You know what? There’s something about reviewing a concert makes you strangely detached from the whole event. It’s sort of like being the the guy behind the camera all night that misses out on the party because he wants it all recorded. In the end he has 60 good photos to put on Facebook, but he’s not in any of them. No evidence what so ever that he was at the party, and when you think about it, was he ever really there at all?
Yes, is the answer, obviously. But you get my point. One bonus though is not lining up for tickets, just got my media pass and I’m in to the Commodore Ballroom. God I love the Commodore Ballroom, it’s such a nice venue. When I’m a millionaire, I’m for sure holding a rich guy party there. It can hold a lot of people and on Tuesday night it was sold out. When I got there – during the opening set by The Beavers – the standing area was already pretty packed. Which the openers must have loved, they have a bloody decent crowd cheering and dancing. Not that they didn’t deserve it on there own merit, but with a sound similar to that of headliners (plus a trumpet), the crowd seemed pretty pleased.
There was way too much bass coming through the speakers though, it was at levels higher than the bass I used have pumping out of my ’84 Toyota Corolla, driving down the main street when I was 17, and that’s saying something. I was worried that the rumbling bass would be the same later on.
My favourite place in The Commodore – when reviewing – is the center bar on the mezzanine floor. I can see the entire crowd from up there. So I put myself on a stool put my coat on the bar (there’s no way I’m lining up for coat check). A pretty blond girl asks me to save her stool while she goes to the bathroom. Got a free drink from the bar, maybe due to my media pass? Note to self, investigate this more in the future. In between sets, the bar got crowded real quick. There was a group of guys playing ‘Entourage’ and buying drinks for every girl around. They may have all been ‘Turtle’ but these guys where most definitely part of the party.
Pretty blond girl came back and I gave her the seat I have so valiantly saved for her and got back to tapping on my iphone. She get’s my attention again and begins to tell me how she’s all alone because her friend bailed out on her at the last minute. Damn it man, why did that never happen when I was single? Any way, that would be an opportunity for someone at a party, not someone documenting one.
The concert lighting comes on, the bar quickly empties and the five silhouettes of ‘The Temper Trap’ emerge on stage. Dougy Mandagi is out front and starts the set a little differently by pounding on a floor tom drum. ‘Drum song’ isn’t exactly the best song on their debut album ‘Conditions’ but it makes for a hell of an opening number and sets a powerful tone for the show. And any worries about the sound mix are out the window. The moody and airy sound that ‘Temper Trap’ bring flows over a packed dance floor up to the rear bar cleanly and is smooth enough to draw me in to the party and make me feel part of the event. There is a girl by one of the lower bars dancing a little like she’s at ‘Woodstock’ and it makes me think that this is definitely the type of music that could be chemically enhanced. Their music has seems to almost be more about feel and mood, than beats and rhythm. Which made the band on stage seem disconnected from the music to me. To the point where I swear it didn’t look like they were playing and singing the songs (to me at least).
The other side of music the temper trap makes are the hit’s. ‘Sweet Disposition’ and ‘Love Lost’ are both emotional and more commercial. Which make them perfect for the multiple movies and advertisements they appear in over the world (even now as I write this, one is playing in a coke ad on TV). These are the songs that I get stuck in my head and try to sing, then realise that I have no idea what the words are. That didn’t stop anyone from joining in on Tuesday night though, the crowd drank them down and made their appreciation clear. Even if Mandagi’s voice did become a bit piercing in a couple of the bigger lines he belted out.
As I tapped out a “piercing voice” note on my iphone, I was reminded that I was there to observe and was once again on the outside looking in. But that didn’t stop me from enjoying the huge guitar instrumental at the end of the last song in the set.
Whilst seventy percent of the crowd cried for an encore, the other thirty percent were already lined up to get their gear from the coat check. Glad I was still holding on to mine. When the band came back on stage and Mandagi thanked the crowd, thanked the opening act and thanked Canada, I realised how little he had directly interacted with the crowd the whole set, as well as how little he had needed to. If they were able to draw me and make me part of the party, than the music said more than enough.