Everybody had such high hopes for 2000 and beyond. Flying cars. Robots. Artificial-reality sex suits where you could get jungle-deep with glamazon love-bots in the privacy of your own underwater pleasure chamber. But here we are; it's practically 2003, and we've got none of that.
Indeed, the future has failed us. So perhaps it's fitting the biggest currents in underground music haven't been crashing waves on new shores, but have instead been washing up the past like bloated whale carcasses on the beach. We've returned to some sort of aesthetic comfort zone in the form of new wave (The Faint) and old rock (The Strokes, White Stripes), no doubt due to the lack of good ideas in our post-everything situation.
Bad Wizard dredge up the spirits of AC/DC, Blue Cheer and the MC5--big guitar rock from a bygone era--and they do it with a keen eye for detail. Pretty much every song is about getting some.
But is the measure of success how convincing a facsimile one can create? If so, is that a worthwhile artistic endeavor? Should we be throwing bouquets of roses at Bad Wizard, thanking them for returning us to the glory days of down-and-dirty rock 'n' roll, or should we take 'em out back and shank 'em in the gut for turning their back on innovation and the young idea? Should we hold up the past as the ideal to which we should return, or should we insist on progress from the artists we patronize? Or is there a viable third option--get really drunk, and chase ass around unabashedly, not giving a fuck about the intellectual discourse on what it all means? Can't it JUST be about having fun?
It's a tough call. Bad Wizard are fun to listen to and--it is reported--A LOT of fun to watch, thanks in part to the nitrous oxide balloons being passed around among fans up front. But is that good enough? If you long for the days of cucumber-stuffed blue jeans and larger-than-life rock icons, you have your answer.