Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Sounds, after DJs that almost weren't worth it

The Sounds at Royale in Boston, MA, October 30, 2011

So the tickets said doors at 6, and assuming a 6:30 show we arrived at six. Oh how stupid we were.

The music pouring out of the speakers was already loud, even though the crowd was only twenty people deep. We were only a few feet back from the stage and my friend feared for my ears later in the night as I'd forgotten to bring earplugs.

"Honestly, I've probably done so much damage to them over the past few years, one more night isn't going to hurt."
"That's like saying you've done so much damage to your liver, what's another night of binge drinking?"

So I paid a dollar, bought some earplugs, shoved them in my pocket and never pulled them back out. It's just not the same through little cylinders of foam.

First up, after a full hour of nothing, and oh my god up for too long, Kids at the Bar. Two dudes, two soundboards, one laptop. They DJed for 75minutes. I don't know that it wasn't all preprogrammed - sure they were turning knobs and hitting buttons, but it never correlated with what was coming out of the speakers. One of the guys, Red Plaid Dude, was at least a little excited. Dude in Black just stared at his board and drank a beer the whole time. It might have worked in a club of people looking to dance, but the crowd waiting for a band was... displeased. It would have been fine for 30min, but 45min in and everyone was antsy. After an hour and fifteen we practically applauded that they were leaving.

Next, Natalia Kills. I actually really liked her and her legging clad band. She had a great stage presence, a badass attitude, and the voice to back it up. Her live performance was even better than the recorded music on her site. She seemed a little stiff at the beginning of the set, probably from nerves and wondering how the crowd would react, but by the end she was smiling and captivating. "Free" and "Acid Annie" stood out, as well as her cover of "Fuck You" by Cee Lo Green. I might not go out to see her again, but I'd definitely be happy if she was opening for someone else I was seeing.

Then Kids at the Bar came back! As soon as their little DJ cart came back out the crowd let up a collective groan. This time we only had to put up with them for 30min, but that meant they'd been on stage for almost two hours total. It was brutal.

Then finally The Sounds. We were maybe two feet from the stage and it was loud and intense. We were so close to the guitarist's monitor that the mix was off, but it was still so amazing. The Sounds' songs are meant for crowds to sing out, with repeated verses and lots of yelling. Maja is an amazing front woman, strutting and kicking and singing in five inch heels. She has this aura of complete badassery, while still being gorgeous.

From a stripped down piano and crowd sung "Night After Night" to "Ego" to "Song With a Mission," the crowd and the show both pumped with energy. I'm not sure how to describe how having Maja Ivarsson singing about two feet away from you, staring at you, will make you sing out the words to prove that you can. The whole band was having fun and rocking out, and they're one of only a few bands to whom I'd give the label "rockstars." It's something about the presence and the all consuming energy, as though every point in that room was focused on the stage.

Stumbling out into the cold afterward and onto a broken down Red Line, we ran into other concert goers who shared our sentiments of bad DJing openers, attractive guitarists, and charismatic singers. As soon as it was over, I wanted it to start again.

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