My ears are ringing! God, what a dreadful feeling. I went to bed listening to tiny welders trying to rebuild my eardrums. Really should invest in some earplugs, like a case, and carry them with me everywhere...
Rachel and I discussed this dilemma after the show (very loudly...). Down in Austin, where she now calls home, you can go to a metal show in a small bar, and still have your hearing when you leave! The music was adequatly loud, but because the sound techs are professionals, and understand how to saturate the sound without causing it to stick like napalm in your pores. I've tried to convince many a venue owner that a professional sound person is often more important than the gear, but that regardless, a bad sound can ruin a band.
Is this why Pittsburgh's scene gets a bad rep locally? I mean, it's certainly not for lack of talent in the bands department. However, the promotions department is surely lacking. Ikonoklast was a great band, treked from Phoenix, Arizona by way of Jersey to perform for all of 30 people. Agnes is one of the most talented local bands we've got. If it weren't for Agnes, attendance easily would have dropped into the low 1-digit. Chad designed a beautiful flier for the show and distributed it around town and on the Agnes myspace. That's always been his contribution, with most of the promoters he works with doing the online aspect. It works, but without the other bands or promoter doing their part, well... it's self-explanatory, really. There is no such thing as an easy gig for an up-and-coming band. Period.
So, Ikonoklast! Heavy! This band started their set with one of the most heavy guitar-industrial songs I've ever heard. It only took two songs to get the crowd moving, which is sometimes a feat for a band that is new-to-Pittsburgh. Talented musicians too, particularly the drummer, who was playing a kit along to a backing track - that's pushing a tight-rope walker out on a bridge of floss, or spinning fire... while eating it. Creative and energetic musician amongst company of solid performers.
This genre is really interesting, the metal-meets-industrial sound. It's heavy, loud and in-your-face, but very good to dance to. There were traces of classical elements in the backing track, and the singer was very black-metal. And their bassist had crazylong dreadies, which I felt an immediate lust for. It shouldn't suprise me much anymore, though, as heavy metal hair has diversified a lot since it's inception.
But, seriously... What's up with the band doing one cover (nine inch nails' Wish, one of my favorites), and then the audience demanding other covers? It got to an absurd level, starting off with chants of "Depeche Mode!" and ending with "Brittney Spears". C'mon people, they're obviously not a cover band!
Despite my criticisms of the event, I had a blast. What a wild and energetic AgnesWFS set! Dancedancedancegocrazydancydancy. Rachel taught me a few great new dance moves, including one that I dub the peacock and involves letting your hands flap around your butt. Not your average goth-industrial move, but a hell of a lot of fun to do! Ask me to show it to you next time we run into each other, it will put smiles on both our faces ;0)
Ultimately, it's probably best that most of the people there were die-hard fans (and how good to see the old heads!) Agnes has sounded much better, we don't need to have them loose their much deserved street cred due to a sadistic sound tech.
In related news: Howlers has a stage! Not just a platform with a snake running out of one side, but an honest-to-goodness stage! They opened up the door for loading out the back, added about 2 feet of height, and now have one of the nicest venues in Bloomfield. Go Jo!
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