Postprint version. Published in Cultural Studies <=> Critical Methodologies, Volume 10, Issue 4, August 1, 2010, pages 307-319.
The definitive version is available at https://doi.org/10.1177/1532708610365320.
Explored as a series of five interrelated performative commitments, the author takes seriously the notion that live musical performance, especially when it is pervaded by an improvisational ethos, can be quite powerful and well worth close examination. In particular, the band Phish, with its devout subcultural following of “phans,” is mined as a rich site for critical, theoretical, and descriptive fodder. The author writes as both a phan and a scholar, drawing from his own experiences seeing Phish live on many occasions as well as from an interdisciplinary body of scholarly literature. The essay provides insight not only into the Phish phenomenon but also into the intersections of performance, communication, popular music, and critical cultural studies.
2010 Sage Publications.