So there I was, making the thirty minute drive home from Easter dinner at my parents’ house. I had the ol’ iPod on shuffle when a song came on that reminded me of a great show I once saw. That song would be The Octopus Project‘s The Adjustor, which I hadn’t heard in a while. That band, which I saw open up for The Appleseed Cast, puts on a hell of a live show. Then of course there are the myriad bands that put on an awful show. I’ll list just a few here tonight and come back to this feature as often as I can. You know – milk it for content. Off we go.
A Band That Sucks Live: Pete Yorn
One word: boring. Yes, in college I was into Pete Yorn. I bought musicforthemorningafter and told all of my friends about it. They all liked it, too. Several years later my friend Ferg and I went to go see him and his band at the Riviera Theater. He had just put out the forgettable Nightcrawler but we’d never seen him before and were in the mood to hear some good music. That’s likely why we left after 6 or 7 songs and went to a bar with a jukebox. The weird 40 year olds that surrounded us seemed like they were having fun, what with all the creepy ballroom style dancing they were doing.
A Band That Is Good Live: Secret Machines
A friend of mine had been telling me to check out the Secret Machines for at least two years. He said he saw them three times in 2007 alone and every time was mindblowingly awesome. Finally, last November I had the chance to see them after they almost broke up due to Ben Curtis’ departure. I like the Secret Machines well enough – they’ve got a kick ass drummer and they utilize loud and repetitive drum patterns that sound like they’re being played with a sledgehammer. They have some great songs and an equal amount of just ok songs. When I saw them live though, all of their songs were elevated to great. It’s a sonic experience to see them live. Loud swirling guitars and epic, driving drumming – almost machine-like. I’ll see them every time they come back to town.
A Band That Sucks Live: Kings of Leon
That’s right I’m going there. America’s new darlings are a mediocre live band at best. The first time you see them, you’ll probably enjoy it – although it would be helpful if you could go see them in 2007 or earlier. Since you can’t, you get to hear the same exact choreographed set that the city the night before saw. And the night before that. And the night before that. I used to be a fan of theirs, but essentially what happened is I heard the release Only By Night and hated it. Listened to it again: hated it. I decided to see their show at the Aragon last Halloween and walked out in the middle. Not only were they playing their new crappy songs but they had for some reason slowed down their old, fun songs. October 31st, 2008 was the day I officially retired as a KOL fan.
A Band That Is Good Live: Animal Collective
I finally got the chance to see them on their recent Merriweather Post Pavilion tour at the Metro. Even an all ages show that had a 10 pm curfew couldn’t ruin my spirits. Even Avey Tare missing the encore with a strained voice couldn’t ruin it. In fact, maybe it was a blessing because it allowed Panda Bear to play Comfy in Nautica as the encore song. Usually when I see an all ages show at the Metro I expect to be boxed in, get knocked into by people pushing toward the front even though there isn’t any opening and an abridged setlist. These things were nullified by 90 minutes of soaring melodies and pulsating bass that had everyone in a good mood. We couldn’t help but look at each other in awe as the music played, especially during My Girls, Blue Sky and Guys Eyes. They didn’t get to play many of their older songs which I’m sure was due to the curfew, but it was an unforgettable show nevertheless. I’m hoping they come back again this summer for any reason and play a longer show.