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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Review: Dave Matthew's Band

A few weeks ago, a friend made me hold true to the promise that I would go to a Dave Matthews concert if the ticket was free. This particular concert also happened to be in Virginia Beach at the Verizon Center, and I love road trips.

Funny thing is, this road trip could probably be made into a movie with little or no exaggerations made. But this is a concert review, not a road trip review.

Arriving at the Amphitheater 2 hours early, we pull out some lawn chairs and start drinking beer with the thousands of other people who were doing the same thing. Some people had mini-grills and were cooking out, at least one truckload of frat boys brought a keg.

Two VB police officers came up to us and told us that we could continue drinking, but our beer had to be in cups, not cans or bottles. Fortunately, we had some taco bell cups left over from lunch.

We made friends with two dudes from Delaware who were fresh out of high school. They were drinking Jameson and coke out of big cups, and entertaining the two ladies that accompanied me with stories of past Dave concerts (i've noticed that people who love Dave Matthew's Band often refer to him as if they are close friends). These dudes assured me that I would change my mind about 'Dave' once I saw him perform live. I told them maybe that's true, but don't hold your breath.

Soon after the doors opened, we went inside to use the restroom and find a spot on the lawn. Our new friends, Dan (we kept calling him Lt. Dan because he's in ROTC) Chad (i'm probably wrong about his name), split to go buy t-shirts. Later on the found us because my friend Shannon was drunkenly hippie-dancing to the opening band and almost falling over everyone around us.

Speaking of the opening band, I don't remember their name. However, I saw or heard absolutely no difference between them and Dave Matthew's, and I do recall that they were named after the frontman. To me, they were musically and lyrically boring, sounding just like Dave Matthew's Band, but I was in the minority. I could hear preppie douche bags say things like, "oh man, this is sick! i hope he plays [insert song name here]!"

One good thing I can say about a Dave Matthew's concert is that it is a smorgasborg of vapid, slutty, preppy chicks, most of whom are pretty hot and scantily clad. More on that later.

Dave Matthew's Band comes on and everybody stands and goes crazy. Everybody but me is dancing. Dan and Chad grab me and yell at me to dance. "Don't be ashamed that you're white with no rhythm, your surrounded by white people with no rhythm!" I admire their spirit and energy, but Timmy don't dance, and Timmy definitely doesn't dance to this kind of music.

I was honestly surprised at how many Dave Matthew's songs I knew. Probably at least a dozen that I knew the words to the chorus at least. Funny thing is, they are all songs I've heard on the radio, and I didn't think old Dave got that much radio play.

The fiddle player is a beast. He's the single most entertaining person in the band. Evidently he rarely takes off his sunglasses, so when he actually did take them off, the crowd went ape-shit.

With the exception of the final song, the trumpeter sucked. He just stood in one spot the whole time, and would play one or two or three notes and then stop. Why was he even there? The final song had him play a trumpet solo that quite honestly was amazing. Not Doc Severenson or Dizzy Gilespie amazing, but pretty good nonetheless.

The lead guitarist was competent but i didn't notice anything all that special about his playing or style. Same with the new sax player. From what I overheard from the crowd, the new sax player can't hold a candle to the old one. Many were saying that with the previous sax players death, the entire band sounds different and not as good. This made me chuckle because everything sounded exactly the same as on the radio, exactly the same as I expected it to.

An interesting note is that a lot of people follow the band around the country. I was told at the show that the set list was very different than previous shows, which is pretty refreshing. Some bands play the same set list every concert, or just change the order a little bit. So I give you good marks for keeping your fans on their toes, Dave Matthews.

One song of note that was played was Peter Gabriel's Solsbury Hill, which in my opinion was better than the original.

After it got dark, I was standing behind Lt. Dan and Chad when a dark haired hottie walks up and hugs Chad. He hugs her back and they start swaying together to the music. Soon, his hand is down the back of her pants as she is texting someone on her phone. He says something to her, she replies and he pulls his hand out of her pants, turns around and comes up to me. I said, "hey who's your friend?" and he shoots back, "hell if I know, just some random drunk girl who is now texting her boyfriend trying to find him. She wanted to make out with me, but if she's that easy, I'd probably get herpes or something." Better luck next time dude.

Some weasely looking dirt bag walks up to me. This guy looked like he didn't belong. He was dirty, greasy, with a goatee. Not like any one else there. He introduces himself with a handshake and says his name is Josh and he's from Delaware and he's just looking for some green. I tell him good luck finding it, and turn away. I didn't have anything, but I sure as shit can spot a cop when I see one, and I sure as shit won't talk to one for any reason. 'Josh' moves on to the group in front of me; no luck their either for drugs, but Chad manages to pass the drunk slut off to Josh. Karma is real folks.

After the concert is was back to the parking lot for another hour due to the traffic jam of people trying to leave. Some people just started tailgaiting again waiting for traffic to die down. Some girl walked up to our car and asked if we wanted any cheetos. Of course we did!

Overall, Dave Matthew's Band was nothing out of the ordinary. If you are a young douche bag with some game, you can probably get laid quiet easily. Other than that, I really don't see the appeal. The tickets are expensive, the food is terrible, the beer is overpriced, and the music is bland. However, the people were all very nice and friendly. Possibly the nicest crowd I've ever seen at a concert.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Lackluster at Skully's

This review is like a month late. Sorry Jon. Lost my notebook and had a lot of other things going on. shit happens.


anyway, Lackluster performed at Skully's. Before them was Black Eyed Betty, and before them was Monolithic Cloud Parade. After Lackluster was another band but i had to leave before they came on.

We'll start from the openers.

Monolithic Cloud Parade are interesting. Visually, they're a few white guys of the Trendy-Beard-and-Vintage-Clothing-type and one black dude who plays trumpet and keyboard. I liked the trumpet, although at times it seemed like they just threw a trumpet in a song in a "what the hell, why not?" kinda way. In short, i wouldn't mind seeing them again.

Black Eyed Betty. Oh man, here goes. I overheard several women in the audience say that they LOVED the singers shoes. That's about it. For a more or less bubblegum punk band, they were decent. But this was not a show that they should have been booked at. Completely wrong for the type of crowd, completely wrong for the other bands on the bill, and completely wrong on playing a ridiculously long set of songs that all blended together into a 45 minute mayonnaise-y on white bread punk set.

i would think about seeing them again if it was at a punk show and if their set was shorter by at least 15 minutes. The singer was cute though. very bouncy and smiley. and fishnetty. actually, forget the band, i just want to see her.

Lackluster was really good. One of their best performances to date. Whereas the dance floor was completely empty for the first two bands, people from the front of the bar and from outside filed into the main room after the first couple songs. that's a pretty good sign that you have a good sound. In fact, out of all the bands from my hometown of Reynoldsburg, Lackluster has the best chance of actually accomplishing something. The song that stands out the most is the brilliant cover of Eddie Murphy's Party All the Time. when i first heard that they were going to cover this, i thought it was a terrible, horrible, incredibly stupid thing to do. However, i was wrong. It was great! There were trendy scenester kids dancing everywhere! seriously. i haven't seen a crowd reaction like that for a local band in a long time.

i've said my piece. i'm out.