Welcome to Rocktacular! 

Brothers and sisters (and even those of you who aren’t related), have you given the old rock ’n’ roll warhorse any thought lately?

Could it be that what was once the music of rebellion has become a vehicle for aging Gen X nostalgia? Or worse, has rock as practiced by once culturally jarring artists such as Iggy Pop, the Sex Pistols, Little Richard, the Velvet Underground, Bad Brains et al., been encased in corporate amber and trotted around the country by 20-somethings banded together as, essentially, a group of revival acts? There’s no question that hip hop and dance music have taken the lead where rock once reigned in the hearts and loins of teenagers. After all, today’s teens were celebrating graduation from the fourth grade when Nirvana’s debut album, Bleach, was released.

Rock, however you define it and whatever your generation, has always been a warped little beastie. Regardless of whether it’s presented as chart-topping, heavy-rotation pop or as an underground, word-of-mouth mass secret, the song remains the same: Parents will never understand. So, is all well? Hell no. Doses of corporate rock pabulum can still be forced upon us like so many enemas. But the system will be flushed and from the shit comes revolutionary art. Or at least Limp Bizkit.

If we learned anything from this year’s Woodstock (né Altamont), it is that rock, in all its many and mutated forms, still has the power to incite youth. Sadly, in the case of Woodstock, the incitement was to a barbaric, hideous display of drunken aggression, rape and pillage. Ironically, Woodstock performer Kid Rock (who has recently shared space in the high end of the Billboard chart with fellow Detroiters ICP and Eminem) said a mouthful in his song "Bawitdaba" with its sincere exhortation to "Get in the pit and try to love someone!" Rock’s effort to conjure moshing’s early, communal vibe was wasted on Woodstock’s bleak thugs.

So welcome to the Rocktacular, our trip around the landscape of rock ’n’ roll’s peaks and valleys. Metro Times’ crack music writers went into the field, gathered hundreds of species and the oddest and most popular spectacles from across the land and brought them back for your amazement. Rock’s not dead, it just ain’t what it used to be. —Chris Handyside

Retro futurism
by Norene Cashen
Hyperlink to your identity's delight in rock 'n' roll's retro future.

Keep the faith
by Chris Handyside
Ten affirmations to restore belief in the future.

Femme fests
by Susie Bright
Lilith vs. Dyke-o-rama? It's no contest.

Sisterhood showdown
The Lilith Fair-ies versus your average dyke-fest.

Spontaneous machine music
by Hobey Echlin
Electronic music may be the future, but how "live" can programmed sounds be?

Kiss incorporated
by Serena Donadoni
With Detroit Rock City, KISS and Gene Simmons unleash another rock 'n' roll demon into the markeplace of rebellion.

Rap went limp?
by Khary Kimani Turner
Hip hop and rock's rebellious offspring goes multiplatinum.

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April 14, 2021

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