Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A "headphone" experience at a live show.

Last month I went to see the Chicago band Umphreys McGee   at Lupos in Providence RI.

The band is well known in the jam band circles and often times have heavy sets that focus on crazy finger tapping/virtuoso guitar playing. Toss in a fun cover (the band teased Motley Crue's Dr.Feelgood on this tour stop), and two lengthy sets and you get a good bang for the buck, but alas, there is now more!

UM has started to offer fans a “headphone” experience. For a few (that includes a download of that nights show) fans can reserve on the bands web site headphones that provide a board feed, wireless right to your very own head.

My concert partner was excited try them out so he went ahead and put the money down. Early in to the set he looked at me and said “this is so worth it!”. He offered the headphones to be and I slipped them over my head and on to the ears. A clean, PA feed suddenly filled my head. The small clip you can put on your waist allows you to control the volume you want to hear.

They are not noise canceling headphones, but the sound and experience is commendable. It seems odd to go to a show and want to put on headphones but I assure you..this worked. It really did. I could hear some of the ambient noise of the club. You have all the visuals of lights and hot shot rock star moves its just “clean”. Okay okay..I get want the beer bottles banging in the background and the people shouting “freebird” well...I take that part back..but you are not all alone. There was something about it that really felt “okay”.

I can see it not working for certain bands, or your favorite band that you just love to go bounce around to, but imagine the layers of Radiohead or Sigur Ros you can experience. The quieter parts of post rock songs...imagine something like “My Father My King” from Mogwai.

Sure he got some odd looks, but people asked to try it out and each person, in just 20-30 seconds realized it to be an excellent method of better “hearing” the the shows.

The $40.00 might have seemed excessive, but its bands gear you are “renting” and you get a download code with the show. If the bands don't do live show recording then a tour poster or even a unique t-shirt might be a cool incentive.

So the next time you see someone at a show, quietly rocking out with headphones, wave them down and see for yourself. These people usually love the music they are there to see, and would love for fans like you to experience what they are experiencing.

Question, would you try this out for your favorite band?


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