Monday, November 19, 2007

Out on the town

It has been a busy couple of weeks. Here are my thoughts on the good and bad parts of the three shows I have seen in that time. Enjoy.

11/1 Hold Steady/Art Brut at the State Theatre
1.Why would the Hold Steady have a show at the State Theatre?
2.Art Brut are awesome. They have a cheekiness that is both over the top and pertinent to the music that they create. (My favorite was the band all freezing together while the bass drum continued to thump) I don't know how someone could not have enjoyed their set, even with the sub par sound.
3.The Hold Steady were great, but what else would be expected? Even though the sound was too muted and the mix was borderline horrible, the band plays with so much energy and passion (especially in their hometown) that they could have played in the echo-hell of the Target Center and given a moving performance. I sometimes forget that the Hold Steady are so amazing. Shame on me.
4.The 12 string was great. Next they need a grand piano that Franz Nicolay can play and have Tad climb up on and do a Slash solo, that would rock.
5.Why would the Hold Steady have a show at the State Theatre?

11/15 CLOUD CULT @Varsity

1.Ah, the Varsity Theatre. Ye of quaint settings, low slung Christmas lights, disco balls and leather chairs. Unfortunately, I have never had the pleasure of getting sitting in one of these fine looking chairs. I mean seriously, how early do people get there to get those god-damn chairs. I am sick of sitting on the risers and having to awkwardly stand on the stupid giant rug with a bunch of half drunk fake hipsters. Oops, I mean Cloud Cult and Doomtree were really good.
2.I do not understand how Cloud Cult are not a massive band. Not in the Arcade Fire or Pavement way, but the Dave Matthews/U2 way. These write really good songs that have pretty melodies and are easy to ingest. Not that I mean to compare them(I don't think Cloud Cult suck, and I can't say the same thing about Dave Matthews), but it seems like the millions (I think) of people who like Dave Matthews Band would eat up Cloud Cult, wouldn't they? I looked around at the show and saw some very unassuming looking kids who to me screamed "I LOVE MEDIOCRE MUSIC", the kind of kids who if you looked threw their cd's, the best one would be Advice for the Happy Hippopotamus. But yet I have seen them twice to medium sized crowds for a total price of $10. What Gives? For their sake, I hope they do make it big.
3.It never gets old to hear really good music and watch people painting. It is pretty emotional and I don't know how you don't get chills when he is singing this sings about his dead son. They put on quiet a show that I think I could see over and over again(very similar to the Flaming Lips....great music made even better by an amazing live setup)
4.Doomtree were good, but hip hop shows are so AWKWARD for crowds of non hip hop fans. Stop telling emo freshman kids from the U of M who want to hear Cloud Cult to "throw your hands in the air". There are times for crowd participation and there are times to just put on a show. A Varsity Theatre on a Thursday night 3/4 filled with kids who not only can't tell the difference between Rakim and Reakwon, but have never heard of them, is NOT the place.
5. I wish I had made it for First Communion Afterparty. They have been good when I have seen them before and I read they have a new lineup, but that will just have to be a another night. It is like seeing The Brian Jonestown Massacre, but without a drugged out singer who spends more time yelling at the crowd than singing and more girls on stage.

Menomena/Illinois 11/17 Varsity Theatre
1.So they say doors at 8, so we confidently show up at 8:10 with hearts a flutter thinking about an entire show sitting like kings in our chairs.....but NO! Are you fucking serious?! Do people show up when the sun is going down to call chairs? I think Robyn and I were the first people there to not get chairs....I swear I am cursed, all I wanted after having to work Saturday was a chair, is that too much to ask for cruel world??
2.I am going to speak in honest terms here and I want to make it clear that this next section is not a parody or an overstatement. Illinois were the worst band that I have ever seen at a show that should have good live music(this disregards some poor choices on my part from my younger day....those bands suck in a whole another way). I cannot begin to describe how bad they were. It was like a frat house got together and picked the biggest pricks to make a sublime cover band with the biggest idiot saved to sing the stupidest shit he could think. He had one song about waking up for work late and the chorus was "I'm free". He kept yelling "hip hip" and making the audience say hooray. I wish I was a better writer and could fully describe how awful this guy was. It was the kind of performance that makes people lose faith in music. There was simply no excuse for how bad they were.
3. Menomena were really good, everything I hoped for after having been into their excellent album Friend or Foe for many months. I could write about their great versatility on multiple instruments or the fact that all three sang wonderfully, but after writing about and reminding myself about that god awful band(Illinois), I am in a bad mood and want to have a drink. I really cannot stress enough that under no circumstance should you ever permit yourself to be in a situation where you would have to witness Illinois. God, I really can't believe there are bands that bad.