Monday, August 23, 2010

What You Should Have Heard #24

Paramore Live at Municipal Auditorium, Nashville, Aug. 21, 2010

For the life of me I cannot remember the last concert I saw. I’m almost positive it was a Dancin’ in the District show (for those not from the Nashville area, it started as a free weekly summer concert series held at Riverfront Park before being moved to the parking lot of LP Field and charging for entrance. It no longer exists), possibly with Better Than Ezra and Cowboy Mouth. The last time I saw a concert INSIDE was maybe in 2001 or 2002. I went with a friend to see Incubus at Municipal Auditorium in Nashville.

There have been MANY concerts since that I’ve wanted to see, but alas, I’m poor. I’m also crazy busy working and taking care of three kids ages 2, 4 and 6. But sometimes I get lucky. Previously mentioned friend offered to pay my way to a .fun/Motion City Soundtrack show earlier in the summer, but my schedule didn’t work out. I hated missing MCS, but I’ve learned to live with such things.

Then, a couple of weekends ago, Previously Mentioned Friend (let’s call her PMF for short) texted me with an opportunity. A friend had to cancel on her and left her stranded with an extra ticket to see Paramore. I like the plucky little group from Franklin, TN, their first CD more than their second, but it’s not a show I would have paid to see. Luckily I didn’t have to.

When we got to the show, it was pouring. We had to walk around the block to the back of the building where we were spared from the rain by an overhang. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I was a bit out of my element. I was probably twice as old as most of the attendees, and I wasn’t rocking the skinny jeans. Can I say how much I hate that fad? Seriously, they’re ugly, and they can’t be comfortable. I can understand sacrificing comfort for fashion, but they don’t look good. As far as the age thing, the only time I felt uncomfortable was while waiting outside in the rain. And it’s not ‘cause I was at a concert with a bunch of young whippersnappers. I’m okay with my varied musical palate. Nah, it was the risk of being made out as THAT guy with all wet t-shirts around. I got a crick in my neck for admiring the Nashville skyline (do I have to pay Bob Dylan for that?) for half an hour. Chris Hanson probably could have set up a van outside of Municipal Auditorium and got an episode of “To Catch a Predator” for his troubles.

Inside was better. All tickets were general admission, so we got to choose, more or less, where we sat. Floor wasn’t an option for us, and we were able to grab a couple of good spots a bit stage right in the lowest level of seats. Not bad at all.

To keep everybody occupied until the first band, there was a screen showing videos, trivia on the bands on the tour, and a number you could send texts to which would show up on the screen. This provided a LOT of entertainment for the kids, and not a little for PMF and me. While most of the texts were stupid and juvenile complete with countless misuses of your and you’re, some were clever. Most, though, were texted to illicit high-school screams.

The show was supposed to start at 6:30, and give or take a few minutes, I’m surprised to say that it did indeed start on time.

First up was a band I’ve never heard of, Kadawatha. They started off strong and grabbed my attention from the get-go. That might not have been the best thing, though, because as I paid more attention to the band, the more ridiculous they seemed. Now, the music was great and I plan on checking out their Myspace page some time this week (mainly because I couldn’t understand a damn thing he was singing because the vocal levels were too low). It was the band members themselves that earned my derision.

First off were the matching outfits. Skinny jeans all around. All except the lead singer work dark shirts with separate yet similar designs. I liken them to visual descriptions used on variable shower heads. Each member had a different color on the shirt that matched their shoes. The lead singer had the same type of shoes but no matching shirt.

Then there was the choreography. Yeah, you don’t need that with a rock band. Raised arms with fingers pointing to the sky, backward collapses after playing the final chord, the lead singer on his knees, jump kicks and chord windmills. Theatrics aren’t need when you actually sound good. And I swear to God one of the kids thought he was in a metal band with all of the head banging he was doing. Laughable.

Next up was New Found Glory. I was vaguely familiar with the group and able to sing along with the closer “My Friends Over You.” They played a short but effective set. All up tempo and able to keep any crowd-hyping momentum that Kadawatha was able to start. Their cover of Sixpence None the Richer’s “Kiss Me” was also pretty good. They engaged the crowd and got everybody jumping and pumping their fists. Granted, I was still sitting, but I was enjoying myself. The lead singer wore skinny jeans, though.

Tegan and Sara should not have been third on the bill. They killed the momentum. We can debate if they should have been included at all (I was told they were doing all they could to hit towns that were screwed over by this year’s Lilith Fair cancellations), but they would have been better scheduled as the opener, if for no other reason than their music killed the momentum. Their stage banter sucked, and personally, I don’t like their voices. And they wore skinny jeans.

Who knows, maybe having Tegan and Sara go on before the headliners was the plan. But I don’t think having such a lesser band really propped up Paramore. These kids put on a hell of a show.

So what did I like about these guys? The energy, for one. They came on hard, the acted like they were having fun and not working, and they ALL kept the crowd on their feet. These kids looked like rock stars, played like rock stars, but they played like they were there for the audience, not the other way around. Sure, they’re from Franklin and this was a hometown show, so Hayley’s stage banter may have been a bit different, but I’m guessing that they’re like this with every show they play.

The music and the vocals were CD-quality good. I don’t like going to a show that sounds exactly like the CD; I’ve already listened to that, give me something different. But it was CD quality. The kids were tight as musicians, the vocals were crisp and clear.

Hayley is a wonderful front woman. They kept the stage free of clutter and unnecessary decorations, and she (everyone, really) put that space to good use; she didn’t stay static in front of a microphone stand. She got her workout going from one side to the next, singing to every inch of the auditorium that had a body on it.

The gang ended the show wonderfully with their biggest (to me, at least) single, the one that made me stand up and take notice of them in the first place, “Misery Business.” Hayley pulled a couple of girls on stage to sing at the end, and those girls took advantage of the situation, jumping around, singing with each member, and just having a good time. There was confetti shot out over the crowd, some anonymous little kid who started dancing on stage, and some guy who may or may not have been the lead singer of New Found Glory doing flips and shit on stage. It was just plain old fun.

And had Hayley not been wearing a skirt, I’m sure all five rather than just the four boys would have been in skinny jeans.

All in all, it was a great night, and something I really needed. And since it’ll probably be the last live show I see in a LONG time, it was a great one to have be the “last” show. For a while, at least.

Thanks to PMF for taking some video. I wish my phone had a better camera. The few pics I took were shit.

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