Another day, another sold-out show. Ho-hum.
No, no, scratch that. I mean to say: Hell Yeah!
It's not every day there's a line a mile long, a full house, and a killer show unfolding.
It's special, every single time. And Tuesday night was one of those special times at Underworld.
As soon as people began pouring in, the lights went down and 落日飛俠 Sunset Rollercoaster commenced. A Velvety Underground sound, leisurely yet driving, greeted us.
I think it's best to view their Tuesday show as one entity, not individual songs. In considering their set as a whole, one can map it out as a slow build and rapturous eruption.
And yes, the build was slow, the audience not initially reacting to their 70's styled grooves. It's not a style I tend to seek out when I plan to hit a show, but it was all working for me. I turned to a friend beside me, and declared, "This is great!"
"I'm bored," he replied.
The band, they were unperturbed by what either of us thought. They just did what they did - soulful bass, bluesy guitar work, pounding drums, and a keyboard tone that escapes my present abilities as a writer.
They did what they did and they took their time, and it somehow sent me back to long summer evenings in North America, with a vague memory of parks, bike rides, and girls that wouldn't return my glances. Bittersweet, I think that's called. And I felt a yearning for those days.
Then Zeppelin-esque chords slapped me out of my haze, and I saw heads nodding, bodies awakening, and heard murmurs of appreciation transform into cheers.
Now I was treated to a new type of 70's rock, something the Strokes may have created if they'd porked Lou Reed in a dark closet. Or vice versa.
"Hmm, it seems to be picking up now," my friend observed, completely understating the slamming frenzy that had erupted. It was as though the scene before me was the ghost of my warm recollection, standing up and saying, "Dude, that never happened, and those days weren't so awesome.THIS, this is awesome."
And I think my friend would have to agree.
I've already written about Carsick Cars' performance two nights prior, at the Freak Out Beast festival - had anything changed since then?
Not much. They still rocked.
A packed house always assures a greater intensity, and that was definitely in effect. The level of anticipation was only matched by the clouds of cigarette smoke. Somehow most of the back half of the bar managed to cram themselves up front, but without any pushing or shoving or bad vibes. I don't which is more miraculous, defying the physics of space or the grace their invasion received.
Not that everyone was in total agreement. Whereas I felt the sound was a little too muted and bass-y tonight, another friend celebrated it as perfect. The sound at Underworld, never really spoken of unless its a complaint, has been really, really good these days. Really. So it's my bad to have my first mention be critical, albeit only a minor criticism. And it's certainly only one opinion. What any objective eyes and ears could tell you, though, was that this was a rowdy, happy, rocking show.
Not their first time to play Underworld, Carsick Cars were free to jam away without the clutter of formalities. Just rock. Rock Rock Rock.
As on Sunday, 中南海 shot the evening to another level, with the frantic dancing and slamming from the front row reaching to the back wall.
Not long afterwards, sweaty, exhausted kids stumbled up the stairs for fresh air, for a little less ringing in their ears, for a chance to tell their absent buddies what they'd just missed.
They'd missed something special. But not us. We were there.