I write here every single day, write for some other sites on occasion, and often with some pretty strong opinions, wedged in-between the all-important YouTubes of yelling goats and photoshops of Herman Cain, of course. My "style" is conversational, I suppose -- I write just how I think and talk. I am perfectly able to write "straight" pieces of journalism, but so can a million other folks, and they do. What a million other people can't do is filter through my lens. It's the only thing I can give you that is unique, and I hope is sometimes of value.

I got to thinking about the potential ramifications of writing in the first person, journalistic detachment be damned when my local Twitter stream went on a mini-rant about a music review today. Seattle Weekly writer Gwendolyn Elliott sure stirred up a hornet's nest with her "unique" take on a Ryan Adams acoustic concert at the very posh Benaroya Hall last Friday. Several of our local music writers and photographers were angry and appalled, calling both the writing and the writer unprofessional and self-indulgent. It's very rare to hear any criticism here in music circles -- it's just not said, even though surely it is sometimes thought -- so I had to go check out what Ms. Elliott had produced to provoke such strong public statements, which you can read here.

OooOOOooooOOoooh...she MAD! She comes out swinging in the first sentence against both Adams and his adoring fans, and doesn't let up for a second. As I had no stake in the fight, I sat back and chuckled at her vitriol and at the equally-nasty comments directed her way. Holy crap. Who knew something as seemingly-unimportant as a local music review would set everyone on fire? And should it? Well, let's break down the criticisms.

1. This is not a show review. That's a fair observation. There is very little there about the music that was played by Adams. It is definitely a review of the difficultly Elliott had with Adams' fans, and the overall smug and uptight vibe she thought was present. Now, let us agree that most people who will want to read a Ryan Adams concert review will also be Ryan Adams fans, and will want to hear about the what was played and how, typical to a piece of writing describing a musical event. I believe it is a very safe assumption here that Elliott is not a Ryan Adams fan, and wasn't terrifically invested in the music performed that night. Should that preclude her from writing a review? Not necessarily. I long for more honesty in music journalism, which includes by nature negative opinions, but you've got to be able to back those up with detail. Elliott's general criticisms may well have been meritorious, but if she was asked to write a show review, she needed to write more of one.

2. This was too personal. I'm a bit on the fence here, for I LOVE show reviews that talk about the crowd and what it feels like to experience a show. I want to be there with the writer. So very many concert reviews are dull, laden with gushy or ponderous adjective spurts that don't really do anything but make me think, "adjective spurt." (I admit writer's guilt here, too, by the way -- it's not all that easy to make a show come alive in prose sometimes. And I just can't say that a band "killed it." I just can't.) Something else I mentioned earlier on Twitter as we were all going 'round and 'round with opinions on the review was that sometimes the characters in the crowd are more interesting than the show itself. I have written many times about the Concert Ruiners: Blabbing Chat Monkey, Stinky Drunk No Personal Space Man, The Very Tall View Blocker, The No Personal Space Acid Dancer Girl, and so forth. As a fan, man, I hate 'em. As a writer, those folks are solid gold content for me.  Maybe Elliott needed to take another day and find the humor in her experience, for she comes off as a bit self-righteous and unsympathetic. Were the fans tools? Could be. Was Adams a tool? Could be. Was Elliott annoying to everyone around her? Oh, could be.

3. This is of no use to anyone. Oh ho ho ho, noooooo, not true. Who wins? Hands down, Seattle Weekly. The controversy that Elliott stirred quickly reached Ryan Adams himself, who then took to his Facebook and encouraged his fans to fight back by leaving their anti-Elliott comments after the review. What does this accomplish? Page views! Lots and lots more PAGE VIEWS than any regular ol' review ever would have received, which translates to INCREASED AD REVENUE for SEATTLE WEEKLY! Way to go, Adams! Giving a negative review MORE attention, equalling more money for the publisher? Nice work, sir! If you were Seattle Weekly, you'd want a pissed-off Elliott reviewing every concert from now on if that would always be the outcome.

For the all the valid criticisms noted, I'll still say that Elliott's messy, inexpert shitbirding of Ryan Adams and his fans was a whole lot more entertaining than a staid, overly-amorous retelling of the night would ever have been for me. I'd rather have that than a journalistic climate where no one is allowed to be mad, bitter, truthful, personally invested, or a weirdo. Gwendolyn Elliott decided to break form and got her 'nads kicked in for it. In a few years, that's exactly the kind of person who could end up with a book deal, right? Whether you or I or anyone else thinks that's good or bad isn't even the point. The point is that she did something memorable, and in the end, won the day by getting our attention.

The Kinks, "Mr. Reporter"