A Trend I’d Love to See End. Like, Yesterday…
- Posted by chicagosean
- on May 6th, 2012
Or more specifically, this annoyingly horrible trend of 2-person bands performing live with all manner of pre-recorded backing tracks, effects, and otherwise jarring noise and gimmicks. The effect being that it sounds like you’re hearing a full band with a singer, guitar player, bass player, drummer, and keyboardist. But you’re really just witnessing two people essentially performing Karaoke to their recorded album.
It seems every time I turn on SNL or late night tv (Jimmy Fallon, ftw) there is one of these jokes of a band playing. And when I go to a live show, one of the opening bands inevitably follows this same formula. This is usually my cue to then head for the bar and a quiet corner.
Is this the result of the music business being “iTuned & Spotified”? Are revenues down so far that the overhead to assemble a full band is just too much? Or is this a symptom of a youth culture that grew up in isolation behind their TVs, computer screens, and XBox’s that has no social skills but high-tech tools to be a do-it-yourself musician?
We can thank The White Stripes for showing the world how this could be done properly when they released their first album in 1999 and shook shit up. And these days Dan & Patrick of The Black Keys have emerged from the club circuit to now selling out arenas around the country. These two bands are some of my favorites. And they did it right. Straight up. No pre-recorded bullshit.
The rest of you trying to make it right now? Please Stop. Please. Now. You suck.
Long before The White Stripes became a phenomenon in the early 2000′s and The Black Keys began rocking bars in the middle 2000′s, there was another 2-person band that was blazing a trail out of Chicago called LOCAL H. In the winter of 1995, I spent some time masquerading as a DJ for my college radio station in Buffalo, NY. During this time, I had the fortune of receiving advance copies of albums months before they typically were offered for sale to the public. One such CD that landed in my lap was the soon-to-be-released debut album from Local H. I loved it immediately, made a cassette tape copy so I could play it in my car, and it stayed on heavy rotation in my car regularly for the next 5 years. Some of you may remember the hit song in 1996 that emerged from this album – “Bound For the Floor”.
For whatever reason, Local H never became huge like the Stripes or the Keys. Perhaps it might be because of front man Scott Lucas’ attitude towards the coasts exemplified in “California Songs”? ;)Here we go again, its never gonna end The world is so sick of California Songs We know you love LA, but there’s nothing left to say Please no more California Songs …and fuck New York too!
Anyway, nearly 20 years later, Local H is still alive and kicking. Last night I made the last-minute decision to attend their show at Chicago’s Double Door – one of the great live music venues here. I’ve attended probably 50 shows at Double Door in the 10 years I’ve been in Chicago. But last night was like nothing I’ve ever seen there. This 400(ish)-person venue became a full-on mosh pit. The two opening bands set the tone with hard-driving sets that lathered the crowd up. And when Scott and drummer Brian St. Clair took the stage, the Local H fans were set to explode. And the band delivered 10-fold – melting faces, peeling the paint off the walls, and literally destroying the club. At the end of the show, I was covered in beer. Funny, considering I wasn’t even drinking one. It was epic.
Here is amateur video taken by yours truly via my iPhone during the 3rd song of their nearly 90 minute set:
Forgive the unsteadiness, I was filming this while trying to avoid getting smashed by flying bodies.
One of the highlights of the show was when they twisted “Bound to the Floor” into a full-on screaming metal version of Beastie Boy’s “You gotta fight for your right” in tribute to the late Adam Yauch.
And in true punk-rock fashion, the show ended after Scott leapt from the stage to crowd-surf and somebody stole his shoe. After attempting to beat the shit out of who he thought was the perpetrator of the crime, he went back to the stage, took the mic and told the crowd to fuck off. Metal.
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Sean McLaughlin - Editorial, Curation, & Investor Relations Solutions at StockTwits. Also, former Member of the Chicago Board of Trade who trades his own account in Boulder, Colorado. More »
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