Maus Space

I've continually had a liking for the mystical, but it wasn't until I matured a little iota that I discovered John Maus!
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 Post subject: Re: FYF
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 6:02 am 
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anonymaus

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Um, no. Respectfully, I could not disagree more. I think what we are forgetting here is that many of you, on this board, have seen him perform already, maybe even multiple times. I haven't seen him live at all, and even though I can expect what the shows will be like, or how they would on a surface level "appear," in no WAY would that detract from that experience. I mean, John Maus with a FOG machine?? Crowd-surfing? Changing what he fucking WEARS??? I just... I don't know, man. I would feel really uncomfortable suggesting that an artist alter their performance to cater to a "show" or the spectacle or whatever. I think his very simple, visceral, confusing, chaotic, concerning, confrontational performance is exactly why people, by and large, tend to come away with powerful experiences when they see him live. I mean, isn't that the whole point? Pitchfork have had the luxury of seeing many Bands or Acts or whatever, I prefer reading people's immediate, gut-reaction Twitter posts instead, you know, the ones who HAVEN'T seen John Maus or much less really heard what you or I have heard before, walking away really moved or jarred by something.

At the end of the day, it's really up to the artist themselves and what it is they want to convey. The point of playing festival shows is to reach a larger audience who may not have heard/seen the performance before (maybe it will boost record sales, after all, that's generally the brass-tacks point of touring or performing in general, not only because the artist may really enjoy the experience)... the point of a festival is not to change the actual performance. If it reaches people, great, if not, oh well, somebody somewhere else will affected by it, and it will be that singular, transcendent event many of you have experienced, seeing John Maus perform. I would be grateful to see him perform AT ALL, at a small club, at a larger festival, or in my bathroom.

Anyway. Sorry, I don't mean to be defensive or argumentative. Can't be helped when I feel passionately about something.


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 Post subject: Re: FYF
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 6:59 am 
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country maus
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P&M is bang on here. And I think, as a handsome man crowd surfing, he would still get groped during forays into the audience! But yeah, I could see his frustration with the photographer pit at the Pier show and it was the highlight of the evening when he scooted down from that unduly steep stage to bounce around in front of the barrier.
Ultimately, some people are just never going to 'get it' (especially perhaps in a festival setting), but for the ones who do manage to connect with the performance, it's exhilarating and something that leaves an indelible impression in the mind.
The very thing that makes a John Maus show unique is the refusal to accommodate the -let's face it- MUCH EASIER and far more transparent methods of appearing to people on stage as some kind of boring pop rock cliche. I really admire the way he deliberately does not do this - I also think being up there with a band he would feel like he was putting himself on a pedestal, and it's clear he just wants to exist on the same level as the people watching him, to communicate without pretense or the artificiality of props like light shows, screens, etc.
Honestly, I wouldn't want him to change a thing. I just want more songs as he creates them.


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 Post subject: Re: FYF
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 7:23 am 
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anonymaus
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I saw John last night, live, so in my fresh memory of his show, I have the following to say: I both like and dislike John's shows.

- I dislike them only for one reason: because I don't like seeing him punching and hurting himself: his neck, eye, and vocal chords might be hurting badly after each performance. I don't want him to be in pain, or do any permanent damage for our enjoyment. It's not ethical or fair. I'm surprised that no one ever mentioned that here. I feel that so many people take each of his performances as a given, while I worry every time I know that he's performing somewhere in the world. When John asked me last night "did you enjoy the show?", I hastily said "oh, yeah". While I did enjoy it, I felt guilty enjoying it. If I had more time with him, I would have told him all these things.

- That aside, his shows are the most original and interesting, exactly because they're bare. What you see in the stage is him. Nothing else, but him. Here's an artist and a human being appearing as he is: no instruments, no ridiculous outfits, no diva attitude. Just him. What else would we ever need more out of an artist but his true self?

Traditional "live band" performances feel stupid to me most of the time. They're like asking a programmer to re-compile his computer game for you, even if you already own the binary of his game. Or asking an illustration artist to re-sketch his illustration for you, even if you already have a copy. Instead, John is like the programmer who *plays* the computer game with you! The illustration artist who sketches *over* your printed copy!

Bottom line, the guy is just different. That's why I'm here. If he was another "me too", I would have never bothered.


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 Post subject: Re: FYF
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 10:22 am 
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anonymaus

Joined: Sat May 19, 2012 4:38 pm
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Yes, there is a problem with enjoying the show. Or at least it has proved one for me so far. (This perhaps belongs to a thread to other shows, but nevermind now).

I saw John Maus live for the first time a few weeks ago and then a second time soon after. Although I must be careful here not to detract from expressing accurately that they were two of my most memorable and cherished experiences, they were also unpleasant to a degree (I am biased perhaps because I think the word 'pleasant' is the locus of so much suffering at the moment, as is 'fun' and a few others, that's for a different conversation). I keep saying this, that I 'failed at my first John Maus show because of my bad faith', but this is what happened. When John first got on stage I got very nervous, then a few minutes in I realised I didn't know how to 'behave' and I started looking around for an example to follow, seriously I was at a loss, and all I saw were manifestations of enjoyment or cool nonchalance, both of which I had done too much of in the past and neither of which I could muster up even the memory of how to perform in this situation, let alone the desire. My arrogance perhaps lies in the fact I didn't understand how other people could. So there I was, on the side of this tiny piece of decking on the ground that was the stage at Wastelands and I could see John's face very clearly and close to me, moving as he was thinking up the next best way to tear at and hurt himself and his vocal chords. That hurt me, all I could muster was a frown of shock and some tears and I was relieved when it was over, even though there was no place in this world I would rather have been for those 26 minutes. Does that make any sense? Who and what was I relieved for/from? Was I good enough? When a few days later in London I somehow managed to go from tears to an elated smile throughout, was I true then, was I good enough then? So when he asks later 'was that good enough? did you enjoy the show?', what voice do you answer with? How do you tell the truth? This edict to conciseness and this acceptance of there being 'no time' to take or think as if that not only were a matter of fact, but ought to be one, that is the death rattle of so much, man. I think John gets that and his performance puts forth so much that language cannot do justice to, for now. I think also people want to talk to him after not only because they know he sticks around, but perhaps because it niggles at them, that the experience, the performance, it was incomplete somehow, as it always is in my view, but too often covered up with pretence and articifice. Bring all this to my sunny beer-sodden festival where I spend hours hanging out with friends saying nothing at all after years together neck-deep in our witty banter, go the fuck ahead man, I should be the first to be indicted.

So my point was....well actually what prompted me to respond here was Eugenia's computer game analogy, I like that a lot, I think it says a lot. I'm probably wrong about this, but I do feel that we have moved beyond where any concept of virtuosity can be explored through the re-creation of a piece of music, or whatever, and 'live bands' at the moment are not doing much to change my mind on that. I think John's performance as it is is very powerful and I cannot imagine it 'getting old' because it supersedes any tendency towards novelty, it is about something else altogether and therein lie its biggest strengths and weaknesses. But I really believe, that it takes so much of what seems like pain and anguish (even if some of it is release) to appear, maybe, for a moment, that is the verdict, right there, for this world.

A weird thing that happened after seeing John in London in August was a friend's reaction to the show. I got back after sticking around to talk to John, to find my friend staring at his ceiling unwilling to communicate anything other than mourning that people were jumping around making entertainment out of a crucifixion, as he put it. I'm not at all sure what I think of this yet, but it's a thought to reckon with, isn't it?

Because there are mornings when I have to write something very heavy to a deadline I would like to be lofty enough not to recognise, where the one thing I can think to do to push through from sleep-world to giving birth like that is dancing around my room to John Maus for as long as it takes to work up a sweat worthy of a shower at the rates they're charging for water now. Stupid things.

Also, Eugenia, your picture is the best, I love it!


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 Post subject: Re: FYF
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:13 pm 
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¯\(º_o)/¯
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I think the next step for John is pontificating on steps of antiquity and taking a bird bath between each song.
Seriously, the Event is too moving for me to dissect. However, I will say that a tennis match in a football stadium will mean little to those who are casual observers.


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 Post subject: Re: FYF
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:36 pm 
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john everymaus
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pelleasetmelisande wrote:
Anyway. Sorry, I don't mean to be defensive or argumentative. Can't be helped when I feel passionately about something.
Don't worry about it. We're all passionate about this, and that's why we're here. This is a good discussion.

Obviously if I had it my way, I wouldn't change a thing. John's been doing it the old way for years, and he's got it down to a science. The big shows have been a bit of a problem, but because they're happening these are just the things I would think about. Again, and I did say this myself in the post, I don't like my solutions much either. Just spitballing. And also who said change his outfit? I didn't.

Anyway, I think App's got a point here. Bird baths.


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 Post subject: Re: FYF
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 3:28 pm 
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John could always have a feigned crucifixion and sing from the cross, that would be a sight to behold for those who are alluding to boredom


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 Post subject: Re: FYF
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 3:40 pm 
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john everymaus
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They call us the Believers.


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 Post subject: Re: FYF
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:17 pm 
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anonymaus
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possiblegrenade wrote:
And also who said change his outfit? I didn't.
I did. And now I feel pretty dumb for saying that. But actually I forgot to put a little 'lol' in there, I wasn't too serious about it, it was just an idea.

John himself expressed concern about the larger shows, and I think we can agree that festivals are different from smaller venues, and not just in John's case.


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 Post subject: Re: FYF
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:37 pm 
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mausterious
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Great thread. Pitchfork is basically the US NME yeah? The NME build up 'new bands', and then when they tire, they drop them, and move onto the next 'new band'. It seems a natural process to be honest. Music publication make their $$$ from delivering 'new music' to the masses, and interview the stars of today. The stars of tomorrow are the artists who fall into the first category.

It's been a long time since I bought into any music publication, but I'm sure that I wouldn't want to still be reading interviews with Morrissey.

Okay, reading that back I've totally defended Pitchfork. Shit. That's not cool. FU PITCHFORK AND NME.


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 Post subject: Re: FYF
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:56 pm 
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little maus on the prairie
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Out of curiosity, I recently looked back at Pitchfork's ratings for Ariel's earlier albums and was surprised at how low they were rated compared to Before Today and Mature Themes. I think most of us on here agree (we even have a poll to back it up), that The Doldrums and House Arrest are his best albums. It just makes me wonder how their review system works and what its based on.


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 Post subject: Re: FYF
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:31 pm 
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ricky wrote:
It just makes me wonder how their review system works and what its based on.
http://www.prefixmag.com/forum/music/9091/

they used to hate nirvana
they lightened up on some artists like NIN and Nirvana...it's like they don't want to suck kultural karma's nasty dick...or something


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 Post subject: Re: FYF
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:54 pm 
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ricky wrote:
It just makes me wonder how their review system works and what its based on.
It's based on current hairstyle trends and who you're sleeping with. "I don't need NMEEEES. Or the Melody Maker, for that matter." :sherlock:


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 Post subject: Re: FYF
PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:04 am 
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anonymaus

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I'm glad you've all resumed this thread, no harm done, palmsvoice and possiblegrenade! I figured as much, perhaps, that maybe you were being devil's advocate-ish in bringing up the change of clothes/hair thing. Bah. Internet communication. Regardless, this was a good discussion.

App, pontificating of the steps of antiquity is CLEARLY the next step.


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 Post subject: Re: FYF
PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:20 am 
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anonymaus
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I'm a regular Pitchfork reader, and I appreciate the fact that they've introduced me to a whole lot of awesome music. I don't take everything they write as gospel, but I'm glad when they BNM a record that I really like (for example the new Wild Nothing album). They often annoy the hell out of me, but all in all they beat NME by a long shot, which should be burned publicly with each issue (TBH, I haven't read it in years, but what I remember of it left a very bad impression).


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