Friday, October 23, 2009

Observations from the Evening of October 21st

Some random thoughts from this Wednesday...

* 930 Club concerts where the headliner gets on @ 8:15 are a rare and wonderful occurrence. It's nice being able to metro downtown and avoid traffic, plus I know the show will be over with time for me to catch the train home.

* 60 degree days in late October make the stroll from McPherson Square up Vermont Ave to the 930 Club quite enjoyable. I wondered as I walked what the going rate is for some of the very nice townhouses I walked past.

* As I was walking I was wondering to myself how the hell did Metric go from a mediocre band to really really good. Their first (proper) album was weak and disappointing. I remember having high hopes when I picked it out of the stack to review at WMUC. I skipped the follow up, and then heard good things about the new one Fantasies, and sure enough it's been one of my favorite albums this year. I went back and tracked down the middle album, Live It Out, and sadly it's about as weak as their debut.

I realized what was bothering me about their earlier work. They sounded like people creating a simulacrum of a rock bands, not like an actual band. In those two albums there are loud guitars, and brash lyrics and choruses, but the melodies are quite weak. It makes me wonder what sparked the extremely high jump in songwriting quality.

* Hall and Oates are super cross-generational. At the concert there were teenagers escorted by their dad, and they were quite pumped. Then there were some more mature women in front of me who were rocking out to "Private Eyes." I looked up Hall and Oates ages on wikipedia the day after the show, and they sit just to either side of 60. The songs have held up incredibly well. Who doesn't enjoy rock and soul?

* They played effectively the same set that they did at Wolf Trap this summer, but at least this time I was much closer. I was thinking about this after I realized the song selection was going to be the same, and I realized that sports fans spend way more time seeing the almost-same thing over and over, so seeing Hall and Oates twice in a year isn't all that crazy.

* My favorite little detail in the work of Hall and Oates is a tossed aside vocal flutter Hall does near the end of the recording of "Maneater" when he sings "Woman is wild - Woo-oooooo." It's this incredibly silly two-seconds that could easily have been cut out in the studio, but they kept it, and Hall even sings that bit live with all the silly energy of the original. It reminds me why I still go to see live music.

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