Live Live 14/5/07
Live Live 14/5/07
How Do!Today’s blog is basically about gigs, the best I’ve seen, a little bit of analysis and then hopefully conclude with some ‘how to be good live’ advice…
I’m doing this blog as this weekend I went to see the Klaxons in Liverpool and they were completely underwhelmingly average. Now I’m not a massive fan of the Klaxons but I went to check them out as I do like the singles and especially think that ‘Atlantis To Interzone’ is a cracker of a song. On the CD the production values are awesome, the drums are spot on and it basically makes you want to dance like you’ve never danced before. Unfortunately live it sounded too ‘busy’ (but then again that might have been the sound engineers fault), the bass was all wrong and as my good friend Clipe Sexo Amador mentioned; ‘they did sod all on stage’.
Its not that we were expecting them to put on an aesthetic festival for the senses, but they just moped about without really putting much into it. All in all, the weren’t bad, just incredibly average.
This made me think about the best gigs I’ve been too, so here they are with reasons on why there were so good. Be aware in this list you may find artists that I wouldn’t list as my ‘favourites’, but I’m a big fan of giving credit where credits due, and if they impressed me live then I’ll praise them to all that will listen:
Winner of the ‘I’ve just witnessed something special award’ – Arctic Monkeys:
Being a Sheffield lad with a passion for the music industry I’ve followed the Monkeys from pretty much the beginning of their attempt to take over the world, I’ve seen them quite a few times now (the first one being at a tiny club night in Liverpool which was ace) but the one that makes this list is their first headline appearance at the Leadmill. The Leadmill is to music lovers in Sheffield, a second home. It is quite simply the best music venue I’ve been to for a whole plethora of reasons, the stage set up, the sound, the club nights, the amount it holds (not too much but not too little, it’s the Goldilocks and the 3 Bears equivalent to a music venue). So when the Monkeys announced they were to headline the said venue after the release of their debut EP ‘5 Minutes With The Arctic Monkeys’ me and my friend from home who were fans of the demos decided to go and have a gander. What we witnessed was awesome (in the true sense of the word as well, proper ‘awesome’), the crowd were amazing, singing along to every track, jumping to every beat and girls falling in love with Alex Turner every other word. After the relentless 45 or so minutes was over, me and my friend went into the bar, sat down, and didn’t speak to each other for 10 minutes. For the first time in my humble life, I was speechless. Before I went to that gig I thought the Arctic Monkeys had the potential to be successful, after the gig, I was certain.
Winner of the ‘Sing-a-long-til-you-can’t-speak-no-more award’ – Maximo Park
Maximo Park are one of my favourite bands, great tracks, very good lyrics (sometimes bordering on superb), catchy riffs, a brilliant frontman and topped all off with a fantastic live show. Paul Smith simply demands your attention but not in a cocky look-at-me way, but more in a ‘I really want to hear what he has to say’ way. I was a fan of Maximo Park’s singles and my mate lent me a copy of ‘A Certain Trigger’ a couple of days before we went to see them during the NME awards show (with the Arctic Monkeys, We Are Scientists and A.N. Other), and I didn’t listen to it once as I was looking forward to see the Arctic’s and not much else. There were a few reports regarding that particular award tour saying that it was peaking too early with the Arctic Monkeys taking the stage before Maximo Park, and although I could see some truth within that during the Liverpool show, Maximo Park were worth the ticket money alone that night. Kicking off the set with ‘Graffiti’ and finishing on ‘Going Missing’ they kept me hooked all the way through the set even though I only knew about 4 of their songs. A Certain Trigger is now one of my favourite albums ever.
Winner of the ‘Not really bothered about seeing that but I’ll go anyway just for the craic but then be amazingly impressed with what I saw award’ – Bruce Springsteen
I’ve grown up on Bruce Springsteen (not actually on him of course, that would be both bizarre and a hindrance to his career) thanks to my parents love for him, and although my dad has played a hugely significant part in moulding my musical tastes, Bruce Springsteen was never really one that I enjoyed too much. I think it was mainly due to his song ‘Cadillac’ where he repeats that word so many times it used to last the whole ride from home to school in the morning. So several years ago when he announced a gig at the Old Trafford Cricket Ground and my whole family were off to watch him, I went along on my dad’s recommendation. This particular concert was to support his ‘Rising’ album which is an album that never sat right with me (every song on the album is regarding the 9/11 attacks on New York, a subject obviously close to his heart due to him being from New Jersey himself) and although he did play a good few songs from it, he pulled out all the old classics as well. 3 and a half hours worth of classics! Now I don’t know how old Springsteen is but jesus he’s got some stamina! A great show where every track was performed with real emotion and also an honourable mention should go out to the E-Street Band who are also quality (I’m running out of superlatives!)
‘Winner of the amazing, astonishing, astounding, outstanding, remarkable, wonderful, incredible, startling, marvellous, miraculous, mind-blowing, mind-boggling, staggering award’ – Muse
Muse are the most amazing thing you will ever see. FACT.
I’ve seen them several times and every time they just blow me away, pre ‘Black Holes and Revelations’ the sound that they used to make for just 3 people was indescribable and impossible to justify just how they did it. When they play now they do have a cheeky fourth member, but it does nothing but add to a master class of a live show. The drummer is a human metronome, the bass player has the funkiest fingers in Western Europe and Matt Bellamy is a genius. And I honestly mean that: he is a genius. What he can do with a piano, a guitar and his voice just baffles me. When I saw them in November and he played the solo in ‘Invincible’ my jaw hit the floor. I was certain that on the album that breakdown was a synth or some random effects but of course not, that’d be too easy! Instead, Mr Bellamy finger taps at around roughly 3,000 times per minute to create a sound that I don’t think existed until he invented it writing that song (http://youtube.com/watch?v=ienhU2senlc). And it’s not only the sound with these guys, it’s the aesthetics as well. A pure gallimaufry of visual feasts complement the music in such a way that it’s the thing that I want to witness when I finally close my eyes to die. Beautiful in every sense of the word.
For me, every Muse gig I’ve ever seen would be on this list but the 1 I’m going to choose is Doncaster Dome in support of their ‘Origin of Symmetry’ album. I refer to this gig as my ‘musical puberty’ as when I left, sweaty, tired, bruised and elated, I’d changed as a person. In a good way.
Just. Fucking. Brilliant.Some honourable mentions should also go to the following gigs:
The Killers (with support from Bloc Party, Kaiser Chiefs and The Futureheads), Ocean Colour Scene, Def Leppard (Pre the awful ‘Slang’ album), Bon Jovi, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Muse (again), The Darkness (on their 1st album tour), Green Day, The Who, Foo Fighters (when Queen joined them on stage – amazing), Magdalen Green (quality unsigned act).
A few more awards for the individuals I’ve seen live:
Best Drummer – Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters)
Best Bass Player – Flea (Red Hot Chilli Peppers)
Best Guitarist – Matt Bellamy (Muse)
Best Voice – Brandon Boyd (Incubus)
Best Front Man – Mick Jagger (The Rolling Stones)
So, if you’re in an unsigned band and reading this blog, what can you take from it? Well you can’t just copy Muse or impersonate Mick Jagger, your live show should be individual to you or your band. Each persona will be different with regards to the genre of Music, so look at successful artists in the same genre to you, see how they do it and see how you can make it individual to your own needs. I can’t apologise for the lack of advice because quite simply there isn’t a ‘magic formula’ you can use.
Righto then, come on people I want to hear your voices this week, I want to know who your favourite live artists are and why!
What I’m listening to this Week: Muse and Queen
p.s. If you’re reading this David Unsworth, I owe you a pint