Urgh! The Sting conudrum
So I went last night to the Alamo Drafthouse to see "Urgh! A Music War" with some friends. We enjoyed it, and I think my boyfriend and I enjoyed it a little too much. We have both been long-time holdouts for the greatness of 80s music, and now that the popular consensus is catching up with us, we feel special. Like we are finally understood. Narcissism is an odd, odd thing.
Anyway, Alamo had a can of the movie that they found in a dumpster, which meant that there was water damage during X's section of the movie, which sucked ass, since X is one of my favorites. But there weren't too many parts of the movie that would have been a better spot for water damage, since a lot of my favorite bands were on there. (Best song was by Devo, of course.) And there were some thigh-slappingly funny New Wave overkill songs by Gary Numan and Klaus Nomi. And there were some really popular bands like the Go-Go's and.....yes, The Police.
It's pretty entertaining watching hip people watch video footage of The Police. Nowadays, Sting is so appallingly lame that he's even lost his rights to be grandfathered in as cool, like Danny Elfman gets for being in Oingo Boingo. It doesn't help that Sting is an egomaniac. And as for winning this audience over, it didn't help that The Police opened and closed the video, getting two slots when better loved bands like The Dead Kennedys, X, Gang of Four, and The Cramps only got one slot. An audience already pre-disposed to thinking of Sting as the Anti-Christ or something was quick to turn on him for that.
But the ugly truth is that The Police had some really good songs back then. You find yourself bobbing your head along, enjoying the hell out of it, even when they closed the video with "Roxanne". Dammit! Hate and love at the same time! What's a hipster to do? I was beside myself in snobbish confusion.
Luckily, Sting resolves the whole thing nicely for his audience by drifting off in the middle of "Roxanne" into what I would describe as a non-jam sort of jam, a pretentious method of jamming without drifting into uncomfortable hippie territory. It was this disjointed sort of thing that was so terribly boring you could see Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland getting as bored as the audience and fixing to drift off. Typical Sting, thinking he can have the best of both worlds by having a really boring jam but trying to play it off as something arty. But it did resolve the cognitive dissonance in the audience, as we drifted from enjoying a Police song back to the comfortable territory of hating the fuck out of Sting. Well, I know I did, though my boyfriend was just cackling with evil in his voice.
So if you get to see this film, go see it! But leave during the last performance. I will say there is something worthwhile about every other performance on this video, an assertion I do not make lightly.