Monday, September 10, 2007

Interlude: Protection

Friday saw my return to Webster Hall...which apparently doubles as a nightclub after the concerts are over. As the second of a somewhat excessive three day concert binge, I was a little tremulous over the state of my ears, which hadn't fully healed from the night before. As deeply uncool as it is, I wore earplugs for the first time, and I think that's going to be general practice from now on. They really cut down on the searing distortion that accompanies those guitars, and it's not as if things aren't loud enough when you're wearing them. Instead of dreading the inevitably ringing (the sound of your hair cells dying, a pleasant thought) that follows virtually every show, I can now take the time to reflect on the performance in tranquility (or, as the case may be, while listening to my iPod). So seriously, give earplugs a try if you go to a lot of shows; they definitely do more good than harm.

Ra Ra Riot

Openers like Ra Ra Riot reward the crowd for showing up early. There's a lot of satisfaction in hearing a band for the first time and feeding off their energy, even if you don't know the words. As per their name, R^3 kept things energetic, but the addition of cello and violin provided a sublime texture that's usually absent from their peers. Frontman Wesley Miles, unencumbered by an instrument for most of the set, was all over the stage, and his bandmates followed his dynamic example. It was a bit shocking to read about the band's loss of drummer John Pike just a couple months ago, and it's very admirable that they're continuing onward in his absence. If this set was any indication, their efforts are definitely paying off.

A few more photos can be found in my Flickr.

MySpace: Ra Ra Riot
Official Site: Ra Ra Riot

Unfortunately, openers like Biffy Clyro kind of make me scratch my head. I was hoping that the shred-filled soundcheck wasn't an indication of things to come, but alas, the following set was just about as rough and abrasive. There were a few diehard fans in the crowd that were clearly enjoying themselves, but it seemed as if the majority of us were a little put off. Anyhow, things would be pretty dull if we all liked the same stuff, so that's that.

Official Site: Biffy Clyro

The lighting was kept at a dramatic minimum throughout Editors' set, visually reinforcing the moodiness of each song. But instead of gloom, the band projected an air of triumph, seamlessly transitioning from material from The Back Room and An End Has A Start. Tom Smith was both the visual and musical epicenter of the group, his baritone cutting deftly through the guitar squall and lively percussion. Despite the austerity of the band's earlier work, Tom seems to have fully embraced the magnitude of the latter, making sweeping gestures and clutching at the microphone in dramatic - and completely effective - fashion. At one point, he yelled something incoherent away from the mic, but the intent was clear, and the crowd went into a frenzy.

Highlights from The Back Room - "Blood," "All Sparks" and "Munich" - were overwhelming in live forms, but the newer songs fit in comfortably, and in many cases became more compelling in live form than on the album. The first single, "Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors," with its multi-part harmony and soaring chorus, became an almost transcendental experience, and Tom proved equally adept on the piano. "Fingers in the Factories" followed, an anthemic end to a mind-blowing set. To echo last year's sentiment, this band must be seen live.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Editors' drummer Ed Lay for Washington Square News, and a feature on the band will appear this Friday. I'll link to it when it goes live. Until then, here's Editors live at the Paradiso in Amsterdam on January 30th, 2006. Enjoy!

1. Lights
2. Blood
3. All Sparks
4. Fall
5. Bullets
6. Find Yourself In A Safe Place
7. Camera
8. You Are Fading
9. Munich
10. Open Your Arms
11. The Weight of the World
12. Fingers in the Factories

MySpace: Editors
Official Site: Editors


Roland said...

If you're having problems downloading, here's a .zip of the whole set:

Anonymous said...

it's impossible to download the files

queen bee said...

did you ever post the ed lay interview? i'd like to read...thanks.

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