Obviously you know how much I love Mikal Cronin's new album and so I was super excited to go see him at Rickshaw Stop this past Saturday. As venues in this town go, Rickshaw is pretty good. There are enough bartenders for the crowd size so you never have to wait long, there's usually enough room that it doesn't have that Tokyo subway crowded feel, and, in my experience, the sound is usually pretty good.
The less said about the two opening acts the better. Especially the first one. And the show started about an hour late, closer to 10 than 9, but whatever, it's Saturday night.
And then he started and there is an immediate problem: the sound was TERRIBLE. Everything was just cranked. It was ear-shatteringly loud, which is fine, it's rock and roll, I should have remembered my earplugs, but when everything is pushed to 11 there is no differentiation between instruments at all. The guitars were just a loud roar. The vocals were barely audible. The drums were there but couldn't get their head above the water in the soupy mix. It was majorly disappointing, for me. I really like all these songs and I was looking forward to hearing them, but the mix - or the lack of a mix - made it basically impossible.
In the world of SF clubs, I would rate the Independent as having the consistently best sound and probably Bottom of the Hill as the worst. (In fact, at one show at Bottom of the Hill, I stood to the left and slightly behind the stage because the only way you could hear vocals was through the singer's on-stage monitor.) I used to think Rickshaw was somewhere in the middle, but man, after this I can't see going back there to see anything I really care about seeing. I left before the encore. Drag.
(BTW, my ears still aren't completely back to normal. EARPLUGS, people. Stupid mistake.)
Hey, to look on the bright side, though, at least people weren't talking louder than the show! Because it wouldn't be physically possible for humans to approach that volume unaided.
Not to keep bitching about everything, but then yesterday/last night the frat boy neighbors 2 houses down had one of their patented Blast House Music Outside and Then Yell At Each Other Because You Have To Yell To Be Heard Over the Atrocious Music parties. I shit you not, 2 houses down and it was clearly audible in our bedroom. I was trying to figure out what we were going to do about this when it was still going on at 10 pm, but by the time we went to bed around 11:30 it had mostly died down except for a couple of drunk shitbags and woo girls yelling at each other, nothing our white noise machine (ESSENTIAL FOR CITY LIVIN, BTW) couldn't handle.
FINAL NOTE: We were up that late watching the Steven Soderbergh Liberace biopic (and how about that string of 4 words! The mind reels) and all I have to say is I wish Rob Lowe's character, played by Rob Lowe, would just appear in every movie from now on. With or without any explanation or connection to the plot. Just show up. Like, in "Lincoln," he would appear, completely out of context, in 70's wardrobe, deliver a couple of lines, and then disappear. GOLD.
Once you see this movie you'll know what I mean.