American Slang

I was sure I’d written about The Gaslight Anthem before but the search facility isn’t turning anything up. So; The Gaslight Anthem topped a few Best Of lists for 2009 (or maybe 2008) and I was late to the party. Not just late, but I stood in the kitchen and refused to acknowledge the fun.

The point where I got it is etched quite clearly in my mind. I was walking home from work, the sun was out and I rounded the corner at the bottom of Leith Walk and was barely able to contain my air drumming. The album had crept up on me and was now firmly lodged in my mind. It’s not a perfect album from a sonic point of view. I still think the production is flat, but that’s a problem that affects a lot of music these days. It’s fine for pop but anything with instruments suffers from this style of dull production.

But that was then, this is now. They’ve got a new album out and one that I’d only heard over online streams. Apparently it leaked early but it didn’t appear on my radar. Not only that but they were playing Glasgow. Fucking get in.

It’s accurate to say I was more than a little excite to see this band live. They’re unpretentious, balls out punk/rock. I was up for this, I’d be the only person there that I knew but I’d head into the pit and get sweaty.

Then they came on stage. And the lead vocals weren’t present in the mix. The opening song, the track that’s going to get everyone started and it’s fucked. The title track from the new album. Fucked. Okay, so let’s try on track two. Nope. The vocals are louder but the only instruments I can hear are bass and drums.

The night stayed like that to the point that I was contemplating leaving after half an hour. The only reason I stayed was that I didn’t feel like getting back in the car just yet. I even attempted a track without my ear plugs but, as with every time I try that, it was just painful and unpleasant. I left after an hour, at the end of the main set. A rousing Baba O’Riley wasn’t enough to keep me in place.

Ordinarily I’d dismiss it as just me, but Twitter tells me otherwise. My angry tweet towards the O2 Academy garnered a response to myself and another tweeter who was also complaining about the poor sound. From their feed it’s clear that it’s not a one off occurrence. The venue wanted us to know that the mix was handled by the band’s techs, but that doesn’t cut it for me. If you’re going to put the sound desk on the stage then you need to provide an on-floor feed so that it can be monitored.

From where I stood I could see that the sound tech was bored and presumably of the opinion that the sound was fine.

We’ve since been tweeted again by the venue saying “don’t give up on us, it wasn’t our fault”. I replied with “well, it kinda was”. We’ll see. If I attend another O2 Academy gig and the sound’s bad then their setup doesn’t work and I won’t waste my money there.