Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A Little Case of the Mondays...


Coming off an aggressive and exhausting weekend for many reasons I was not exactly amped to be staying out late again on a Monday to watch guitar heavy rock. But I know you people count on me and I owed it both of my readers to suck it up and approach this evening with an open mind and open ears. Despite the fullest of true intentions, my performance was on par with the band’s, sloppy and misguided with no end in sight.

By default I eat at Cabo fish taco when in NODA, but nothing about this night fired on target. After parking and observing a beyond appropriate number of showgoers for a Monday filing into the Neighborhood Theatre I began to get that feeling that the night was taking a turn for the worse. We just walked on past Cabo and the line that was spilling itself onto the concrete. Quick diversion as Phil and I meander the scenester traffic and grab Cubano’s from Salvador Deli. I can’t stomach a beer yet so I settle for a Root Beer, which makes me sluggish and full of sugar, I wasn’t helping myself at all.

8pm hits and we make our way into the door where I met with Gary, my personal neighbor and co-owner of the venue. He gets me in the doors and gives me the VIP treatment as he runs down the overhaul the venue has recently undergone. What once was a floor of seating as now been stripped down to open dance floor and elevated platforms with self VIP seating…changes that fast made this one of the better looking venues I been to. I’ve always liked the Neighborhood but now it looks and sounds great.

Can’t say the same for the opening act. Elevation from Seattle, referred to as Lo Mein for rest of the review. Lo Mein has a dilemma. This dilemma stems from a decent drummer, and alright guitarist and a leadman that sucks. This band had no focus. No clue. No hope. The songs trailed off into nothing as a instrument was either dropped or notes were so fumbling that they just kinda gave up. This band was loud in all the ways I hate loud bands.

Note: Photo obviously taken 17yrs. ago

Up next were the Meat Puppets whom I hoped would be a tighter more refined sound. Turns out they were just older, louder and weird. Kinda like Ween on a bad night. They did play Plateau but it sounded rough and the singer trailed off on the last stanza forgetting the lyrics…sad. The band seemed out of practice, out of synch. There were numerous sound issues, bumping into mic stands and knocking a guitar over into a speaker that sent squealing reverb across the floor for the next few songs. The only highlight was a great version of Backwater, their true hit. The oddest part of their set wasn’t the country rock they played or even the cover of Tennessee Stud, what made it awkward was the crowd getting so into the show. Most folks seemed to be loving every second of it. The guy in front on me had such a blast that he passed out with two Bud tall boys in his hands before the set was even over. The group of 40 something women to my left were dressed as though they were hoping to sneak backstage of a Stones show in ’81…and they were singing along! Maybe I just didn’t know what the hell was going on, but this show was wearing me thin. What topped it off was the worst version of Lake of Fire I have ever heard. THEY WROTE THE SONG, WHY DO THEY MAKE IT SOUND LIKE CRAP????

I knew I had to document the Meat Puppets to say I’ve seen them, yes the band Nirvana made famous and played with on their Unplugged set, I took out the camera to learn that I had failed to charge the batteries. I’ll have that beer now.

By the time Built to Spill came on stage I was ready to go home. This wasn’t fair to the band. They sounded really good. Loud, but very controlled and far more polished that the previous acts. It’s a shame the openers took so long and played all over the place because I really took away from a band I like and have wanted to see. The stage setup was interesting with a backdrop slideshow of black and white art with a few color oil paintings flashed as well. What hurt the band was that after EVERY song they tuned their instruments. No band has ever song in a different key, especially not bands that play muffled reverb and feedback like it’s about to go up in price like oil.

They even joked about the incessant tuning. “After we finishing tuning we’ll actually play a song…we just need to tune up first.” Not funny after they began tuning as soon and the ensuing song ended.

I ended the show much like the bands were playing; unexpectedly and fuzzy. That is to say I didn’t stay to the end. Not Built to Spill’s fault, just fault of the night as a whole. So I’ll end this review in a similar fashion and just simply


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