Sunday, January 07, 2007

I'm With the Band, Man

I hate concerts. Standing around a smoky bar or concert hall, surrounded by a bunch of drunk idiots who invariably block my view of the band (ok, so I'm short) and scream and blabber loud enough so I cannot hear the band, on top of most bands not being as good live, make up the main reasons for my hatred of live music.

During my high school years in Denver, there was nothing to do but go to the Rainbow, or Red Rocks, or Cricket on the Hill, the Atzlan, and any other number of impromptu punk venues. My first concert was the Ramones at the Rainbow, followed a week later by Joe "King" Carasco. I saw every band I loved and more that I really thought of as just an acquaintance, but most of the live shows were a massive turnoff. Seeing how much New Order (who were awesome, by the way) hated us was devastating, and seeing Anthony Kiedis slovenly hit on a pre-teen girl ruined me as a Red Hot Chili Peppers fan for life. I mean, I wasn't a Cure fan anyway, but seeing a bloated, slurring Robert Smith stumbling around stage is sure as fuck not worth my $20. Thusly jaded and cynical, I stopped going to concerts unless I was paid to be there.

Later, I covered music for an entertainment magazine and got more than my fill of shitty publicists, diabolical bookers, and, of course, the "artists" themselves: if you got them on the phone or persuaded them to speak to you one-on-one (lucky you!) they were usually drunk, stoned and or nasty, rendering your whole interview useless. But somehow you are wasting their time.

So you can how when a friend says, "Trouble, you have got to hear this band live!" I roll my eyes so hard, I pull a muscle. Why bother? If I like music, I download it to my Ipod.

However, my friends in Lancaster were relentless, so I went to the Symposium — a more-than-decent Mediterranean restaurant that also hosts live music on the weekends — to hear Sight Unseen.

Right away, guitarist Rich, bassist Ray, and drummer/vocalist Matt launched into an energetic set of re-worked covers. I know, I know: not only a local band but a cover band? Just bear with me here. Each cover is a clever re-do, such as giving Dead or Alive's "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" the ska treatment, and Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" a classic rock makeover. It helps that they are superb musicians. Something tells me my friend Marty would really like this band, though I don't know why.

As enormously entertaining as this concert was (and yes, even I had a good time, and even danced a little), I kept waiting for some original stuff — which I predict will be outstanding. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of novelty acts, but I think a group of musicians as talented as this band could be big. Myspace big? Bigger.

Speaking of which, the band is on Myspace here. The clips are not (and I can't believe I'm saying this) as good as the live show. Hopefully, one of these A&R types trolling the internet will find them and see their potential.

Until then, I'm going to do something heretofore underheard of: I will go to a concert of my own volition! Sight Unseen, you've restored my faith in live music.

*insert chorus*

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