In case you didn't see a flood of Facebook and Twitter comments early last night (ex. "Didn't anyone see The Fray rehearse that version of the anthem and go, "Uhh, guys? Maybe not a good idea?"), Denver Christian-rock-adjacent band The Fray performed an "interesting" take on the National Anthem. It's not a huge deal that they screwed up "The Star Spangled Banner," after all that happens relatively frequently. However, the real problem is that this happened at the Superdome in New Orleans.
We need to decide as a nation that when sporting events are held in New Orleans, which they are quite often, that we're only going to accept music from the city and state as part of the event. The Fray are pasty white dudes who were leading worship at a suburban Denver church just a few years ago. New Orleans is a city where American music essentially began. It's a bizarre slap in the face to a city that has music everywhere to showcase guys that had to fly in, instead of an act from around the block. I don't suspect Big Freedia is going to get a call the next time the Super Bowl rolls into town, but this year's NFL championship featured Madonna, a Detroit native who lives in London to do the halftime show. Wouldn't Louisiana native Tim McGraw have been a better, more authentic choice? Last night, I understand The Fray were there to promote their new album, but Dr. John has a new album too and at least if he did something weird, you'd see it coming. Kermit Ruffins, Galactic, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, one of the Marsalises, a zydeco act...heck, I'm pretty sure Better Than Ezra were available, and they would have done a better job.
It seems so simple, but yet, it'll take a nation banding together to demand a change that shouldn't need to be made. New Orleans events deserve New Orleans music.
English professor John Melillo gives a multi-media presentation about the downtown New York world of arts and… More