Stars and Magnet at Webster Hall
[Warning: This might be long and rambling. Can’t say I didn’t warn you.]
I rarely go to concerts primarily for the opener. Hell, I don’t know if I’ve _ever_ done that. It’s not the same as going to a showcase for a few musicians, of which one I’m mainly interested in (although there was that cool show with “Rufus Wainwright and Beth Orton”:http://www.diskobox.net/rufus/jhc/). The vibe was 99.9% Stars fanatics, which makes perfect sense since it’s a Stars show. Actually, Webster Hall told us differently:
It’s just “STAR”, folks. They dropped the S. Too many consonants.
I sadly underestimated the crowd; when I got there at 7:00 (doors were at 6:30, which seemed pretty early…oh, oh, horrible timing, just as I was walking up to the entrance I watched Even + others walk riiight in, resulting in me pondering the slowness of my brain functions) there was a sea of people sitting down. Doh. I huddled on the right side of the stage with the gaggle of friends that I either convinced to come with me or were already planning on going. Huddle. Wait. Huddle…
Ahhghr, Magnet (aka, Even)! I hadn’t seen him in more than a year! …Which is saying nothing since some of my friends had never seen him at all. Uber-fan “Honey”:http://slapchar.blogspot.com/, for example. I was happy to see her happy. Of course, I was happy to see all my friends happy, but especially Honey since …I just knew she must’ve been as happy, excited as I was, or maybe happier. That’s a _lot_ of happy. I mean, you gotta restrain that happiness, shove it in a bag and shoot it before it grows to mosnterous proportions and wipes out the entire human race through asphyxiation.
Even’s set ran for about 35 minutes, which felt pretty short to me. I think this was the setlist:
* Everything’s Perfect
* Where Happiness Lives
* On Your Side
* I’ll Come Along
* Smile to the World
* Nothing Hurts Now
I was surprised that he only played one song from from “The Tourniquet”:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000E3L72S, but didn’t mind at all since I loved all the other songs he played. If you’ve never heard his live material, it’s different from the album. That would probably annoy people who _want_ to hear the same thing, but…nah! It’s better! Or for what its worth, I like the live versions more if he’s playing solo. It’s just him sitting down, alternating between electric guitar and lap steel guitar, fiddling with the electronic-y things to give himself a backing beat. With my limited music equipment knowledge, all I can offer is this crappy description: he taps his guitar and controls the delay/reverb/loopiness of it, resulting in eerie sounds that would seem to come from more than one person. He minor-ifies “Where Happiness Lives”, a version I like as much as the original. If you haven’t heard the original, then listening to this one isn’t going to make much of a difference…but here’s an example from WFMU in November, 2001:[audio:http://music.diskobox.net/mp3s/Magnet_Where-Happiness-Lives-wfmu.mp3]
The audience clapped during “On Your Side” (…I think it was that song), which he said is what the audience did during the show in DC the night before. You know you’re out of shape when clapping for a few minutes makes your arms feel achey. “Believe” was probably my least favorite of the set, but I liked it better live than on the album. Actually, I liked every song better than their album counterparts. “Everything’s Perfect” from his “live KCRW performance”:http://www.kcrw.com/cgi-bin/db/kcrw.pl?show_code=mb&air_date=10/14/04&tmplt_type=show is great (and apparently, he’s going to play another KCRW set on Morning Becomes Eclectic, March 13th, and maybe appear on World Cafe). I completely understand how Even’s music may “make some people sleepy”:http://so-iast-summer.livejournal.com/151762.html, but he’s so _into_ it. You can hear it in the strength of his voice, you can see it written on his face. Hopefully you can feel it too.
And then it was over. Well. Not the entire concert. You know something’s wrong with you when at the end of a performance, you just…your own brain kinda dies. And then you realize there’s another band coming up that you _like a whole lot_, but just isn’t the same. You want to focus on them, but you know you won’t be able to, at least not as much as if they had played with any other opener. I should probably explain the Magnet thing, but…eh, later.
Star!…I mean, Stars! They give off happy, energetic, cute, genuine, fun vibes. Awesome, no? Torquil Campbell (for whom I choose to represent with this one googled tidbit from his resume because I can: “voice of the cartoon character Bill Badger”) endearingly expressed his love for performing, for NYC, for…being there. Adoring fans sang along, primarily out of tune, but it was still sweet (although if they were louder, I would think otherwise). I’m not a big enough fan to sing along, but I do it in the comfort and loneliness of my room. HOORAH.
I love Amy’s sweet, clear voice.
Besides all those songs, they played an encore that included “Calendar Girls”, “Elevator Love Letter” and a final Torquil-solo whose title I don’t know, but to me was one of the strongest songs because of its bareness.
I wish I had more to say. It was awesome. And then we were all shuffled out so that clubbers could come in and fill the hall with dance music. Lovely.
While watching Stars I was struck by how non-Magnet they were. Not that they’re the antithesis, but that their performances are totally different. Even can’t have that super-energetic feeling with blasting lights and whatnot. Of course, it’s not necessary to captivate an audience with flashiness. But. Just…sayin’.
“Honey”:http://slapchar.blogspot.com/ and “Yetta”:http://yetta1.blogspot.com/ are the _masters_ of meeting musicians. It’s not something I’d ever do, but these girls have a love for music that I could never match. Remember that time I almost met Beck? (whose website I almost never go to anymore, sadly)…well, it’s best if you don’t, because I didn’t, and I’m glad; god knows how that would’ve turned out (probably not as bad as I think, which is part of my own mental problems, annnd yeah, end subject). One reason I would actually approach a musician I admire is if I had something to give them, which doesn’t really happen. I mean, I’ve done it, but felt embarrased at the same time. “Here’s a piece of crap I made…just for you!” Yeah. Well. I’m probably overreacting again.
While it was warm-ish earlier in the day, by the time we left Webster Hall it was brain-freeze cold. It didn’t help that I was only wearing a short-sleeve shirt under my jacket and no hat to cover my skull as frosty winds gradually whipped our faces into the frozen masks they would become after we died from hypothermia (we wondered how the skimpily dressed club-goers were faring while waiting to get in). When there was no sign of tour buses, musicians, or other fans, we semi-panicked.
“This is the only exit! They have to come out through here.”
Wait. Some more. Yes’m.
I tried to inquire about Even’s whereabouts, but didn’t get any uplifting information. Yetta commented that she didn’t feel any Magnet vibes; neither did I. Maybe the cold killed it. “Diana”:http://d-yee.com/ and Arthur stuck it out for a pretty long time, but had to leave since they had a long commute ahead of them. The other 7 of us waited some more. It was more than half an hour after the show ended before Nancy suddenly shouted, “There they are!” _Commence stampede._
…I’m kidding; we didn’t stampede. Maybe. Calmly walked over. Yes.
And thus becomes moronic lobotomized-Robyn rambling. If you don’t already know, I am pseudo-intensely asocial. I’m not a people person. Hell, I might not even be a…person. (The tests are still unclear.) But I can usually carry out some form of comprehensible conversation among people I don’t know well. Except…nah, I really can’t. As much as I’d like to forget all the stupid things I blabbed to Even and David (the “other guy”, aka “the tech guy”), I can’t. I’ll have nightmares for days. Seriously. I like my sleep. GIMME MY SLEEP, OH JEEZ. [fidgets] After the confrontation was over and giant buses seemingly came out of nowhere, rolling westward down the street to whisk the equipment away and let Even and everyone else hop on a plane to Canada, I just buried my face in my hands and though, “MRAHRHAfhdsinfdvsmash” or something equally incomprehensible (disturbingly, not very different from normal Robyn-babblings).
This is when I start wondering why I can’t just act normal. If I could adore them less, that would make life a lot easier. Like…I could find out that Even clubs baby seals!; that would decrease the adoration, right? WOULD IT? There’s no good explanation for the “obsessiveness” (I don’t like using that word, but there’s no better one), and it bothers me because 1) I can’t explain it and 2) it might be creepy
and 3) baby seals. Is it possible that Even’s voice is on a certain wavelength that messes with my brain? He doesn’t sound quite like anyone else (in my opinion), so…so. Even before I met him for the first time (summer 2004), I already had this “I don’t want to call it creepy but it even scares me” adoration that I seriously need to repress, thus it’s probably a good thing that he’s from Norway and his uber-fan lives in NYC.
I’d love it if everyone got the same happiness out of Even’s live performances as I did, but I know it’s not possible. The people that really like him _reeeaally_ like him (I’ve come across a surprising number of dedicated fanboys, not girls so much), and the people that don’t…well. That’s alright. It’s sad being an American; I decided a while ago that the only way to experience a “real” Magnet concert is to go to one in Norway where the reception and fans would be more positive. Or even Japan; they seem to like him there too.
NYC-ers, don’t miss out! Go to his show at the “Living Room”:http://www.livingroomny.com on “March 21st”:http://www.ticketweb.com/user/?region=xxx&query=search&category=misc&search=magnet+living&searchregion=xxx&genre=none&beginmonth=02&beginday=23&beginyear=2006&endmonth=02&endday=23&endyear=2007&sortorder=0, his last show in the US before god knows when he’ll come back.
Anyone have other reviews?