It’s gotta mean something that the Rock the Bells festival in Houston, the third biggest city in the US, had to be cancelled because the promoters couldn’t sell enough tickets to make it worth their while, right?
The show was supposed to have taken place this past Wednesday at the hilariously titled Smirnoff Music Center, in Houston, which, based on a cursory Intenets search, appears to be an outdoors amphitheater along the lines St. Louis’ infamous Verizon Wireless Amphitheater aka Riverport Amphitheater, the site of the legendary Guns N Roses riot about 15 years ago. My bad if you don’t have any idea of what I’m talking about. Maybe try looking it up.
Interestingly enough, I worked there briefly about 10 years ago, towards the beginning of my way-more-epic-than-I would-have-liked-it-to-be career in the service industry, which continues to this day. To be sure, there were some big concerts held at this place, like the ill-fated Guns N Roses, whatever that U2 tour where they would prank call the White House, and any number of those ’90s-era traveling package tours such as the original Lollapalooza and the Lilith Fair.
But the thing is, those big shows would always take place on the weekends. Weeknights (remember, the Houston leg of Rock the Bells was set to take place on a Wednesday night) were always reserved for the kind of shit it was assumed there wouldn’t be much of a turnout for: pre-Rob Thomas-assisted comback-era Santana; Journey with the fake Steve Perry (whom, as it turns out, may have been lipsynching the entire time); REO Speedwagon, and so on and so forth.
Suffice it to say you’d have to put on a pretty shitty concert – er, at least one hardly anyone would be interested in – to fail to draw a decent-enough audience to such a venue. Meanwhile, I don’t think I need to remind you bitches of the sheer gulliness of the Rock the Bells lineup. To give you an idea, the next three shows scheduled for the Smirnoff Center – none of which, mind you, have been cancelled due to lack of interest – are Korn, the Goo Goo Dolls (who, admittedly, I’ve seen this summer), and Def Leppard. Wow.
Meanwhile, dates on the Rock the Bells tour are still scheduled in smaller cities on the West Coast and in the Midwest such as Denver, Salt Lake City(???), Minneapolis, and Detroit. If the promoters of the Rock the Bells tour manage to sell enough tickets that they don’t have to cancel dates in those cities, but they couldn’t in Houston, what does that tell you about Houston?
It’s especially ironic when you consider that one of the main points southerners in general and Houstoners (Houstonites? Houstonians?) like to bring up in defending their own remarkably shitty brand of hip-hop against perceived (and usually nonexistent) haters is that southerners have always supported real hip-hop, and yet, now, lovers of real hip-hop want to hate on the South. Not to bring up shit that happened as far back as a year ago, but I’m pretty sure this was one of the points Bun B tried to bring up against yours truly.
Which struck me as a BS argument at the time, but I wasn’t sure how you could prove that the South ever supported real hip-hop one way or another short of conducting an actual survey, and even then I’m not sure how effective that would be. (I believe Bun B’s proof was the fact that he’s friends with De La Soul. Oh, well in that case…). I suppose it would be presumptous and conceited of me to suggest that the failure of the Houston leg of Rock the Bells is proof that I was right all along, but whatever. Sometimes you have to take satisfaction where you can find it. Nullus.