This article is a few weeks coming and I apologise for that. The Ruthie Foster one will be following shortly too.
While Soundwave wasn't too impressive an organised thing, the people deciding to put it on felt the need to make a little bit more money by running what they called "Sidewaves". These were side gigs that bands from Soundwave would play in each city.
Not having our complete fill of As Tall As Lions and The Dear Hunter, my brother Michael and I went on the Monday.
That was the day after Soundwave. We'd both been to work that day and I was exhausted from the day prior.
As well as burnt.
Here's what happened…
My American Heart
I have no idea who you are or what you sound like. I apologise.
We only heard glimpses of you as we were standing in line. You / they / whoever it is sounds okay.
Before that night, I had never heard of "mewithoutYou". Today, I'd just look away! Look away!
mewithoutYou is interesting but the lead singer has what is quite possibly one of the worst voices I have ever heard in my life. It's like stuffing a sponge down the throat of a taco chip and then smashing a bottle over its head and requesting that it sing music that your parents would love.
I have no other way of explaining it. Seriously.
Ok, I lied. I do. I was just being lazy and comedic (or attempting to be, anyway).
Full credit to him for handing out food to the audience though. I wonder if he's used to his audiences feeling an urge to throw him out of a window and has used this to quell them in the past.
Unfortunately for any of us who tried the fresh food that was good for us, it was a little… too fresh…
…seriously, who eats raw asparagus.
I actually said to Mike as they were playing their set that "this music makes me want to slaughter innocent children".
It wasn't that the songs did it… just his "singing". But if you thought we would escape the wrath of his voice – whoever he is – you'd be wrong because…
…mewithoutYou returned in Kevin Devine's set.
Kevin Devine was a surprising one for me because while I had never heard of him let alone heard him, I actually didn't expect him to be as good of an artist as what he was.
Mike & I didn't catch the entire set for him as immediately after the mewithoutYou punishment session was over, we headed outside for some food. Unfortunately, all we could find was a dodgy slice of pizza at an even dodgier kebab shop and after that we headed back inside to see what else was on before As Tall As Lions & The Dear Hunter. The first song we heard Kevin Devine play felt like your typical Dashboard Confessional acoustic emo rock mish mash and Mike and I turned to each other, our nods echoing the same thoughts we were having.
And then Kevin played a song called America… and everything changed.
Here was a musician who was baring his heart and letting everything out in a beautifully constructed song filled with wondrous lyrics and a remarkable sense of passion. While I'd easily bet that Dashboard Confessional's Chris Carrabba is one of those singers that empties his soul into a schooner only to see every girl drink out of it in hopeful agony, here was a singer who was pouring out his life and his observations into a song because he could.
It wasn't about getting the girl. It wasn't about fucking. It was about something tangible, something real.
And that was nice to see.
It was also nice to see him just blending in with the crowd as the rest of the fans waited around for their favourite bands.
I'll be buying some of his stuff later on, me thinks.
As Tall As Lions
After seeing ATAL play the day before at Soundwaves, I was looking forward to hearing them play in a gig where the sound guy wasn't a deranged idiot with a packet of plastic forks shoved up his ass and ears. I was looking forward to hearing them sound brilliant and play a different set.
I got half of it.
The half I got was them sounding excellent. They really are a brilliant little band, even if we only got to see two of the band members play down there. It's a shame that they really didn't do anything to change their set.
"Stab City" would have been nice. I only yelled it out at each thing I saw them at. *sigh*
On the plus side, while we were standing in line, there was a small laughterish line as – while I wore one of my trilbies – I commented to the mustached guy out of As Tall As Lions "nice hat". He in turn said "thanks," saw my hat, and smiled. 🙂
I guess he didn't see my freshly signed As Tall As Lions shirt from the day before.
While the set was more or less the same of what we heard at Soundwaves a bit over 24 hours ago, we got a nicer rendition of "Love, Love, Love". Sure, it's hard to beat one where one of the guys from Cartel and the lead out of The Dear Hunter co
me along, but there were enough up on stage for As Tall As Lion's last song to make it something that no ATAL fan would forget.
The Dear Hunter
While As Tall As Lions and The Dear Hunter are very different bands and each command a different sort of stage presence, Mike is probably right:
The Dear Hunter were the better of the bands to see.
It's so simple when you see them play. While the two ATAL members who were there have a lot of fun and put a lot of passion into what they do, it's just not as amazing as seeing some of the fun the band members are having in The Dear Hunter. They're jumping all over the place, shaking their heads while their hair whips around at the environment madly. The light dances off of beads of sweat and you can see without a doubt that this is live music at its best: musicians pounding away at notes and lyrics to produce a sound that is nothing short of amazing.
It's just so brilliant to see something like this. Rock. Pure unadulterated rock.
And sheer pleasure in the eyes of the people playing it for those of us who love it. Brilliant sounds bouncing off of tired walls, reverberating through our ear drums and pushing us deeper and deeper into the brilliance of this this music.
It was a shame that one of the guitarists was too fucking loud.
He must be a fan of Spinal Tap. I expect there's a bloody "11" painted in white out on his Marshall amp and I suspect that night that the sound guy knew he was too loud but couldn't do anything about it.
Everything that The Dear Hunter did was fucking brilliant… except for this guy.
Yes, he's a great guitarist and he was certainly doing some very cool things. I would just like to have heard the rest of the band… I was there for the songs, not for a ear shattering guitar solo that had more in common with noise than anything else.
If the guitarist – whoever he is – ever comes across this page, do a few of us a favour and heed these words of advice: shut the fuck up by turning yourself down.
Once again, it was a shame that The Dear Hunter chose a path much like As Tall As Lions and opted for pretty much the same set-list as they'd used at Soundwave. While I didn't know their discography, I know Michael as well as a couple of others who were shouting for an encore were looking for something more than just what they'd heard before, and not even two days prior.
But other than that… brilliant. Definitely worth seeing if you love music.
Leigh's Final Word & Some more images…
By the end of the concert, I was exhausted. During the last few songs in The Dear Hunter's set, I got to talking to a gorgeous Kiwi girl named Sarah (I love the Kiwi accent on girls… *melts*) who was taking pictures of broccoli… and the band. But we got to talking and as the show ended, I quickly got her email (alas, not the phone number…) so I could… you know, communicate with her.
As the lead singer of The Dear Hunter was getting off of stage, I told Mike to go up to him.
And then when he did… eventually… I got a shot of them together. Mike was annoyed at me for not getting two shots. Lack of professionalism on my part or something. I think the image was fine. That's a Michael smile!
So it's a cross between a smile, a frown, and a lemon… it's the moment that Mike will remember most.
Earlier on in the night, some random photographer took a picture of Mike & I… here it is. He can be found at his website, in case you were curious.
Finally, here are some more pictures from the night. I don't have as many shots left over as I did from say something like Soundwave.
Please remember that I don't make money from my shots so if you're going to link to them or embed them in a page, make sure to leave a link back to my site with some sort of "I found these at Leighlo.com!" or something like that. I've already had some people embed without linking back and it just makes me realise that there are some grade A asses out there, and not the sort I want to do fun things to.
Back on topic, while I would love to make cash out of my photography, I do this for fun at the moment so if you like my shots, leave me some comments and if you want to use them, leave a link or a trackback. It's the un-ass-ish thing to do.
Sing until your lungs get sore…
All you need is love, love, love… love is all you need. Ish. Sort of…
…although I could go for some sex. Not with these people. All they want is Love, Love, Love. I'm just saying in general. Sex. For me… ahhh, forgetaboutit…