Just love reviews like this one, of Bang on a Can’s annual People’s Commissioning Fund concert. Its blandness surpasses that of even pure reportage; it is like the least offensive press release ever written. Makes me long for the days of Bernard Holland, who at least expressed opinions, no matter how they caused us to cough and sputter in indignation.
I have a sneaking suspicion, however, that there is more than laziness at work here; I’m worried that it’s an official New York Times style guideline, a misguided attempt at advocacy. Better not to scare anyone off, the thinking goes, or wantonly damage some poor musician’s already delicate career. This type of “criticism” has the opposite effect, actually, which is to make every event sound utterly interchangeable. These days, I can barely slog through a review of something I’d actually be interested in, because the quality of the writing is so maddeningly noncommittal.
I would rather be panned than be subjected to this non-treatment.