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Live Review: Vetiver at Bell House, Brooklyn, USA 7th May 2009

 
By on Tuesday, 12th May 2009 at 11:45 pm
 

Vetiver (live side)Coming relatively hot on the heels of 2008’s covers collection “Thing of the Past”, Vetiver‘s new record “Tight Fit” doesn’t represent any significant stylistic changes, but rather continues to chug along pleasingly in the same direction. This aesthetic also translates to the band’s live show which is a relaxed yet competent affair that accentuates the JJ Cale shuffle of many of the songs, whilst avoiding the the temptation to jam out too much. There is an elongated passage here and there, where guitarist Kevin Barker gets to display his great touch and tone, but excess is usually curbed in favour of a disciplined tightness. Singer and mainstay Andy Cabic has a relaxed and engaging way with an audience, unsurprising given that the music has a similar charm. Vetiver are well suited to this venue, which feels like some kind of mid-western barn ready to hold a hoe-down rather than an old warehouse in a very industrial part of Brooklyn.

The sound is clear, with every instrument and voice occupying its own territory, though I’m sure this also has to do with the way the band play. No-one steps on anyone’s toes, everything is very considered, and nothing seems out of place. This does sometimes work against them though, especially on less memorable tunes, where it starts to get a little ploddy. There’s also not a huge amount of emotional impact which is a shame as the band obviously have the skills to pull off a great show, but I felt like this was a head-nodder rather than a heart-wrencher of an evening.

But maybe that’s the point, an easier emotional ride rather than layering on piles and piles of angst in the hope that the audience feel some deep connection. Sometimes its better to have a nice mellow ride of an evening and thinking about it, it’s actually fairly rare to see someone pull that off without resorting to any major histrionics.

After the jump: photos
Continue reading Live Review: Vetiver at Bell House, Brooklyn, USA 7th May 2009

 

Live Review: The Soundtrack of Our Lives in New York at The Music Hall of Williamsburg on 11th March 2009

 
By on Friday, 13th March 2009 at 9:03 am
 

The Soundtrack of Our LivesThe Soundtrack of Our Lives throw all the right shapes, whether it be the tried and tested rock ‘n’ roll riffs, or the onstage posturing of Pete Townshend or Keith Richards. Thats not to say that around 70% of the time they don’t succeed in bottling some kind of lightening, managing to create something pretty special out of chord changes you’ve definitely heard somewhere before, and if they’re not playing the arenas that they play to in their minds, then its certainly not through a lack of learned dedication to their craft.  Or perhaps ‘graft’ would be a better word, as there is something slighty workmanlike about what they do, which leaves us with other 30% of the time, where songs become self-consciously epic, and lead singer Ebbot Lundbergs’ wild-eyed rock ‘n’ roll Rasputin act drops between songs reavealing him to be well, just a really nice guy.

It’s hard in this day and age though, when it feels like audiences are getting smaller, and people are no longer shelling out money to see bands they ‘quite’ like, and to be fair, even though this venue is by no means full, it says something of the bands desire to convert you to what they so whole-heartedly believe in that they play as if to 50,000 people.

It also says something about US venues that the minute the obligatory uber-fan in the audience starts a one-man mosh pit, he’s dragged away by security and warned to keep it down! By and large, American audiences are a lot less physical, prefering to keep their own space around them. I thought this was only in LA where you spend most of your life in the isolation of a car, but its here in New York too. It’s good news for us belligerent Brits abroad though, as I’ve had no trouble at all getting to within 10 feet of some of my heroes without the usual “I am absolutely rooted to this spot and I wont move a millimetre even to let you past” routine.

It’s no surprise that the band supported Oasis, as they have a lot in common. Thunderingly loud mid-tempo anthems with every cliché in the book that bludgeon you with enough volume and excitement for it not to matter most of the time. However, while Oasis had the zeitgeist on their side, TSOOL are just a touch too derivative to reach those heights themselves. While they may be destined to remain outside the mainstream, that’s no terrible thing, as commerciality may curb their excess, and this is a band that thrive on the stuff at every level; musical, lyrical, and in their performance. There are times when the dynamics work perfectly, the guitars work off each other perfectly, and the keyboards trill and trem in all the right places. If you’re looking for fairly mindless fun that you probably wont remember much about afterwards (and isn’t that the point of rock ‘n’ roll?), then these guys are a good place to start.

 
 
 

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