My odds are stacked
I’ll go back to black…
We only said good-bye with words
I died a hundred times
You go back to her
And I go back to black
– Amy Winehouse, “Back to Black”, Belgrade, June 2011
Amy Winehouse played several shows at SXSW in 2006. She was the hype that spring.
I didn’t go to the first show, couldnt get into the second show the next night and people told me I wasn’t missing anything.
Then someone said, doesnt matter, you need to see her.
So the third night I went, stood in the back, and spent way more time watching the background singers dance than enjoyed her because, she wasn’t that enjoyable that night.
Later I saw a live video of her from London where she gave a shout out to her parents in the audience and wore a pretty dress and seemed fine and sang well.
She definately had a cool style and because she totally played everything by her own rules, including never replacing her missing side tooth, I have had a picture of her in my bedroom next to Chuck Berry.
Obvs one is way more of a musical genius than the other but they’re both what I love about rock n roll: style, substance, courage, and defiance.
Watch how in the video above she is getting booed by an audience in Belgrade and she appears to struggle between doing what she does for a living and flipping off the paying crowd. It’s both fascinating and miserable.
If I had been shooting the video I would have probably stopped half way through because she is clearly suffering.
Scratching her arms, wobbling, unsure how to even put down a mic stand.
If precision is what audiences wanted instead of trainwrecks, Math Rock and Prog would be way more popular.
But the reason why the most interesting music is rooted in the blues is because humans know innately that we are a flawed beast
running, some quicker than others,
to the abyss.