This user leads a boring life.Joined on August 7, 2005, 1:09 AM Visited on July 11, 2016, 5:46 PM
I went to see Bastille perform live last night with some of my friends at the O2 Academy in Brixton. I'm not particularly into their music, obviously I recognise Pompeii, and my friends and I were certainly in the upper quartile age-wise. Nonetheless, they enjoyed the proceedings immensely. I, however, did not.
This is not to say Bastille are a bad band or the show wasn't well put-together or the venue was shitty (quite the opposite actually - Brixton Academy is a wonderful venue). They had some good lighting that was simple but effective, they ran to the minute, the crowd enjoyed it judging by the 110 decibel screams. Here's a brief run-down of the kind of shit that only I'd notice:
1) The lead singer's microphone was wired despite the fact he liked to wander around on stage. I couldn't see whether the other mics were wired or not. Wireless microphones are not that expensive, not that heavy, not that uncommon - every sound engineer and back stage technician will be able to cope with a wireless mic. I'm guessing there were some problems with the wireless packs? It'd have to be a licensing problem (don't ask - wireless mic regulation in the UK is pretty stringent) rather than a technical problem because the crew would have many, many spare wireless packs kicking around. Even then, it'd be very strange for a venue to have licensing issues.
2) The front-of-house mix nuked everything apart from the drums and vocals. I could barely hear the guitar, keys or live string quartet. The bass was just about "there" but not the same kind of midsy tone that you'd hear on their recordings. Now, I'm not 100% sold on making the recordings and the live show sound identical in all situations. For what is basically a pop band though, I'd imagine achieving a similarity in sound is high on the list of priorities. Furthermore, the bass on the recordings is midsy for a reason. It cuts through. It fills the space left by their lack of regular guitar parts. The drums and vocals dominated the mix in the room though. Kudos to the sound engineer on getting a kick sound that'd cut through an inch of hardened steel and a 90%-there vocal tone but, dammit guys, I like the other bits too.
3) The band only got visibily into it halfway through their set. All their movement around stage lacked genuine drama. Once they stopped acting interested and got interested, everything progressed much more smoothly.
4) The beer was expensive. Yeah, yeah - it's a gig. I get it. It still irks me.
5) The songs lacked dynamics in the sense of the inter-song relationships. The big, loud songs were OK but the quieter, more sentimental songs, really lacked intimacy. There weren't fragile or tender or intense. They sounded like a guy banging on a piano. I'm not sure if that's a product of some questionable mixing or hasty song-writing. It really made an effect on me in the sense the quiet songs did not affect me.
The thing is, as an outsider, I didn't recognise the songs. Perhaps if I had a more informed impression going into the event my ears would have filled in the gaps left by the mixing (look, I know I'm ragging hard on the mixing here but I reckon half the issue was the room) and I would have been drawn further into their music and, hence, their performance as a whole. All in all, not a great live show. 6/10
PS. Their banter was pretty good.
Here's a throw-poop-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks blog.
Halloween competition is in full swing. I work weekends so that reduces when I can work considerably. In honour of losing a bit of momentum, I spend today writing music instead of programming a procedural level generator or whatever nonsense I was meant to be doing today: A theme, perhaps? Some other music. I'll probably end up re-using this bit of tuneage as well, though at a slower tempo (was I on fucking coke? What a ridiculous speed).
This'll be my first proper attempt at platform combat mechanics. They Bleed Pixels seems to have a decent movement/combat system that vaguely echoes Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. I've always appreciated Ninja Gaiden's surprisingly engaging two-button system but not the more complex mechanics of games like Soul Caliber (that spelling is painful) or Mortal Kombat (also painful) or basically every other fighting game. If I can't be bothered to learn combos and I'm making the bloody thing then no one is going get it.
I've given up doing live music... for now. I'm too busy working. A venue have hired me as their dedicated technical director so I'm responsible for buying new gear, repairing old broken shit and generally making everything run smoothly sound-wise. Not a huge amount of money but, hell, it's good experience. Fun too - imagine what toys you could get for £1000.
Oh, this whole government shutdown thing is a bit silly isn't it? I wonder if that's gameifyable.