Not So Silent Night: Pre-Party 12/10/08
Not So Silent Night: Concert Review to Live 105’s Pre-party to Not So Silent Night
It’s a Wednesday night, but The Mezzanine is sold-out for Live 105’s Pre-Party to Not So Silent Night. The warehouse looking club is decorated in holiday spirit with dim yellow lights illuminating large hanging snowflakes and white flowered poinsettias, creating a mellow, comfortable aesthetic perfect for the evening.
With record sales plummeting, and the illegal sharing of MP3s rising--the future of albums and compilations are bleak, scaring not only record labels, but artists. Now the pressure for a band’s survival rests on their ability to perform live.
If every show were perfect, the opening band would stir the crowd’s anticipation, and be followed by an even more engaging and exciting performance, eventually leading to the headlining band who’d have the crowd hot ‘n sweaty screaming for an encore. Nearing perfection, Wednesday’s performances by Audrye Sessions, Chairlift, Cold War Kids and Vampire Weekend, played like a crescendo ending in a large dance party.
San Francisco’s Audrye Sessions who began the night’s festivities, played with a gentle sound that eased the crowd into the night. Following Sessions was Chairlift, a three piece band, lead by singer Caroline Polachek. Still a relative unknown to the crowd, Chairlift received cheers of excitement and recognition as they played the group’s first hit, “Bruises,” featured on the iPod’s 4th generation Nano ad campaign. During the song, drummer Patrick Wimberly put down his sticks and picked up the bass guitar, helping generate the most energy during the band’s set.
There is a certain breath and confidence that distinguishes the sound of a good band, from a great. This distinction became clear when lead singer Nathan Willet jumped on the keys, waved his hand around and belted his first notes. The four piece band has a more dynamic sound than the preceding bands, which raised the level of performance just a notch higher. Lead singer Nathan Willet’s voice is strong, piercing the air with high pitch notes on tracks like “Something is Not Right With Me,” “Mexican Dogs,” and “Hang Me Up To Dry.” The band has stage presence, which was highlighted when Willet on the guitar and Matt Maus on bass faced each other, each strumming away, bending their knees with each new chord. Their performance was a show: entertaining, invigorating, and not just a listening session.
After Cold War Kids performance, and with the buzz surrounding the band, I had high expectations for Vampire Weekend. The band’s first album, released early in 2008, has created quite the stir, being labeled by Spin as “The Year’s Best New Band,” and their song “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” ranked 67th on Rolling Stone’s list of 100 Best Songs of the Year.
Dressed casually, the band played stiffly, hardly moving, impressing upon me that the band seems caught up in more success than they know what to do with. Even so, their performance was sharp; vocalist Ezra Koenig hit every note, while the band maintained the graceful levity that makes listening to their entire album so fluid and enjoyable. Playing all their notable tracks, from “A-Punk,” to “Oxford Comma,” the band had the crowd jumping, twisting, head bobbing in a way the previous bands were unable to achieve. Towards the end of their set, Ezra acknowledged the dance party by stating “This is the hottest it’s been, thanks for generating the body heat,” a nerdy comment reaffirming the group’s humility and Columbia background. There was no blood sucking on this night, just good ‘ole dancing and entertainment.