Pearl Jam is headlining this years Pemberton Festival. Who asked for this? Seriously.
I'm 28 years old, which I'm fairly certain would put me in the older end of the typical age range of music festival attendees and I was four years old when "Ten" came out, which is the only Pearl Jam album that has a song on it which I actually know. And even then, it's one line of one song which I may or may not correctly remember the lyrics to ("whyyyyyuyuu, oh whhhyyyyu am I still alive?" (and now that I type it out I'm pretty sure those aren't the lyrics. If Eddie Vedder were to ever personally ask me the reason he continues to be extant, I am certain I would not know.))
When I saw that Pearl Jam was headlining, I thought "oh, I guess they're doing a reunion tour." But then my good friend Wikipedia told me that they never broke up and have actually been releasing an album every 3-5 years since the early 90's. This was liking finding out my brother had been secretly releasing DJ mixtapes for my entire life, in the sense that it was shocking but nothing in this world or the next would ever make me want to listen to them.
To be clear, I am not arguing for or against the musical or artistic merit of Pearl Jam. I clearly have not listened to anywhere near enough of their catalogue to make anything even resembling an informed critique of their music. Also my memory of how much I thought their music sucked when I was 13 will prevent me from ever giving them the chance I'm sure they deserve.
I'm also not trying to question their cultural significance. That would be like questioning the cultural significance of air. In that they are apparently so ubiquitous that no one seems to think or care about it. (Another way in which they resemble air is that if China started irreparably poisoning members of Pearl Jam, it would draw scorn from the international community but ultimately no one would really do anything to stop them.)
All I'm trying to do is ask the question we all must ask when such a preponderous event of such magnitude occurs seemingly out of nowhere (e.g. a rock band whose popularity peaked in 91 and you were fairly certain most people either disliked or were entirely indifferent towards headlines a major music festival in 2016, the holocaust). How did this happen?
I'll be the first to admit I'm not the most informed musically. I haven't listened to the latest Radiohead album even though it came out over a month ago. I'm not entirely sure if Sia is a white rapper most people dislike for her shameless appropriation of black culture, or a new condiment for lattes at Starbucks, or some combination of both or neither of those things. But I am also not entirely out of touch with pop culture. I have atleast 8 paragraphs worth of opinions about the relationship between Taylor Swift and Kanye West and I could write a convincing 4 page essay for why Justin Bieber's last album was simultaneously underrated and overrated, as long as the reader of the essay hadn't heard the album and was as familiar with Bieber's work as I am with Sia's. But this whole Pearl Jam thing really came at from left field.
Living in an accelerated culture means that even at the tender age of 28 there have already been plenty of moments where I have been too old to either know or care what's occurring in popular culture. I can't name a single tv show about Vampires, and I'm only 50% convinced that teenagers actually watch shows about vampires and that it isn't simply something people in their late 20s made up themselves when trying to make fun of teenagers. But Pearl Jam headlining Pemberton Festival is the first time since I've turned 14 that I've been too young to know or care about what's happening in pop culture. And what's happening is that apparently some people still care about Pearl Jam. And what people you may ask? Well as I've stated, I do not know, but in my opinion the smart money is on Gen X'ers.
They were the last ones to live through rock music being the dominant cultural art form. Kendrick Lamar headlined the festival last year and I feel like the Venn Diagram of those two artists fans are two completely separate circles.
Now listen, I happen to be writing this right after I listened to a CBC broadcast where a self-proclaimed Gen X'er called in to say that millennials have no work ethic and are a bunch of lazy entitled good for nothing's. So what I say next is probably biased, but regardless.
Hey Gen X, eat a dick. Take your shitty rock band and beat it. No one likes you. Stop trying to make yourselves culturally relevant. Your chance at that died with Kurt Cobain. Atleast he knew when to make an exit. Try to follow suit and stop ruining our music festivals.
Levi McCachen will be at the Comedy Mix at 8 pm tonight, Friday June 8th. He had no intention of going to Pemberton this year regardless of who was headlining.