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Your Live Music Best and Worst
post Jul 22 2014, 23:04
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Okay, I know some music lovers have the very sniffy idea that if it ain't live, it is mere shallow artifice. The problem with that theory is if I want to listen to Jimi Hendrix, I'd need a couple of hairy-arsed grave robbers with shovels, some very clever animatronics and an awful lot of air-freshener.

So... which have been your absolute best and worst live experiences? I think I might have had both at the same venue. The Royal Albert Hall - an acoustic assault course, where if you have a good seat it sounds brilliant and if you have a bad one it can make you feel physically ill. In other words, Strauss' Alpine Symphony from a good seat blew my socks off, while a Maxim Vengerov recital from a bad seat made me leave after quarter of an hour.
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post Sep 27 2014, 12:10
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The Verve - Coachella Music and Arts Festival 2006 or 2007. So loud and overdriven distortion was clearly audible. It sounded like a fart.

end the LOUDNESS war... please?
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post Oct 5 2014, 17:26
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The best.
Dexter Gordon, Johnny Griffin at Carnegie Hall in 1976. This was Dex's first big concert in the states upon his return from 15 years in Europe.

The worst.
Too many to count. so many groups I gave a chance and had to walk. So many times that the sound was so bad and so loud.
One that comes to mind was Mahavishnu Orchestra, sublime, powerful, music. Bad, bad sound at ear bursting volume. My ears rang for a day or two.
Now I always have earplugs in my pocket.
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post Oct 22 2014, 13:45
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Worst show I went to was My Bloody Valentine at the Austin Music Hall. Sure, the band's modus operandi is noise and the shows are "famously" loud - they have sometimes distributed ear plugs - but I couldn't even tell what song they were playing half the time. There were serious issues with the vocals - namely, there weren't any. It appears they tried to raise up the vocals a bit at one point and got blasted with feedback. You could tell the band wasn't happy either. I drove 4 hours for the show, but had more fun walking around Austin.

The best live music is a more difficult question. I don't listen to much to begin with, I average maybe 1 or 2 concerts a year. Most of these have been acceptable, none stand out too much. I did very much enjoy the sound at an Of Montreal show in 2006, but one of the cool things I remember is that there was stereo separation identical to the record - which also means that some of the electronic elements were pre-recorded. I don't fault them for it, you can't really play a drum machine live. Well, you could program it on stage I suppose, but there would be no point. That being said, some of the songs did use live acoustic drums, and everything else (keys, guitars, horns, vocals) was live, and that sounded just as good.

What I do with all the audio tech? This: http://last.fm/user/sls
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post Oct 26 2014, 23:40
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I haven't been to a ton of concerts, but I saw Bob Dylan (with Elvis Costello solo opening) back in 2007 or 2008 at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus, Ohio and was really impressed with how good it sounded. I've seen Bob in a different venue too and it was definitely not as good. Rock concerts usually sound pretty bad, way too loud, too much boom in the bass, can't understand a word if you don't already know them. But rock aside, Bill Frisell usually has excellent concerts in small places with the volume very reasonable and the sound very clear. I suppose though it's easier when you're not doing rock and may not even have drums.
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post Oct 31 2014, 00:37
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Worst sound- any concert at the late, lamented Famous Ballroom in Baltimore. Bad acoustics, terrible PA system, amazing musicians. Too many great shows to be able to name one or two as the best. Dizzy? Rahsaan? Dexter? Jaki? Sun Ra? Barney Kessel? Mingus? My house concerts in Austin: Lee Barber, Southpaw Jones, Robert Ellis... how can I choose?

So... limiting things to just the past year, best may have been Redbird at Cafe Carpe. Peter Mulvey in my living room. Cold Satellite at Cafe Carpe. I'm hoping that one of my old Austin favorites, Matt the Electrician, will be as good as ever when I see him at Space next week, solo, acoustic, and unplugged.
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