Saturday, August 26, 2006
Tapes 'n Tapes @ The Forum, 23 August 06
Things didn’t really go quite right this evening. Firstly we were a bit late for the start of the Tapes ‘n’ Tapes support slot. There I was huffing and puffing unnecessarily outside The Forum whilst the underage fans in front blagged their way in without ID. Then my camera battery ran out after taking one crappy photo (yep, that’s the one above). But most of all, the sound was absolutely shocking. In small intimate venues like The Macbeth, ropey sound doesn’t matter so much. In big venues like The Forum, it’s inexcusable. And when you’re up on the balcony, far from the stage, it’s just rubbish.
However, I’m sure that Tapes ‘n Tapes aren’t rubbish. But I feel sorry for them. The sound is so murky, a lot of the finer points of their songs are lost. The drum mike is way too low, so none of the ace jazzy drumming can be heard. There’s no evident keyboard sound. You’ve got to admire a band who use a euphonium onstage, but shame we couldn’t really hear it. Josh Grier’s vocal mike is too low, so that the quiet-to-loud build-up midway through Insistor goes unheard until he starts shouting. What should have been a barnstrorming close to their set is annoyingly muted.
If it wasn’t just the sound, I guess there are two possibilities:
Maybe TnT really are rubbish. So I had a listen to The Loon again. All the way through. And though there are two or three fillers on there it’s mostly fantastic. In an endearing indie slacker way. The more obvious tracks (y’know, the ones that have been all across blogland this year) – the fast drumming urgency of Insistor, the glorious clatter of Cowbell and the wonderful Pixies-esque quiet/loud dynamic of 10 Gallon Ascot still thrill. And the rest of the album should convince Pavement fans to stop worrying about Steven Malkmus’ disappointing solo material and stop looking for their successors.
Or maybe their live show is still a bit underdeveloped. But then again, that can’t be true either . They’ve played way to many gigs this year to be novices. And they’re clearly well into performing. What with keyboardist Matt Kretzman running all over the stage, joining in on percussion and rolling on the floor. Maybe they just had no idea how bad they sounded out there.
So in the end, instead of being thrilled by the Minnesota boys’ performance, I was just left annoyed by big corporate venues like The Forum, who get the big shows but obviously don’t really care about the quality of the gig experience for the fans. Still, if you were there and were unimpressed by TnT, do yourself a favour and listen to The Loon before making up your mind. You can start with the tracks below.
Download: Tapes ‘n Tapes – 10 Gallon Ascot
Download: Tapes ‘n Tapes – Buckle
Bonus track (via Rewriteable Content)
Download: Tapes ‘n Tapes – Cowbell (Black Eyes Remix)
Buy The Loon
Check back to my previous post for some live acoustic Tapes ‘n Tapes
Review of headliners Franz Ferdinand coming soon…