... such a good show.
I've been a fan of Mew for around 10 years and had a chance to see them 6-7 years ago at the Mod Club here in Toronto. I don't always assume I'll get a chance to see bands from Europe here (Mew is from Denmark), so when they add a date, I do my best to grab a ticket!
... bought back in June... first day they went on sale.
So Mew is doing well over in Europe and it's always a roll of the dice how bands that are used to playing larger venues can handle a smaller club again. When they played the Mod Club, they had an elaborate lighting/video show that went along with the set... not the case last night. No space! But it's a great environment to test a band... small venue... where you can be close enough to see facial expressions even if you're at the back of the room.
I wouldn't say Toronto is a "rock" city, and I wouldn't say Mew is a "rock" band, but they put on a great rock show last night. They took the stage, waved to the crowd, cracked a few jokes, thanked the audience throughout the set, and played the shit out of that stage for 90 minutes. A good mix of older tunes and the new album (which I haven't given a good listen to yet).
One song in particular, Snow Brigade, is what got me hooked years ago. They didn't play it at the Mod Club show, and I was a little disappointed. We always want to hear our favourite songs live... see how well it stacks up to the recordings we love.
They nailed it.
Right off the opening/intro riff, I scanned around to a few friends in attendance and we all looked at each other... this is happening!!!
The set felt a little long (90 mins) but nobody was complaining... the fans got their monies worth for sure. I overheard a few people discussing the show on the subway ride home... thumbs up all around.
The Dodo's put on a decent 45 min set to open the show. 2-Piece (guitar/singer, drums) from San Francisco, very angular guitar driven (duh) rock songs but the drummer made it interesting. The reviews were mixed on his choice of drum parts... he was literally just playing the drums (floor toms) most of the time... it was different, but it worked. They played the tune I wanted to hear early in the set (Competition), so I got my fill early on... I thought they were a good fit for the bill though.
... good ol' guitar bands.
- Mike :-)
P.S. Mew was scheduled to go on at 10:15pm and they went on at 10:15pm. It's always nice when Toronto shows don't run on Toronto time!
Yup... so I went and saw Helmet again. If you've been following along at all, you'll know I missed most of the show I went to see in Philadelphia... a trip loosely planned before the Toronto date opened up.
When I heard it was at Lee's Palace (1/4 the size of the place in Philly).... $25 to see a band you grew up on playing a small club... yes please!
I'll try to keep this short... I saw Trail Of Dead last year doing a similar tour... playing one of their "classic" (fan favorite) albums front to back. I meant to write about it... so good... for fans and the bands.
People can say albums are dead... which I agree in some respects... but I feel like the problem is not enough thought went into full albums as full albums for a while.
My generation was probably one of the last to actually listen to an album start to finish. Why? Partly because we were lazy... but I think a big factor was how much crap you needed to carry if you wanted to listen to music on the go... we just listened to what was our walkman or discman.
... think about that for a second. How many tapes or CD's did you want to carry? You just listened to the same album(s), (maybe 2-3) on repeat until you got sick of it... then swapped it out.
Eventually we started making mix tapes/CD's but for the majority, you happily listened to what was in the player... but then that changed in my teens (late 90's)... we could not only skip to the songs we wanted to hear... we could download them... randomly... then the legendary iPod came about...
I'm a little off topic I know... but it ties into these types of tours.
Even though everyone knew what song was coming up next, everyone was into it. These are tours for core fans. We don't always need hits... we wanted to share the experience of hearing a "classic" (to us) album performed live.
I'm sure the band is a little sick of playing it now but they find ways to have fun with it. They find ways to recreate the tones and production on the album, and present it to the audience.
... and financially, every ticket sold is probably the equivalent of an album sold.
Helmet still played a bunch of "other hits" in a second set but the applause after they played Sam Hell (final song on Betty) was probably a big part of what keeps bands like them going.
Appreciation from the fans... true appreciation... everyone on the same side... celebrating an album that's now 20 years old.
I care a lot about the tunes going on an album or EP (and their order) for this reason. The band should want to play them all live... and they should all work live, as the band, in it's purest/rawest form.
Albums aren't dead... they just got screwed up for a while... too much filler around what people were trying to sell. If you want people to listen to more of your music, you have to give them more music worth listening to. Simple.
I encourage bands to go out and try playing their EP's and albums start to finish before recording... if anything it'll help them realize how much quality material it takes to fill up 45 minutes... and how the audience feels about the song selection.
... you'll spend less time recording too... I guarantee it!
So this post hasn't really been much about Helmet now that I think about it... they were entertaining though... hard to find a band with 20+ years experience playing all over the world who isn't.
Just in case any bands out there still haven't got the message... the show starts the minute you arrive and doesn't end until you pull away from the venue. How you treat the venue staff before the show, and how you treat the fans after the show.
A fair amount had left before the very end... 2 hrs of Helmet is a lot of Helmet... that and maybe the crowd was a little older... lots of glasses, grey hair, bald spots, and mid-life guts in attendance... but just like in Philly, the show ended with Page Hamilton, 54 years old, leaning over the edge of the stage to shake hands with those still upfront... before crouching down for pictures and to chat.
Who knows how long he stays after the show talking to fans... I doubt it's simply an ego boost... he's a smart dude... and you can tell by the way he carries himself on stage he's a humble dude... probably knows there'll be a day when he's forced to stop...
Mike Langford - Official Blog
Being on both sides of the glass, I get the chance to wear many hats in the music industry. This is a place to share my thoughts, views, predictions, rants, stories and news!