Wednesday, October 04, 2006

You're not my eater, I'm not your food

The past few weeks have been extremely busy, music-wise. From the good (Avenue Q), the bad (Wicked), to the ugly (Nitzer Ebb), not to mention Wynton Marsalis (not once, but twice!), my ears have been awash in live sound pretty much constantly.

(NOTE: I only listed Wicked as the bad because it fit the sentence construct. It's not bad. See here if you don't believe me.)

One would think that I was getting tired and, in fact, you'd be right. There are rare occasions when I get music-ed out, at least in terms of live shows. There is such a thing as too much. However, even though I'm reaching my breaking point, I managed to hang on and catch Massive Attack last night at the Roseland Ballroom.

What a great show.

They played all of my favorite tunes and also had the good sense to bring in as many of their usual guest vocalists as possible. Yes, Liz Frazier of the Cocteau Twins was there (and sang the tune from whence comes the title of this entry), as was Horace Andy (surprising, considering the man is damned near 60 and still lives in Jamaica, I believe).

Tunes included:
"One Love"
"Hymn Of The Big Wheel"
"Inertia Creeps"
"Man Next Door"
"Black Milk" fact almost all of Mezzanine
...and a bunch of stuff of 100th Window (including "Future Proof")

Roseland was also the perfect venue. Those of you who have been there know what I mean. Those who have not need know only this: it's huge. Cavernous is an apt description. Anyone who is familiar with Massive Attack's sound obviously understands how this type of place would add to their performance, given their penchant for booming bass and floating, ethereal keyboard work. Yes, the booming bass was there. As for the keys... well… therein lies my one complaint.

Too much guitar.

Many of the tunes were revamped to include either new or extended guitar parts, while the sythns were pushed further back in the mix. This was a much more rockin' show than I expected. I'm a huge fan of Massive Attack mostly because of the cozy (and sometimes claustrophobic) sound that they create. This was a much louder, much more in-your-face act than I'd expected. Still, it was fantastic.

And very loud.

And very bright.

The rear of the stage was completely filled by a huge lighting array which contained what could only adequately be equated to the God Lights from Blade II. "Audience blinders" is what Susan calls them; extremely bright. However, unlike most high intensity lights I've seen, they weren't huge. In fact, it was as if the whole lighting rig was composed of a million tiny one-billion-watt bulbs. Because of this setup, it was possible to display complex patterns of cycling color. Envision a gigantic, multi-colored stock ticker, but faster. Pretty amazing.

And did I mention bright?

And loud?

Here a three brief clips from the show to illustrate what I'm talking about. Please excuse the crappy quality, but even my Razor, with all its ninja powers, couldn't handle the amount of sensory input we were experiencing.

One Potato
Two Potato
Three Potato

As you can see/hear... intense.

So this was a great show. Not the greatest show I've ever seen (Tom Waits will always be the supreme champion, for various reasons that I've neither the time nor the space to get into here), but pretty high ranking. They are playing two more nights at Roseland (tonight and tomorrow) and, if yesterday's crowd was any indication, I believe there are still tickets available. Go check it out.

Be blinded, deafened, and happy.

No protection from:

A Great White Bird - Collection 1
(amazing DIY eletronica from the wilds of Canada)

A Great White Bird - Collection 2
(second verse, same as the first)

A Great White Bird - Collection 3
(a whole lot of AGWB and a whole lots worse; but not really)

A Covenant Of Thorns - Hallowed & Hollow
(imagine Morrissey with a big penchant for keyboards)

A Covenant Of Thorns - If The Heavens Should Fall
(because I was really too lazy to think more this morning)


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