A noted commentator once said on Twitter, “There are no wrong answers in life, but please just stop making guitar-based music, no one cares anymore.”
OK, that commentator was me, and yes, I was maybe trolling a little (I blame Twitter, it turns people into monsters!), but the underlying point stands, sort of. It’s not a controversial thing to say that rock music isn’t fresh or rebellious or even really relevant anymore, but I’d also add that that doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyable. Which means I’m also admitting that my trollish tweet was kinda missing the point.
Take, for example, the music of Brooklyn indie darlings Big Thief. Is it breaking new ground? No. But is it enjoyable? Tremendously — almost ludicrously so, yes.
Rock music long ago dropped out of the cultural vanguard and moved into a space where it’s more a source of pleasure than of innovation. And that’s OK. Things that are derivative and repetitive can also be incredibly satisfying. If I’m drunk, and you give me a choice between a Big Mac and fries and a multi-course dinner at French Laundry, I ain’t picking French Laundry, and if you’re honest, you aren’t either.
Maybe the Big Mac comparison sells Big Thief short. With their soaring wistful folk-rock melodies (think Father John Misty meets the New Pornographers), Big Thief is at least a steak sandwich — but you know what I mean.
It’s sort of related to the saying about perfection being the enemy of the good; sometimes a good band can be just as good, or even better, than a great one.
Big Thief, 7-10 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 10, 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW; tickets, $26