I’m a going to be straight with you up front, this show was not awesome. Not horrible, either. Just meh. Which probably explains the tardiness in getting this review up.
I also don’t know who the opening act was and a quick Google didn’t yield answers. Reviewing my notes, the only thing I have about the first act was that she reminded me a bit of Bjork and, also, had a hint of Justine Frischmann — former lead vocals for Elastica. The opener was a solo act, just her and her synth. I remember thinking it must be challenging to be an act that might be decent as a song at a dance party in full swing but instead having to warm up a crowd mid-week.
The second act was Nite Jewel. I thought her sound was okay to listen to while working, perhaps could serve on a movie soundtrack but I didn’t feel there was a lot of musicianship to watch on stage. Some of the bridges seemed overly long and self indulgent and normally I’m pretty generous of live performances. What brought on the snark? Probably my second show in a row, proving there’s a difference in concert season from my BA to my MA.
At one point Ramona Gonzalez asked the sound guy really pump the bass, which resulted in some giant feedback mid-track. Probably not the greatest request. There was definitely a Kavinsky-vibe to some of the songs (a plus), so much so, in fact, that instead of showing you a video of Nite Jewel, I’m going to share this awesome Kavinsky-Terminator mashup!
After a short wait, Chairlift hit the stage. But there’d already been two acts (Two! On a weeknight!) that I wasn’t super impressed with and was feeling a bit fidgety. For me, my favourite Chairlift track has always been “Evident Utensil”, as I used it on my PDP9 mix, Goodbye dear Aughts… Alas, it took until the second of three songs they played for the encore to get there. Though, funny aside, near the end of the set there was a drunk voice calling from near the stage for them to play this particular track. Which made me chuckle a bit…
I, myself, had originally discovered Chairlift through a music blog and remember thinking, “This is a cool song from a band not many people will probably know about.” Of course, this was at the height of my, “I don’t watch TV” phase, and I was blissfully unaware that Chairlift had gotten swept up in the Apple halo. There’s a line in High Fidelity, one of my all time top five desert island movies, that really set the stage. Rob Gordon notes, “Some people never got over ‘Nam or the night their band opened for Nirvana.” Rob never got over Charlie. Perhaps Chairlift never got over being in an iPod commercial?
“Bruises” and “Evident Utensil” were the only two tracks I really knew well going into the night. Reading some positive reviews of the show, perhaps it was just my foul mood that spoiled the show. I did enjoy the verse of Modern English’s “I Melt With You” put into “Bruises” and was happy to have stuck it out to see the one track that I wanted to hear. I definitely think to have been in the crowd, instead of lurking at the back like I was, could have made for a more entertaining show. Certainly, Caroline Polachek, provides a unique stage presence due to her modern dance abilities. As showcased in “Amanaemonesia”.
And that’s the thing. I do actually like Chairlift’s music, I just didn’t really care for this show.