May 9, 2008
Last night was definitely a two post review. For one thing, Liars deserves their own review. H showed me their little clip on Pitchfork in which they played "Juan's Basement." We both loved them immediately. How could you not really? That opening drum beat alone is enough to send me into a swoon. And then the screaming singing: "I wanna run away!" We were hooked right off but alas we are also poor graduate students so we have to yet own every album (which will come). This means we entered the show not as, well lyrically prepared, as I like. We were, naturally, thrilled when we found they were opening for Radiohead.
And we were a bit late. Mostly because H wanted beer so we had to go to an ATM. Oh and the traffic to the amphitheater was horrid. But we got to hear most of their set. Now as I mentioned before we were lyrically challenged but we did recognize that many of the songs came from "Drums Not Dead." Simply put they were amazing. Angus is an amazing vocalist. He ranges from loud screeching to soft almost sweet. But even during the sweet moments there is a tension, an energy that is lurking beneath the surface waiting to flare up. On the stage he's manic, roaming, dancing in jerky hyperactive movements, taunting the crowd in a wry dry way.The other musicians are really good as well. Aaron Hemphill I could barely see due to our somewhat sucky side seats (not that I'm complaining too much; it was better than lawn seats). But I could hear him. He's an excellent guitarist, merging nice melodies to the music, twisting feedback into something ethereal. He's as stoic as Angus is manic. He also drummed a bit, and he's equally as good on the drums. I'm really into drumming lately...maybe it's because I've heard such great drummers lately. And yeah Julian can drum. His heavy sound framed the music quite nicely, and definitely called you to get off your fucking ass and move.
They always have this tension between these droney songs and then fast, slamming beats that cut their songs in two. Lyrically and conceptually they're very smart as well. Their albums revolve around themes like the Puritan witch hunts. There is a strangeness to them, their lyrics and their music that I find appealing and a bit creepy at the same time.
I kept thinking though that this is a group I'd want to see at a smaller venue. They're playing Ashville tonight and if I had the money I'd be there. In a small space, I imagine that energy would just drench everyone. Charlotte crowds suck to be honest, and the people in the pit just stood there as Liars pounded out their music. H and I were seriously the only people moving in the seats. I'm kind of stunned at how one could not move to this music.
So this leads to my rant. People, show some love to the opening band. I almost got into a
confrontation twice. Once because two girls in front of me started a very loud conversation about their lives during the Liars set. After I started bitching really loudly about their rudeness, they finally moved the conversation elsewhere. And then during their last song some idiot looking for his seat stood directly in front of us. He finally noticed we were annoyed and moved on. I mean, is it that hard to shut your fucking mouth during a set? If you don't like the opening band than skip them. It's an amphitheater! There's lots of space to gossip. Go away and let me listen!
When we went to see NIN a couple of years ago we couldn't even hear TV On the Radio, and someone called Bauhaus "a local band." And it's a striking contrast to the small shows I go to where people listen to the open band, applaud them loudly, and if they don't like them move away to hold their conversations. There's a kind of respect because most people at these venues just love music, and they want to show some respect to the bands struggling to be noticed. This is not the majority attitude at a place like the Verizon.
I can not wait to see Liars again. Hopefully next time it will be a smaller venue but regardless they did not disappoint live. Photes here.