Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Last Night's Concert: The Bravery

As I’ve already made evident in my previous posts, I have no idea how to write about music. So this isn’t so much a concert review as it is a personal reflection.

Last night, E and I saw The Bravery with two other bands at the Paradise. It was pretty wacky.

Your Vegas, the first opening band, was great – really fun energy, totally danceable, all around good sound.

The crowd seemed pretty cool, too. It was already packed for the first band – good sign. And the guy next to me didn’t seem to mind when I spit PBR on him after E made me laugh (something about the keyboardist phoning it in – it was funny in context).

Switches, the second band, SUCKED. SO. HARD. For the first three songs, I honestly thought they were a parody band. Their sound was really tight, but the lyrics and melodies were totally cliché. I’m not sure what I thought they were parodying – British indie rock, I guess. Each song was increasingly more funny, and I was laughing so hard that I had to get tissues from the bathroom from crying. Usually I’m not so heartless as to laugh at a bad band, but I sincerely thought they were in on the joke. When I later realized that they were taking themselves seriously, it wasn’t as much fun. But I did still laugh. The Bravery kind of confirmed their suckiness when they accidentally called them the Stitches and then were like, oh wait that’s some NY band. These guys are Switches and if you call them the Switches they get really pissed.

On to the big show – The Bravery. To give you some background, E and I are bandwagon Bravery fans. We own their new album "The Sun and The Moon", but barely know their first one except the radio hit “Honest Mistake”. But we appreciate the fact that they’re an insanely popular band and it’s very cool to see them in such a small place as the Paradise.

As an aside, Boston is in this weird state of concert viewing flux, because Avalon, one of Boston’s medium sized venues, was shut down; now relatively big acts have to choose between the Orpheum (too big) and The Paradise (too small). I assume The Bravery could have sold out the Orpheum, so seeing them at the Paradise was great (they played two nights, a rarity for the Paradise).

Respecting the fact that I’m i) old (28), and ii) a bandwagon Bravery fan, I thought I’d stand in the balcony (still only about 100 yards from the stage) and let the real Bravery fans have the floor. I would of course dance and dance and sing all the words from "The Sun and the Moon". But in the unspoken rules of concert going, the big fans should be on the floor so when the band plays that rare b-side, they can see ecstatic faces passionately singing, right?

So the Bravery started their set. AMAZING. Even if you were unfamiliar with their music, the acoustics were so good, The Bravery has such a clean sound and the danceable beat is so infectious that you have to move. So it was shocking that the crowd did not move. I mean, barely a hip was swayed.

I was so embarrassed - for The Bravery, for Boston in general. I am never one to dis Boston. Sure I’ll make the occasional affectionate jab at our fashion sense and gruff attitudes, but I love this town. And the music scene is pretty good. The "university capital of the world" supplies enough young music fans with a lot of free time, and we have some great little clubs (albeit mostly in Cambridge). Well, somehow, The Bravery is a phenomenon that missed Boston. It was like no one cared.

The crowd barely reacted to their current radio hits “Time Won’t Let Me Go” and “Believe”. Between sets, there were some golf claps and the occasional "woohoo". If I were the band, I wouldn’t have come back on stage.

I feel bad that The Bravery has to do this again tonight. Well, maybe it will be a humbling experience. I know there are a lot of Bravery haters out there (like Stereogum), but I don't think this explains Boston's lack of enthusiasm.

So evidently, E and I are the Bravery’s biggest Boston fans. Totally bizarre.

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