Wayne Flask

Author Translator Music Writer Public Annoyance

The Castration of Maltese Music

| 6 Comments

Last Saturday, 2nd October, I had the pleasure of attending a concert titled “Wirdien” (cockroaches), a concert featuring three bands who happen to have the Maltese language, and folk sounds, at heart: Brikkuni, Stalko, and Plato’s Dream Machine.

It all ran smoothly at the picturesque Masgar, in Mtarfa, a venue chosen not only for its environment (literally, a forest), but also because it lies away from populated neighbourhoods. Despite the tougher logistics, the organisation of this event aimed to minimise inconvenience to third parties.

But, as usually happens when you’re having fun, the police turned up to pull the plug. It was barely past midnight and the interruption halfway through Brikkuni’s set caused expectable frustration among the audience and musicians.

The usual probem, of course, is permits. It seems easier to block Aldo Moro road and congest traffic in Marsa from the afternoon onwards to host an exhibition of classic cars than play three hours of music away from inhabited zones.

The idea of stopping concerts halfway through (a musical coitus interruptus if you want) is a gag out of a totalitarian tragicomedy. I have followed and reviewed Maltese bands for 12 years and I’ve never witnessed such oppressive behaviour as I have in the last two years. So while most of the bands in Malta already face a disarming shortage of venues, it’s all well and good that the government has the interests of local artists and heritage and heart.

In reality nobody sticks out as much as a little finger to help out the independent bands. Thank God we have the Isle of MTV festival, a yearly bonanza where the crumbs that fall off the table of international music are shipped over here for a loud, steamy one-nighter the police would never dare switch off. It’s branded MTV after all – so it’s alright to bring over someone a talentless derelict monster of rock named Kid Rock and pass him off as a great musician.

What’s all this (discriminatory) attack on entertainment? I wonder whether the people at the Council of Culture and Arts know what’s going on, or whether these independent bands even exist.

Maybe our local authorities are trying their utmost to get us tucked in bed by midnight, effectively handing over the country to bandits and vampires after the fateful hour.

I’m sure many of those who lived through the eighties will jump at my notion, recounting tales of trouble with the boys in blue with a nostalgic glimmer in their eye. I was too young to remember and, frankly, the partisan media has done so much in these years that I hardly want another lesson in the evils of socialist Malta; yet, this sudden attack by police and the authorities on entertainment evokes stories of dark ages and police states.

I hope the authorities stop this castration of the Maltese live music scene. Otherwise there will be nothing left except for two or three artists, and we already know all their songs by heart.

6 Comments

  1. great blog. shame we dont share the same opinion about kid rock.he aint my favourtie artist,but ‘talentless derelct monster’ is a tad extreme…

  2. Very well written and straight to the point Wayne.
    One also has to mention the recent Notte Bianca alt-music concert at Hastings Gardens. Most of the people in attendance were waiting for Forsaken to play their set, but were limited to only 3 songs because of the ridiculous curfew. OK, truth be said, the curfew was 2am. However, why Notte Bianca had a 2am curfew while other events are limited to midnight or 1am is a mystery.

    Spot on regarding the MTV thing. It’s OK to let Lady Gag Gag play her songs (or travesty thereof) in a residential neighbourhood, but god forbid the neighbours listening to some good Jazz musicians doing their thing past 1am during the Jazz Festival.

  3. You win with “musical coitus interruptus”. Very well written Wayne, and believe me, it’s a pain everywhere you try play recently. Even clubs in the heart of Paceville have told us to play but be done by 1 AM. What time should we start then? And as Kaiser said, shit, even Notte Bianca had a curfew….

  4. Very well said Wayne….I remember someone claiming to be a high rank in the police asking the station to bar me from the air because as he claimed I ‘attacked’ the system and the force when I asked why were the Characters stooped at midnight playing at La Grotta in Gozo when the day after a party was allowed to continue till 4 in the morning. This was way back in the 90’s….circa the ‘Destination Red’ era….

  5. Noel, Kaiser, Mark, all you metal people know well enough what I’m talking about, kudos to all of you who have been doing this for ages.

  6. This should go on the TimesofMalta man, forsi l-pubbliku jirrikonoxxi dawn l-erezijiet/kazzati li qed isiru f’isem il-progress, health and safety u iktar cucati

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