Thursday, October 11, 2007


What I will probably not do ever again is go see hip hop in a theatre. Or see Tegan and Sara, period.

Shelley and I scooted over to the Bronson Centre last night to see Northern State open for Tegan and Sara. The sound was awful. Having known a few sound people, I have sympathy - they would have only gotten access to the place that afternoon, and the equipment was probably all rental. You just can't know the quirks of a room or gear on such short notice. And maybe it was where we were standing, right near the speakers at first, and then for T&S, deep in a pocket of bass vibration that drowned nearly everything else out. But while I have sympathy, it also fucking sucked for the purposes of musical enjoyment.

I didn't have a great time, you can probably tell.

Hip hop and cushy-seat theatres do not go well together. The gals of Northern State were putting their hearts into it* and the audience was mostly just standing there. Appreciating the show with only their ears, and not their cans. An audience like that is hard to perform to.

Tegan and Sara are much more enjoyable when they're talking than when they're playing. Musically, there were a couple of interesting things - the drummer pulled out a double kick pedal for a couple of songs, which is unusual in indie rock and was used effectively, they have a couple of songs that are oddly and nicely structured (Walking With a Ghost is my favourite), their voices work really well together and there were some nice keyboard touches. But man, maybe they could slip some of the self-awareness and irony of their banter into their songs. And if three people on stage are playing guitars, maybe they could be playing different parts. Or hey, maybe one of those guitarists could be playing one of the four keyboards on stage.

We were sitting there, shifting around a lot and kind of grumbling back and forth to each other. Then T&S played Walking With a Ghost, a good version of it, and I had heard what I wanted to hear. We stayed a song or two longer and then Shelley leaned over and said "Is it beer time yet?" We cut out early and went home to drink Guinness and watch fish.

*Though they were a bit sulky about the sound, which I cannot abide. I get that mic and monitor problems are a huge deal, but fuck me, it's an occupational hazard. So suck it up and do your best job instead of being a big damn baby.

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