"Go Ahead Put Your Red Dress On"
(Photo by WinkingSkunk)
I'd planned to attend the secret Love Is All show at the Monster Island Basement last night, but scoring last minute tickets to TVOTR changed my plans. To be honest, I've never been a big TVOTR fan. It's not that I don't like them, I just, to quote Chuck D, "don't believe the hype." That said, I was excited to see them live, as I've been enjoying Dear Science (in particular the Bobkast making ballad "Family Tree" and funk banger "Red Dress"). In retrospect, I should've watched the debate and then headed to Love Is All, as TVOTR sounded terrible.
This may not have been their fault, and I presume, it wasn't. From the looks of it, the sound on stage was fine. The band was raging and not once was there a call to "turn up the monitors" or, the often heard, "Can I get a little more in my monitor? Less him, more me." I've seen one show at the Masonic Temple in the past (BoH on Valentine's Day) and it sounded pretty good, not great, but definitely not shitty. Not so much last night. In fact, it was so bad that not a single word Tunde sang all night was comprehensible, which is too bad because his voice, and lyrics, are one of TVOTR's strong suites. As if that wasn't enough, he and Kyp were both low in the mix to begin with, drowned in sludgey layers of, for lack of a better word, mud. The horns, which I thought would be a nice addition (and would be $$$ on "Red Dress", which wasn't played), were lackluster, at best. The entire evening sounded like TVOTR being played out of a shelf system stereo with one blown out speaker plugged in and the X-Bass on. Not flattering for a band known for their experiments in sound.
Flat out, the show sucked and I'm pretty bummed I shelled out 30$ for a band I'm not that into, who seriously let me down. But, it does give me a platform to bring up a question I've been pondering for a long time; Who is to blame for muddy sound? Was it the venue for being rather open and having a ceiling with cutouts that soak up sound instead of projecting it? Is it the band for being from BK and choosing to play three nights at a venue whose sound they knew was subpar? (After all, they could've easily done a multi-night run at MHoW and/or BB) Or, can the blame be placed on an ill advised, unexperienced sound guy? If so, I'm going to take TVOTR to task and say that they've been around long enough where having a shotty sound guy is absolutely unacceptable. Their on a major label, tour in a lavish Prevost bus and sell $40 t-shirts (yeah, 40 bucks), they should at least be able to deliver a decently sounding show to a home town crowd of excited devotees. To rub salt in the wounds, I actually saw the sound guy high five his partner (or crony) right after the show, as if they'd single handedly produced a life affirming rock show. They hadn't. In fact, last night was essentially the definition of subpar.