Random Play by Graham Reid

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Random Play: Following The Songlines

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  • Stewart,

    You sound like a man who might know...

    the Vector Arena - is it engineeered for crap sound or have I just been unlucky the couple of times I've been.
    Both Kings of Leon and Santana had dodgy sound quality despite me being in different places within the auditorium.

    It has quite put me off outlaying what I think is kinda big money for some acts who will play there but nowhere else in town.

    Is it me, or is it VA?

    Te Ika A Maui - Whakatane… • Since Oct 2008 • 577 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    But what was of as much interest to me in the run-up to this concert was just how many people responded in a negative or dismissive way when I said I was going.

    I care not about to what people go to.

    But paying $140? That's top money for a concert, and for that I'd want to see something pretty special.

    Led Zeppelin or something.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    G., I'm truly shocked... that you pay for tickets.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    But paying $140? That's top money for a concert, and for that I'd want to see something pretty special.

    Led Zeppelin or something.

    As a steer, I paid $199 for category C for Roger Waters last year. The best seats were $399 (and you got the full quadrophonic experience for that). Change the currency to sterling, and you might be in luck...

    I think the reason that some many people hate Kylie is that her pop era was pretty bland. It's her house/disco stuff from the mid-90s on that made me think she was onto something.

    I'm not a fan or anything, but I can tell she knows how to put on a good show and if someone had given me tickets, I'd be there. Otherwise, I'm eying up Iron Maiden's stadium extravaganza as a possible way to relieve myself of $130 in February.

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 528 posts Report Reply

  • Kim Mckay,

    I thought it was absolutely brilliant, haven't enjoyed myself so much at Vector since seeing The Cure there.

    The sound was really good where I was on the floor, about in the middle, although I couldn't see very well, but the big screens made up for that.

    Didn't enjoy her new album material that she started off with, but still enough hits in there to entertain and the big bass disco beats had me dancing most of the night!

    Pt Chev, Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    When it comes to taste it was what you like that counts no one elses opinion is worth a tin of fish
    I am not a Kylie fan but I do love her rendition of "Jingle Bell Rock" sung double time (well really fast) in East Timor..fantastic

    I don't know how to place a Youtube thingy in here but if someone has the smarts to do it that would be great

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 577 posts Report Reply

  • Bob Munro,

    Suzanne Vega looked at the ‘tribal’ nature of music choice in the New York Times last week.

    Which Side Are You On?

    Songs brand us a part of a tribe. We can pick and choose what tribe we belong to. Goth, emo, hippie, punk, folk, alternative, for example. “Mom! Why are you wearing all black?” my daughter recently shouted at me. “You look so emo!” “I always wear black,” I mumbled. “But we are at the beach!” she said. Well, maybe she had a point.

    I am of Irish descent, among other things, but I feel it would be false of me to perform traditional Irish music, even though I find some of it very moving. When I worked with Mitchell Froom, I liked that he said, “I will reveal you to be the mutant you really are!” when he heard how I grew up and about the mixed bag of stuff I grew up listening to — from Woody Guthrie and Phil Ochs to Motown, Lou Reed, Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan. But perhaps one day I could do an album of Jewish folk songs in A-minor, or an album of cante jondo, which Federico Garcia Lorca wrote of; this would take guts. I love sad and tragic songs, and I love the sensuality of Brazilian bossa nova; perhaps my melancholic temperament could do justice to an album like this.

    I remember walking down the street one day, wearing a Smiths t-shirt, back in the mid-’80s. I was headed for the subway station, and I had to pass through a crowd of black teenagers to get there. There were maybe eight or so young men, looking me up and down as I picked my way through them. My neck prickled with worry. What would they say? Would they call me a goofy white girl, or worse?
    One of them snickered. My stomach dropped. Then another one sang out, “I am human and I need to be loved!! Just like everybody else does!!” Morrissey’s transcendental lyrics from “How Soon Is Now?” It was so unexpected that I burst out laughing. They knew the song! Then we all laughed, and the tension was broken. Maybe we were the same tribe after all.

    Christchurch • Since Aug 2007 • 418 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Then on Thursday I am on National Radio: Concert’s Upbeat programme talking about Leonard Cohen’s most recent (2004) album because in my experience very few people have any idea what he sounds like these days. (There’s a show I’d like to see, but cannot afford the whopping ticket price).

    Quite. I get the feeling that the Vector Arena has helped inflate ticket prices.

    Although I'm all in favour of the campaign to get Leonard to agree to an interview with Kim Hill.

    Kim explains it here.

    It's also a Facebook event, pop kids!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22817 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    I know what you mean, Graham. I am getting all the usual cliches (ie "music to cut your wrists to"; "music for depressives" etc) when I tell folk I am going to Cohen's Auckland concert. Difficult to get them to open up their minds a little.

    If I break a leg or get called away somewhere, I am happy to let you have my ticket. To date, however, I have every intention of getting to the Jan 22 concert.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2557 posts Report Reply

  • Stuart Coats,

    I had a mate who used to do follow-spot operation for gigs in Wellington (RIP Tim). He'd done gigs by Metallica, through Pearl Jam and Emmylou Harris. His own personal taste was 80's punk acts like Black Flag and Dead Kennedies.
    He told me that the best gig he ever worked, in terms of the show, was Janet Jackson. As he put it "everyone else just stood there and sang - she put on a full stage act." He enjoyed it so much that he lobbied really hard to try and get to work the Michael Jackson gig in Auckland, reasoning that if little sister was good then big brother would be even better.
    I suspect that he would have poured scorn on Kylie and then enjoyed it for all the same reasons.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 192 posts Report Reply

  • Holly Johnson,

    Hey - an intelligent review of a gig, and one that mentions the music! Why don't we see that in the Herald any more? Their reviews now seem to be a place for cub reporters or sports reporters on their night off to display their ignorance.

    Auckland • Since Jun 2008 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    If I'd had any spare cash I would have gone to Kylie in a heartbeat. Frocks! Costumes! Back-up dancers! 'Love at First Sight' (an underappreciated song of beauty)! Bopping! Spectacle!

    I couldn't agree more that snark about fun pop events from Cred-Obsessed Nerd Friends is tiresome. I went to Justin Timberlake last year and (when he wasn't being meaningfully slowjam) I enjoyed the fuck out of myself. Bite me, hatahs.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    I'm not a fan or anything, but I can tell she knows how to put on a good show and if someone had given me tickets, I'd be there.

    Well exactly. My dear friend wanted us to go to Stevie Wonder (she's paying) and that didn't happen - so Kylie tonight it is. Like you said, not a great fan, but as Danielle says....

    Frocks! Costumes! Back-up dancers! 'Love at First Sight' (an underappreciated song of beauty)! Bopping! Spectacle!

    A shame it's a school night and all, but we'll survive.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Hum... anyone who disses the Goddess Kylie will know my righteous and ever-so-campy wrath. And if you think writing a kick-arse three minute pop song is so bloody easy (or keeping up the energy to perform a show that lasts longer than ten minutes where you're not welded to the mic stand), fuck off and do it. And if you can make someone half as happy as the roaring joyous call to arms of Martha and The Vandellas' 'Dancing In The Streets' makes me, your life has not been in vain.

    If that doesn't make you shake something, you're a zombie.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Bob Munro,

    If that doesn't make you shake something, you're a zombie.

    Martha Reeves is still shaking it. She’s 67, a Detroit councilwoman and still performs with a version of the Vandellas. She’s on the 2007 'Get Ready' album by Australian motown covers group Human Nature singing (Love is Like) a Heat Wave , recorded at the original motown studios.

    Christchurch • Since Aug 2007 • 418 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Then he made some aspersion along the lines of me not ever knowing much about good music and going to Kylie just proved it.

    What a dick. (a) how rude, and (b) people who can't love pop music are sad.

    It did set me wondering about what kind of music is is okay to judge people on.

    I'm thinking, bogus ballad rock: if you went out of your way to attend a concert by, say, Nickelback, then maybe I would be having my doubts about you ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22817 posts Report Reply

  • Stuart Coats,

    if you went out of your way to attend a concert by, say, Nickelback, then maybe I would be having my doubts about you ...

    Cheers Russell, I now have How You Bloody Remind Me in my head.

    I hope you're happy....

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 192 posts Report Reply

  • Stuart Coats,

    the Vector Arena - is it engineeered for crap sound or have I just been unlucky the couple of times I've been.

    You wanna come down to Wellington and try Queen's Wharf. I haven't been to Vector, but it couldn't be worse.
    IMHO venues aren't designed with sound in mind because they believe that the sound engineers for the gigs will be able to paper over the cracks. Most sound engineeers idea of doing this is to turn all of the knobs up to 10 (or 11) and rely on the overwhelming volume to pummel the punters into submission. This then leads to a muddy sound mix.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 192 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    IMHO venues aren't designed with sound in mind because they believe that the sound engineers for the gigs will be able to paper over the cracks. Most sound engineeers idea of doing this is to turn all of the knobs up to 10 (or 11) and rely on the overwhelming volume to pummel the punters into submission. This then leads to a muddy sound mix.

    not having been to vector but if its anything like westpac arena in chch that venue is designed for sports, no concession to sound and especially not rock sound which has lots of fast attack sounds like drums in it.
    rock music requires absorptive surfaces to stop the sound bouncing back and hitting the next bit of sound coming its way. this is important
    1) cos you get a great big echo and
    2) cos the combination of delayed sound and source sound cancel each other out at different frequencies making things sound weird, bass holes, brittleness, muddiness.
    its near impossible to mix your way around this so engineers often opt for the technique you mentioned, not to overpower the punter but to over power the limitations of the venue so you can't hear the echo as much. often it doesn't work, but there is little else you can do.

    venues like the wellington and chch town halls which are very similar are designed for slow transient music such as orchestras. there is supposed to be natural long reverb in these venues but that doesn't really work for rock music cos it makes everything go mush.

    small clubs and pubs are the better places to hear good sound mostly because the venue and people in it can absorb some of the sound splatting around and makes it all sound clean and clear.
    In these venues it is all really the sound engineers (and band for the sound they produce) fault if it sound bad, unless we're all too out of touch with a genre to understand the intricacies of brittle hurting shards. Anyone remember early marychain for example?

    pretty hard to design a large capcity venue that caters to all event styles, but more likely these venue designers don't appear to even try.
    I'll never pay to attend a concert at any of these spaces until they (venue designers) do something to address this issue. complete waste of money.

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • philipmatthews,

    Craig, you're right -- writing a kick-arse three minute pop song isn't that bloody easy. In fact it's so hard that Kylie herself doesn't do it. Her finest hour by a long shot, Can't Get You Out of My Head -- a song so good Paul Morley more or less wrote a book about it -- is credited to Cathy Dennis and Rob Davis, who have also done hits to order for Britney et al. And the early stuff was Stock Aitken and Waterman.

    Hope you're not going to bring that righteous and campy wrath.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2007 • 656 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    pretty hard to design a large capcity venue that caters to all event styles, but more likely these venue designers don't appear to even try.

    Well, it would certainly be easier to design a music-oriented venue if it didn't have to double as a sometime sports venue.

    I've long griped about the Vector Arena being a horrible compromise re music vs sports. I mean, it's laid out as a basketball/netball venue, but the events there have been something like gig-gig-gig-gig-gig-gig-gig-gig-gig-sports-gig-gig-gig-gig-gig-gig-sports-gig-gig-gig-gig-gig....

    On the sound quality side, I went to Steely Dan last year and the sound was simply awesome. I was right at the back, and elevated. I caught the Pumpkins at CHC Arena and the sound was pretty good (again, I was elevated).

    In comparison, the sound at the recent Headless Chickens gig at the Power Station was a shocker. Then again, I was on the floor for that gig, so maybe that's a factor (not the first time I;ve wondered what exactly is going on with their sound).

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 528 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Can't Get You Out of My Head ... is credited to Cathy Dennis and Rob Davis, who have also done hits to order for Britney et al.

    'Toxic'! Britney's finest hour by a long shot. I see Cathy Dennis, erstwhile pop star (I vaguely remember her two hits in 1990 or so) also wrote Kylie's 'Come Into My World' (remember the great Michel Gondry video for that, with the multiple Kylies?). And... the American Idol theme tune, says Wikipedia! Huh.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Agree about Toxic. Of course you neglected to mention Ms Dennis's recent gift to humanity, "I kissed a girl". Wise move.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19705 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    http://www.uk.youtube.com/watch?v=rAS4ltt7DzI
    Richard Thompson does Britney. There's a scattered giggle when the audience recognises the number, which soon gives way to the realisation that a great pop song is a great song.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4592 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Danielle, I now feel immensely guilty that you would have gone to Kylie in a heartbeat - because, to be frank, I admired her showpersonship, and the spectacle was fabulous but really, most of the music was techno and very, very loud. I danced, a bit. I sat, quite a lot. I tapped my foot and nodded my head. But I didn't know many of the songs. My friend, on the other hand, who said she wasn't a big fan, knew most of the words and was on her feet most of the night. So I discovered one thing, last night. That concerts, in general, are only outrageously successful, on a personal level, if you KNOW MOST OF THE SONGS. That having been said, I may very well have been the only one there who didn't. The crowd was delerious with love for her. And she, for them. Oh, and the food at Soul was divine. As usual.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

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