Last Call: Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Not Too Modern

My confusion started a couple of days beforehand, when I mentioned something to somebody semi-hip in town about Modern ’til Midnight. I got a look like, “What. The. Hell. Are you talking about?!”
“Well, uh,” I stammered before quickly realizing that no matter what I said, I’d come off like the condescending prick that I am. “Um, Modern ’til Midnight is a huge-ass concert — six or seven bands usually play — and it takes place every fall in the second-floor sculpture garden of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, y’know, that sleek, low-lying building there in the heart of the Cultural District that has the second largest collection of post-WWII art in the country, right behind MoMa’s.”
“Uhhh … anyway, you pay a cover charge and get access to the concert and also to whichever exhibits happen to be up.” At the inaugural event last year, a couple thousand people turned out.
“Oh” was the reply I got. “Never heard of it.”
A couple of days later, hanging out with some folks at a local dive during happy hour, same thing: I said, “Hey. You guys gonna go to Modern ’til Midnight on Friday?” “What?” they said, their faces contorted in confusion. “What the hell’s ’at?”
And last Friday afternoon, a couple of hours before the show, I rolled up on some friends, and I was like, “Modern ’til Midnight: You guys going?” Again: Blank stares, arched eyebrows, knuckled foreheads.
Granted, the event’s only in its second year. And granted, I do not — contrary to popular belief — know every cool person in town. Still, if 100 percent of the 10 or 12 “cool” people I’d talked to had no idea what Modern ’til Midnight was, then I’d like to know A.) why and B.) why there still were so many people there.
As for a possible answer to the first question, who knows. In the weeks leading up to the event, there were Modern ’til Midnight ads all over the place, including in the Weekly, and every newspaper and blog in town did a preview story. (HearSay, for the record, was the first to announce the band line-up. Suckas.) Basically, you couldn’t have avoided seeing “Modern ’til Midnight” scribbled somewhere unless you were really trying not to look.
As for question B, the most likely answer — that folks are coming from Denton and (gulp!) Dallas every year — is just too ugly to consider. For years, a lot of Fort Worth scenesters have complained that we’re not as hip and cool as the kids in Denton and Dallas. Yet every fall, the Modern puts on a totally hip, totally cool concert, and where are the wannabe hip, wannabe cool Fort Worth scenesters? And please don’t tell me, “In Dallas or Denton.”
This year’s band line-up was decidedly more local than last year’s. In addition to headliners Mucca Pazza — a demented high-school-ish marching band from Chicago that doesn’t perform onstage but actually among concertgoers — and transgender singer-songwriter Baby Dee from NYC were joined by three (killer) 817 bands: Telegraph Canyon, Dove Hunter, and Mount Righteous.
Not only did the bill not scare people away, it probably brought more in. One problem that was minor last year — having just one microscopic beer booth — was a major drag this year. The line stretched almost across the entire width of the garden — we’re talking about 35 yards, people. Not that getting boozed up is the point. But still. For most music fans I know, waiting longer than 10 minutes for a measly beer prohibits optimal live-music enjoyment. Then again, I don’t know any music fans from Dallas or Denton, but I’ve heard that some of them regularly wait in lines 35 yards long or more just to get into shows. Who knows how long they’d wait for a beer.

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