I took the day off on Tuesday to get some work done on my car and to try to get some reading/writing done for my major proposal. First goal was accomplished by 2PM, the second one, ummm, didn’t really happen. Oh well.
Even so, by 8:30PM, it was a struggle to get motivated to drive up to the Belly Up from my place in North Park. But I managed to get on the road by 9, which put me up in Solana Beach around 9:30 and maybe halfway through The Prayers‘ set.
It was good to see that the show was sold out, and that a lot of people were already in the venue and paying attention to The Prayers catchy, harmony-infused pop music. Even though the dance floor appeared crowded, I was able to work my way up to the front, where there was a little more breathing room. I worked my way around to take some photos of the band, since they were actually playing a venue with real lighting for once.
The songs were good as usual – they sounded great through the Belly Up’s sound setup. Afterwards, Brandon confided that he was worried that “every mistake we made would be obvious,” because everything could be clearly heard, but he needn’t have worried. Considering I’ve seen them play more in the past couple of weeks than most of the people in the Belly Up, and I couldn’t pick up any mistakes, I’m sure no one else did either (if there were any mistakes, that is).
The crowd was very enthusiastic towards them, and like I said, I’m glad they got the chance to play at that size of a venue, to a completely different audience than they’re used to. I’ve had nothing but praise for this band in the past, and this show only reinforced my opinion of them.
After The Prayers’ set, The Noisettes were up. I knew pretty much nothing about this band, other than hearing that they opened a show in San Diego a few months ago. But wow, were they impressive. For a three-piece band, they sounded much, much bigger than they should have. Shingai Shoniwa, the singer, has a voice that is an amazing mix of Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s and an old school blues sister like Billie Holiday. The contrast between the high-pitched squeals and the lower, bluesy balladry worked really well – too much of the former and I would have been annoyed, but too much of the latter and it might have strayed into derivative territory.
All three musicians in the band were incredible. The singer switched off between guitar and bass, all the while romping around the stage in her bare feet, jumping off the drum platform and interacting directly with the crowd. The male guitarist occasionally played bass, and no matter which one he was holding, he wailed on it. And the drummer – the drummer was a beast. There was a sound guy stationed on stage next to him, because as he played he shook the drum platform so much that every 2 minutes the sound guy had to reach over to reposition a microphone. The energy emanating from everyone in the band was incredible. Yet another one of those shows that converted me from a know-nothing audience member/observer to an actual fan.
Oh, and did I mention that the singer was barefoot for most of the show?
After the show, they promised that everyone who bought their album there (for $10) would get a chance to meet the band. True to their word, they had everyone line up around the stage and filter backstage to say hello to the guys in the band. Very friendly, and a good way to warm up your fans, but I still prefer when the band just hangs out with the crowd, all natural-like. Sadly, I had no cash on me at that point and didn’t want to deal with the exorbitant fees from the in-house ATM, so I missed out on buying the album and meeting them and just hung out with The Prayers before heading home for the evening. But now I’m thinking I’m going to have to pick up their album next time I’m in M-Theory…