Music criticism, the live show

Last week I bought tickets to see The Needle Drop’s Anthony Fantano – the internet’s busiest music nerd, speak at The Toff in Town. This will be a new thing for me – paying to listen to an opinionated man speak about music.

The space Fantano has worked himself into is unrivalled. He pioneered video reviews on YouTube and his channel The Needle Drop was one of the first takes at music criticism that appeals to people who care for music but don’t take to the written form. I was introduced to Fantano by a friend who I don’t think has read a single written music review – last night he told me he couldn’t remember the last time he’s read proper article at all. Death to type.

The Needle Drop works the same way the best music writers work – expressing his views from a solid foundation of musical knowledge in ways that appeal to Everday Joe. It works he comes across as a normal dude talking you through his experiences with an album, a passionate mate talking to you about the last album he listened to.

Reviews on YouTube work for another reason – you’ve got the music that’s being discussed available to you right there in the related videos section, or at most through the search box at the top of the page, and you’ve also got a comment section that’s sometimes constructive (although mostly banal). In a time when YouTube hits are dramatically influential on radio playlists, Fantano’s role as a tastemaker can’t be underestimated.

The most I’ve sat through in one sitting has probably been one 7 minute Fantano review, so I’m not sure how I’ll take to seeing the Fantano Live act in it’s full blown glory. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of time spent staring deeply into a beer, but I’m a little excited as well.

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