Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Commentary on Local Shows

I just completed a 3 month run of 60+ hours with a second job ending this past week. Since I haven't added commentary in a while, I am going to do so now regarding shows I have been fortunate to attend recently.

The big surprise came with the announcement of Levi's Braddock benefit. Many top indie acts played over a 3 night series at the Braddock library. I decided to skip out on the first night of Andrew Bird because he is consistently the most boring live act I have seen (that include 5 times). And for Andrew Bird apologists, his music is good, but you are kidding yourself if you believe he is a quality performer. He's equivalent to Animal Collective, the kind of act that just suckered you into paying $25 for a ticket, and another $25 in alcohol so you could tolerate the night.

We went the second night and checked out Built To Spill with Atlas Sound. I have to say Atlas Sound wasn't my thing in a live setting, however the stage lights and aesthetic made up for it. Whoever Levi's contracted for the stage setup did an admirable job. Bradford Cox (Atlas Sound) played solo the entire night and quite well. However, if there had been a beer tent I would have been the first in line. It wasn't bad, but it just droned on and on.

There is not enough words to describe the two decades of work Built To Spill has produced. Onstage they are the tightest act you will see live. They also don't skimp out on the their hit songs, playing a wide range from their catalogue. The only problem with BTS is that there is no draw visually to them. They don't say or do much with the crowd. But they are so loud and composed, you really don't notice.Some kid asked Doug Martsch if everyone could stand, which I wish he would have said no. It's such a PITA trying to look over a 6'5" dude in a theater setting, there is nowhere to move. Doug et al were well worth it.

I had never heard of Fitz and the Tantrums before they made their stop at Mr Smalls earlier this month. Their show was not just about the music, but the flash, dance and outfits they brought to stage. Drawing back to some doo-wop groups from the 60's, the band mirrored a lost time when performance was just as important as the music. The place was almost at sellout capacity with quite a variety of ages. FATT probably need a few more songs to keep their momentum. While they have their hits "Moneygrabber" and "Don't Gonna Work It", I feel a few of the songs just fell flat on the crowd. But a very fun band to watch.

Last act I want to mention is ExitMusic who opened for Phantogram at Mr Smalls in October. I really was looking forward to this show because Aleksa Palladino is on Boardwalk Empire (currently my favorite show) and secondly, because their EP is pretty good. They are in the genre of dream pop with such acts as Beach House or Grizzly Bear. The show was decent with the Aleska and her husband only addressing the crowd once. They will have to decide whether they want to take this project into a pop or ambient setting. The amusing thing I found was Aleska, who probably makes a million a year acting, drinking PBR. Now I am all for a cheap ass beer when I need to stretch a buck, but come on. Really? PBR? That is a bit much.


  1. Seated rock and roll shows are painfully awkward.

    And you are right about Andrew Bird. First time I ever saw him and it was a complete snoozefest.

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