You know, I went to see the Magnetic Fields a couple of weeks ago. I was really excited because it was at Trinity St. Paul's church - a gorgeous venue. And I also really like the band, with their dry, deadpan humour and brainy, low-key songs.
Andrew Bird came on first and he was a delight. Beautifully melodic voice not unlike Jeff Buckley. Urban and brooding like Lou Red. He whistled, he took off his shoes. He played guitar, vibraphone and violin. The early audience watched him, rapt with the sound and the mellow good feeling that comes when the sun is setting and shining all mellow orange through stained glass windows.
Then the Fields came on. And I seem to have uncovered a 30-something quality that makes me easily annoyed (middle-rage?) cuz I could not hear a bloody thing. I strained to listen, but the volume was so low level, and the band was practically comatose, completely lacking vibrancy. Chris remarked that it looked like the guitarist was about to fall off his chair with boredom.
I started to fidget in my seat. Were other people experiencing this? How could we be standing this absurdly muted performance? Everyone was leaning forward to hear but no one had my furrowed brow or annoyed expression.
When they delivered a deadened rendition of Papa Was a Rodeo, I was ready to leave. I love that song, esp. their rendition of it. So I walked downstairs to the main hall, only to pop in and realize that the sound was much better on the mainlevel. But by then the show was almost over, and I was too pissed off to enjoy it.
I think that 10 years ago, I would have been so much more chilled out about a bad concert. I am old and cantankerous.
Shoulda gone to see Southern Culture on the Skids.