Gig Review: Melissa Auf der Maur + 2:54Posted by blatantblithe on November 19, 2010 Blog posts | Music | Music reviews | Personal | | 6 comments
Last Friday I went to see Melissa Auf der Maur with my lovely Mr. Hank, and we had a fantastic time! We got to the venue and met up with fellow tweeter Serena (@misslolitalove) and two other lovely ladies, and the five of us had a chat at the front of the queue for an hour or so. It was great.
Anyway, here is my review of both acts of the night. I’m not a gig reviewer, so I’m afraid I’m going to write this in a plain non-journalistic tone. Sorry about that. Hope you enjoy regardless!
Support Act – 2:54 (www.myspace.com/thetwofiftyfour)
With a short set to kick off the evening, I was pleasantly surprised by this band. Consisting of two sisters – vocalist/rhythm guitarist Colette and lead guitarist Hannah – and a backing bass player and drummer, 2:54 are an unsigned band that hail from London. With churning distorted guitars and hushed vocals, the band’s sound reminds me a little of Nirvana, L7, Mudhoney and the similar dirty grungey bands of the early 90s. If I’m perfectly honest, the music wasn’t quite to my taste – I’m not a huge fan of that kind of grunge, as I personally find it a little samey. 2:54 were no different in this aspect, with the same guitar sound and moody feel to all their songs. Having said that, I did really enjoy the performance. I’m a sucker for women who play the guitar, so it was a really fun experience for me to see two female guitarists rocking out and making powerful music on stage. Colette has a gorgeous voice that carried the songs (although they sounded a little too quiet in the mix), and once Hannah relaxed a little, she had a pretty good stage presence. Plus, you can’t deny that hearing such exciting music live is a really fun experience, even if it’s not something you’d listen to on your iPod.
The most disappointing aspect of their performance was how nervous both girls seemed to be, especially lead vocalist Colette! After storming the stage with their kick-ass first song (can’t remember which it was – Creeping possibly?), Colette announced “we’re 2:54”, before jumping straight into the rest of the set. After 30 minutes or so, they shuffled off stage in silence, leaving some people in the audience asking “…have they finished?” While they definitely relaxed throughout their time on stage, things still felt a little tense. I just wanted to go up to them and say “you girls kick ass! Relax, we’re having a good time!” It must’ve been one of the biggest gigs they’d done so far, and so they were understandably nervous. Hell, I would’ve been nervous too! Still, there was something about the whole performance that felt very understated and tentative… as if they were holding back somewhat. I don’t know why, because I think they’re really talented women, if only they’d be a bit more gutsy and confident.
Download: Creeping, On A Wire, Sugar
Melissa Auf der Maur (www.xmadmx.com)
She was just incredible. After the atmospheric intro of “This Would Be Paradise”, MAdM and her three backing players stormed on stage and kicked off the set with a great rendition of “Isis Speaks”. She had an amazing stage presence, moving around the stage and shaking her long red hair in time to the music. With two well-rehearsed guitarists, they managed to recreate the powerful sound of the album pretty well, which was just amazing. As well as performing a number of popular tracks from her latest album, including the title track “Out of Our Minds”, “22 Below”, and “Lead Horse”, she also performed plenty from her debut album. I particularly enjoyed “Head Unbound” and “Taste You”, two songs which I sometimes find a little bland, but when performed live sounded incredible. Serena took a really great video of “Followed the Waves”, which she has kindly allowed me to share with you here (the sound quality doesn’t do justice to the performance, but you get a rough idea):
I think my personal favourite was her rendition of “I Need I Want I Will”, where the instrumental sections featured strobe lighting, smoke machines, and a lot of head-banging on stage! It was such a powerful and inspiring performance. She finished off her surprisingly short set with a solo performance of her first ever song, “Good News”. It felt pretty anti-climatic to end the evening with such an understated performance, but other than that I had a fantastic time.
After a little waiting at the end, Melissa came out to meet her fans, who made me feel a little uncomfortable due to their pushiness. I eventually met her, where she signed my ticket and got a photo with me. She was lovely. I would’ve liked to have stayed and chatted with her for a little longer, but Hank and I made a hasty exit before we got elbowed out of the way by any more aggressive fans. Pah.
Download: Out Of Our Minds, Meet Me On The Dark Side, Followed The Waves
(all photos taken by Hank on my crappy digital camera, apart from the first two images)