name, but he's had a fair amount of exposure. And guess what? He can actually fret. With speed even. And it sounds good. What are the odds?
This song is probably one of my least favorite of his, but of course it's his biggest hit. Go figure.
“It has to do with the rain (Seattle), which inspires you to stay inside and practice. People are very well read and well spoken – pale and out of shape, but fantastic to talk to. Then the further south you come, everyone looks more and more beautiful, and the vocabulary drops.” - Omar Torrez