Sunday, March 05, 2006

Live Music - On a Tuesday Night?

So, Tuesday night some friends from church and I went to see a band called "Family Force 5". I hadn't heard of them except for my friend Rob telling me about them (and showing some of us their "Kountry Gentleman" video). They were pretty hilarious! The most refreshing thing about them is that they are Christians, but not a Christian band. What does that mean? In my little definition, it means that they write songs about whatever they feel like, and in their case, goofy songs. It's not 'praise & worship' music. They don't preach from the stage. To me, that's refreshing. So many (OK, nearly ALL) of the bands purporting to be Christian have to go through the Nashville meat grinder, so that no matter what they used to sound like, they all come out neat, tidy, homogeneous, guitars and drums buried in the mix, etc. Family Force 5 may pass through Nashville, but only as a tour stop. They certainly don't fit 'the mold'. What do they sound like? I'd say... a mixture of Limp Bizkit, Rage Against the Machine, Beastie Boys... with a fat greasy side of Atlanta Hip-Hop and above all, a wicked sense of humor.
I don't think they (or the opening bands) were appreciated too much by some in our little group for many reasons, not the least of which was everything was way too loud. And I ain't saying that just because I'm getting old! I do sound. I know sound. This was laziness and apathy on the part of the engineer(s). When a room is practically empty, you're not going to "create energy" by slamming everything to 'eleven'. This night was especially egregious because even the opening bands were full throttle. Who does that? You always "save a little something" for the headliner. Thankfully, most of us were packing earplugs. A life-saver, albeit somewhat annoying. I have been threatening for years to get a pair of Sonic II hearing protectors, but never have. And, every time I've got a pair of foam plugs in, I remember -- "OH yeah, these things kill all the highs & high mids so I can't understand anything being sung". Bummer. Every once in a while I'd loosen one or the other for a minute or two, but... ouch. Stupid sound guy. Just because you've lost half of your hearing doesn't mean you need to inflict it on the rest of the world!
Well, anyway, we talked to some of the FF5 for a second after the show - great guys, very humble (hard not to be when only 55 people show up for your gig). I wish them well, and I guess I should mention local band "Type Nine" who went on before FF5. I think they could stand an infusion of energy, but their songs were pretty well-written and their musicianship was tight. A few technical difficulties marred the performance a bit, but they probably had a 0-minute soundcheck.

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