Sunday, February 18, 2007

I'm not ranting am I?

It is a gorgeous, slightly sunny, slightly cloudy day...I just came back from a walk, ear buds of my mp3 player cutting me off from the rest of the world and providing a soundtrack to go along with the purple and yellow crocus buds that are starting to nose their way up from the dirt. All very nice, and one of my favorite ways to pass the time - walking, looking, listening. I started thinking about the listening part of that equation, a result in part of my experience last night, when my brother and a friend and I saw a band last night at the Plaza, a dance club that has started to have live music in the 'early hours' before they open as a club. Yes, there is a bit of a rant coming on. Sorry.

Rant #1 - Venues

The band we saw was Grizzly Bear - a quartet from Brooklyn NY. Enjoyed the show - their recordings are quite subtle and atmospheric, and I suspect not that easy to bring to a live show but they did a good job given the circumstances. And what were those circumstances? As mentioned, a dance club being used for live music. Nothing wrong with that really I guess, and for some artists it would be just perfect - but when you are dealing with a band that is relying on quite complex vocal harmonies and subtle instrumentation, and the contrasts between soft and loud, lulling and jarring, the fact that my brain is being pulled between what I am hearing from the stage and the general din from the centrally placed, glowing, sparkling bar lodged on the dance floor was making me a tiny bit CRAZY. Maybe I'm just getting old, but I go to watch, and to listen. CLOSELY. Don't get me wrong - this type of venue has its place, and is great for seeing louder, high energy acts where any bar glass clinking and chatter is going to be drowned comfortably out. Vancouver does not have enough seated venues that would be appropriate for this kind of act - and I'm afraid a seated venue is the only way things are going to be quiet enough to really let a band like this really shine. And what is the final kicker about the dance club venue? The crowd has to be out by 10 to let the heavy drinking/profit-making club kids in. At 9:50, last night's show ended - and the extremely devoted crowd hollered and cheered waiting for the encore that never came - not time for that sort of thing when you've got that line up waiting to come in and shimmy up to that glowing, centrally placed bar.

I have a whole other rant dedicated to audiences. I'll leave that for another time.

In other news my Mum dropped off some inspiration for some more flock members, shown above - a bit of a preview of what's to come in the land of felty feathered friends!

1 comment:

Tracy said...

i think that this is the reason that i don't go out anymore to see live music ;) ok. so that and the rugrats...