Remember when MTV and VH1 showed videos? Every time Weird Al came out with a new album, we’d be treated to AlTV, with the MTV jingle played on an accordion. Flip on the TV, you could see Head Bangers Ball, Alternative Nation, or Yo! MTV Raps. And of course, those classic Spring Break runs in the late eighties and nineties. MTV really meant “Music Television.” VH1 was its mellower little brother. The only glamor shows were House of Style, and while MTV treated us to Liquid Television and Aeon Flux for cartoons, Beavis & Butthead still poked fun at videos. It was a music show in disguise.
And then the music disappeared. MTV and VH1 became reality television. After all, if you wanted videos, you had YouTube. Right?
Well, sorta. If you wanted new music or music you didn’t normally listen to, there was no outlet on television. Radio had become pathetic with its corporate behemoth owners and limited playlists. Half the time I watched saw the Grammy lists, I had no clue who anyone was. New music had become American Idol. And American Idol had become embarrassing to admit watching.
Then I stumbled onto Palladia. It was one of the cable company’s Hi-Def offerings. What were they showing? Rock festivals. Hip hop festivals. Later With Jools Holland. Live from Daryl’s House. I saw new music. Live. I saw bands I never heard of. I started making it my weekend ritual to DVR as much Palladia as possible.
It’s hard to see new music live when you live in a town like Cincinnati that supports only wedding bands. There’s iTunes, but you have to hunt for new bands and hope you stumble onto something. Pandora helps, but again, you’re somewhat limited by the format.
I’m enjoying Palladia as long as the format remains the same. Hopefully, MTV Networks won’t decide to squeeze it dry by changing it to yet another reality show channel, the way MTV and VH1 have become, or like Disney has done to History and A&E. If they do, the last video Palladia should play is Bruce Springsteen’s “57 Channels and Nothing On.” Until then, I eagerly await new shows live from Daryl’s house.