Monday, April 18, 2005

Smoke Free Clubs? Awesome!

As much as I complain about The Quest Club in Minneapolis, our lovely government has helped make it a venue that is a little more bearable. Instead of fighting my way through a dense haze of cigarette and marijuana smoke, I can now actually see farther than 5 feet in front of me clearly. I don't know if it was the city of Minneapolis or the county that the Quest is in or if it was a club decision, but the venue is now completely smoke free. I can actually stay for an entire concert without my eyes wanting to burst out of my head and my lungs wanting to cough up all the poison I sucked down while breathing.

I found this out last night when I went with Jared to go see Underoath and Hopesfall. We didn't get in free to this show, which kind of sucked, but you can't get a media pass to every concert even though I try. As usual, we ended up having to wait outside the club for about 45 minutes in a gigantic line that went around the block. Since the Quest is still insistent on only having one small entrance into the club, it takes forever to get people in. Thankfully, though, the majority of the crowd was under 18 so the balcony was pretty well open when we got in. As much fun as it is to release a little pent up rage in the pits now and again, I also enjoy just watching a show from the upstairs.

The opener was a band whose cd I really, really hated--Fear Before the March of Flames. Seeing their live show didn't make me a fan. Seriously, their entire set was a half an hour of noise according to my ears. My eyes also cringed throughout most of their "songs" as they had strobes continually going off behind them making me want to simultaneously puke and have a seizure. Their music really isn't music as much as it is each of the band members thrashing the hell out of their instruments, sort of in the same manner attempting to make music, but for the love of all things holy I couldn't appreciate their spastic attempt at post-modern, angst-ridden, quasi-artistic music in any way. It was noise, plain and simple.

After their atrocious set was out of the way, The Chariot took the stage. These guys are another band whose cd I really didn't enjoy very much, but I hoped their live show would be better, and it was. Their music wasn't all that great. It was standard tough-guy metalcore, but the stage performance of the band was amazing. They were moving all over the stage like a bunch of wild men hopped up on a double dosage of grade A speed. To add to the chaos, they had guys running from the back of the stage and cannonballing onto the top of the crowd. Everyone on the floor was going just as nuts for these guys as the band's onstage performance. To help cool down the crowd towards the end of their set they went back stage to grab a few supersoakers to spray the crowd with. Even though their music wasn't the greatest, their performance was unbelievably chaotic and the crowd ate it up.

After The Chariot, I knew that Hopesfall would have a hard time matching their energy level, and they didn't even get close to being as crazy, but they managed to put on the tightest performance of the night. The first two bands played a style of music that could be pulled off sloppily live and still be ok because it was all about the energy. Hopesfall's style of music is drastically different in that it has slower tempos and mostly melodic vocals. I thought the crowd would hate them, but even though they weren't moshing like crazy, everyone seemed to have their heads nodding along to the grooves of their songs. In my mind, Hopesfall were the best performers of the night. They didn't resort to crazy stage antics or trying to rile up the crowd, but instead just played their music well and let the crowd get into it if they wanted to.

Last on the bill and headlining the tour was Underoath. When they first started playing it was obvious that there were some mixing problems. The guitars were mixed in too low, the vocals were hardly audible, and the symbols were overpoweringly loud. After the first couple of songs, the mix got a little bit better, but it was still problematic throughout their set. I had a hard time getting into Underoath's set. First, their keyboardist doesn't do anything and his thrashing around in his little corner of the stage seemed kind of, I don't know, sad I guess. It's like he's part of the band, but he's not--like when you were forced to take your little brother somewhere with you when you were younger because your parents told you to, but you sure as hell didn't want him tagging along. He was happy to be with you, but you were simply annoyed.

While they played through most of their big hits from their latest cd, everything just seemed a little sloppy. You could make out what song it was they were playing but because of the combination of crappy mixing and somewhat sloppy playing everything seemed kind of murky. Besides playing a good mix of songs from their first and second cds, they also played one new song, and this new song was easily their worst song of the night. I hope they don't continue down the road that that song was taking. If you've listened to Underoath you know that most of their music has a quick tempo to it. Well, their new song was very slow as they appeared to be going for a "wall of noise" metal approach and it just didn't work. In the end, though, they were a decent band to watch as they were genuinely energetic and seemed to be having a fun time.

The show was over by 9:00 pm, which was really weird considering that most of the shows I've gone to as of late have run until 11 or later at the least so I had plenty of time to get home, but instead when I got back to Jared's place I laid down on his couch for a minute and before I knew it, I was asleep. Who knows why. Maybe Underoath were too boring! Unlikely, but they could have been better.

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