I have been anticipating this Hood concert like nothing else ever since rumours of an impending US tour started circulating last summer! After all that personal hype, how could it hope to compete? Yes, i know that i pumped Hood up to super-human proportions in my own mind, but, well, the awfulness of this show had nothing to do with that.
But i'm getting ahead of myself.
The show started on a very positive note with a lovely performance from the new, smaller Audomobil? I first saw this band nearly a year ago, opening for Underwater's album release show. Then, Audomobil? were 5 members strong, and their music was complex and rich, with various members trading melodies. I really enjoyed that performance.
So i was a little disheartened when Audomobil? took the stage and there were only 2 members. One of the female keyboardists is still there, and the really tall guitarist is still there, but now they are backed up by a laptop instead of 3 other people. The show started with the laptop playing a recording of someone reading a story, and eventually keyboards and guitar joined in. As i had remembered, their songs grow and change, here with the two remaining members trading melodies while the laptop cranked out rhythms. It sounded great, and i think it really worked for them. In fact, the biggest praise i can give to this is that, at one point, Tracers (who i had unwittingly dragged to this horror-fest, and who is a big "garage rock" fan) turned to me and said, "This is wierd, but i actually like it." I would call what Audomobil? do "post-rock", and their version of it seems to appeal to people who normally don't listen to that kind of stuff. That's pretty good.
On the whole -- they still continue to impress me with their live shows. In fact, this set might have been the highlight of the evening, because we had some pretty deep levels of crappiness to sit through before Hood actually performed. If only we had known, we could have fled....
Shortly after Audomobil? left the stage, an older gentlemen in a white tuxedo came on stage, grabbed the mic, and proceeded to sing a Frank Sinatra-style lounge tune over pre-recorded music. What the ??? Well, after that one tune done in the traditions of his genre, he proceeded to sing lounge music over cheesey rave beats. Yes, that's right -- imagine Frank Sinatra's voice over music by Paul Oakenfield. Ugh. It was funny for about 5 minutes, but then it went on for another 30 minutes or so... Which prompted Tracers and i to come up with a list of 10 Songs That Should Be Done As Lounge Music. Anything to distract us from this guy, who was apparently named Louie Austen. Mr. Austen combines two forms of music (lounge and rave) that i do not like. Not surprisngly, i do like the fusion either. His set was boring and tedious. I was glad when he finished. Little did i know that shortly i would yearn for the simple tedium of his music.
Up next were Chicks On Speed. This band was three women in ugly gray dresses jumping around and tunelessly screaming over genericized-IDM type of music. However, that description does not even begin to describe the sheer unrestrained crappiness of this act. Let me just say this right now: Chicks On Speed are, without a doubt, the single worst band i have ever seen in my life. There was absolutely nothing redeeming about them, and if i ever encounter them in a bar i will encourage drunk people to taunt them. If you have the opportunity to see them in concert, don't. Stay home. Undergoing surgery is less painful than watching these people perform.
I have a sneaking suspicion that the entire "Chicks On Speed"
thing was supposed to be some sort of elaborate joke. I have
no idea what the joke could be about, but i cling to the notion
that i just don't get the joke. The alternative, that these
people seriously think that they make interesting music, is
too terrible for me to face. At any rate, they "performed" for
an hour. One hour of my life that was totally, utterly, wasted.
One hour of my life that Hood really owe me for, and owe me
Ugh. I feel naseous even thinking about them.
So after that horror, i was skeptical about Hood's performance. I mean, presumably they had asked Chicks On Speed to perform with them. Maybe tuneless screaming was the new sound that they were adding to their ever-changing fusion. Oh, i was scared.
Surprisingly, Hood came out and played exactly what i expected them to play. They put on a short set of competent indie pop meets glitch. They played the lovely It's Been A Long Time Since I Was Last Here at a pace faster than the loping dub of it's recorded form, and combined it with a sternum shaking deep bass riff. This came across pretty well i thought. The lead Hood brother sang the interesting rap in Branches Bare, and that didn't quite work as well as it did on the album.
On the whole, Hood were not spectacular. The delicate melodies of their recorded work are very hard to replicate live, and what i heard was pretty much what i expected to hear. It was, for a Hood fan like myself, definitely worth seeing.
Their performance, that is. And Audomobil?'s performance too. The other two acts could been attacked by Klingons and i wouldn't care....