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?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Live Review - Caspian - The Middle East Upstairs March 2, 2014

The Middle East (Upstairs)
Cambridge, MA
Sunday, March 2, 2014

Support - Junis

The number is now 18. I know there are readers out there that have seen any band (usually jam bands) far more often than 18 times, but its pretty great that a band you really like you get the chance to see this often.

Each show has been as good, or better than the last. They always seem to bring the their passion and drive to the stage.

The band is back from a European run and did a one off in New York the night before and before the week is through the band is heading to Australia and the Philippines. Its just amazing the sheer # of shows this band has played (over 600 now).

Taking the stage shorty after 10pm the band opened with “Fire Made Flesh” and would unload an 11 song set that just never let up. Playing on the very very small stage the band had to swerve and bob out of the way of guitar necks and drum sticks. The stage was full with members, and the room was just booming.

The sound was good, but the crowd was packed in all you could do was rock in your own little space. Many were simply lost in the music. Its always fun to scan the room and see eyes closed, heads slowly swaying and smiles from ear to ear.

It is always a thrill to see the band and they play each show like it will be their last, or someone is going to take their instruments away. It just never lets up.

Try to see them, I say it all the time..but do it. You can do it for cheap money get on it before I can say “I told you so”.

The full set:
Fire Made Flesh
Of Foam and Wave *
The Heart that Fed
Gone in Bloom and Bough
Halls of The Summer
The Raven
E: Malacoda
Some Are White Light

*High lonesome tease/intro

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