Goo Goo Dolls, Actually
Kevin Noonan | Thursday, April 24, 2014
I unapologetically am absolutely not an expert music critic, and have never pretended to be anything of the sort, even in the rare album reviews I’ve done — I fear the five-shamrock rating I handed to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s “The Heist” will prevent me from ever being good friends with any self-important, “real” music fans for years to come. My defense to friends, colleagues and haters over the years has always been that I may not know what’s good, but I know what I like and don’t like, and that’s good enough for me.
Additionally, I don’t like to criticize student organizations on campus for their programming decisions, because I know how difficult it is to pull together big events successfully, and it’s not like planning an event for a club is a full-time job upon which the merits of someone’s character should be judged. I think SUB does a great job, and the people who work in it are generally nice kids.
All that being said — the Goo Goo Dolls? For real? They’re a fine band, sure. I like “Iris” much in the same way I enjoy bad Wayans brothers movies — somewhat ironically unless no one’s around, and then wholeheartedly. They created some of the most memorable and pop-culturally referenced songs of the late 90s, and the songs are soft enough that maybe the band can still kill them live like they did 15 years ago when they debuted.
But for goodness’ sake, couldn’t we have edged a little more toward, I don’t know, relevance? Someone who has put out meaningful, noteworthy, popular or even nameable music in the last decade? Please?
Last year’s concert was Atlanta-based almost-rapper B.o.B, and even though I was abroad, general consensus seems to be positive. People liked him, and it was a fun show. The change in venue from the traditional choice of the dreadful, God-awful, why-don’t-they-tear-that-down Stepan Center to Compton was a much-lauded decision, and B.o.B’s energy and popular music was a much-appreciated shift from the previous two years, which featured O.A.R. one year and Third Eye Blind the next.
Clearly, though, B.o.B and Compton proved too radical a policy shift, as this year they’ve been replaced by the Dolls and a return to that good old ninth gate to hell, Stepan. There are students on this campus who like music other than soft rock and musicians other than mid-forties guys in funny hats. It’s like our concert selections are being made by a middle-aged man who wasn’t cool in high school and now is desperately trying to fit in with somebody, anybody. It’s me in 20 years, and I’ll be picking bands like All-American Rejects and Good Charlotte.
Look, I can live with the Goo Goo Dolls, whatever. But they’re not much more than a carbon copy of two of the three bands we’ve seen in our four years here. Can’t we broaden our horizons? And for the love of all things holy, can we have the concert literally anywhere other than Stepan Center? There’s got to be someone popular, exciting, talented or edgy in the slightest way whatsoever that we can convince to come cash a check here. Fine, we probably won’t see Tyler, the Creator any time soon — though how fun would that be? — but let’s try taking a chance in a different direction next time. Maybe. If you feel like it. Who am I kidding, I’m graduating; I don’t care. Have fun with Spin Doctors next year.
The concert opens at 7 p.m. in Stepan Center. Tickets are $20, but they’re probably already sold out, because my opinions are generally wildly exaggerated and even more wildly wrong.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.