Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Live or dead?


Went to see Jenny Lewis With the Watson Twins at the First Unitarian Church Sanctuary this week. It was great, she was gorgeous, the crowd was enthusiastic, the show was wonderful … and yet …

Something was missing.

Maybe the sound wasn’t great, maybe the harmonies were ever so slightly off, maybe the guitars were a little muddled.

Or maybe, just maybe, Jenny Lewis is one of those artists who happens to sound better on record than she does live.

I remember thinking something similar when seeing Rilo Kiley live last year. It was great, but for whatever reason, this is just one band that does a little better with a little studio oomph behind them. That’s not to say they need to be polished. But some bands are like that.

It’s a weird sensation, to be sure, especially for a music junkie. Who else can cite a band they’ve seen that they liked, but not as much as on record? Let’s make a list.

5 Comments:

At 2:43 PM, Blogger i know the boss said...

But as long as we're talking about Jenny Lewis live, check out this video of a new song called Jack Killed Mom that she did at the show. (This was shot at another show, and the quality's a little dodgy, but you'll get the general idea.)

 
At 1:29 AM, Blogger FriedOreo said...

First, Jenny is lookin' sweet as ever these days.

Second, with apologies to Stark, I'd have to say Architecture in Helsinki sounds much better on record. This band came to mind immediately because Mugshot and I saw them at the same venue last year. I expected them to be better on stage, but the harmonies weren't as sweet, they came across as being gimmicky, and they looked crowded on stage. Of course, our concert experience wasn't helped by the fact that it was 90 degrees inside and we were standing next to a group of 16 year-olds who yapped the whole time.

 
At 11:44 AM, Blogger Mugshot said...

Let's see... I have trouble thinking of bands that have just been better on record than live, but one thing that disappoints me about live shows by some major acts is that they're so canned. If I want a canned experience, I can listen to the album, but I shouldn't go to a live show and know what I'm getting. So by the third time I saw Sting, I knew what I was getting, and enough was enough. If a band wants you to love them, they should make you want to see them, for different reasons, each time they perform. (Interpol's live show is probably like this, but works because they are so so good at what they do.)

Now I can think of one band who is better in their recorded work than live -- Spoon. Or maybe I just think they're overrated both on record and in concert. Architecture in Helsinki is the same way.

 
At 3:14 PM, Blogger i know the boss said...

Interesting--I was even thinking of Sting when I wrote the post. Only reason I didn't mention him is because I don't consider myself enough of a "fan" to judge well.

Guess my instincts were right.

 
At 3:39 PM, Blogger stark attack said...

ive never seen the arch, so its hard for me to be offended except to say that damn they have the best 2 records of the last 3 years, perdiod.

i completely agree with mugmon- the more polished the live product, the more dissapointing, because the more it resembles the live album. once i went to see built to spill in nyc for two nites in a row, and they played the SAME SET BOTH NITES. i mean, gimme a fucking break

i do have to say, though, that i loved the billy corgan solo album last year, but that live it seemed absurdly bad. it was him, two people standing playing synth pads with drums sticks, and someone "playing" visuals on a screen. retarded.

 

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