July 30, 2010
By Mhelanni Gorre
Los Angeles boys 100 Monkeys performed to a devoted crowd of fans at Venue this past Friday night. They have played a few times before back in Vancouver but Venue has, for the most part, been their biggest locale. The crowd was a mix of pre-teen Twilight die-hards and women in their late 20’s to 30’s (probably also Twilight die-hards). There was even a fan wearing a banana-top styled hat. If these guys want more than Twilight fans going to their shows though, things have got to change.
I couldn’t tell if it was the way their songs lined up or if it was the music itself but this show felt like it took forever. They started off strong though and I thought their songs had a danceable quality to it but then somewhere along the way it just flat lined. It’s hard for me to pin down exactly what their sound is like. There are slick bongos, wind chimes; even a jazz flute was played once. There were loungy-songs played and then there some songs that sounded like garage rock. This is what worked against them. There was no consistency and no momentum. I don’t think I should be confused as to what music they play and I shouldn’t have the need to look at my watch every 5 minutes hoping that the show is over.
The switching around and playing instruments aspect was admirable though- to know how to play so many songs and then know how to play maybe 2 or 3 instruments for that song is commendable. There is a segment when the audience gets to participate with the boys as they improvise a song on the spot. I think this time around it was called “Pressure”. Or was it “Treasure”? It was hard for me to tell, the audio for the vocals was fuzzy at times and even had obvious unwanted feedback as Jerad Anderson pushed the mic away. Anyways, this is when my interest was piqued. I’ve always fancied a good jam session and wanted to see what these guys could whip up. Maybe some sick guitar riffs, maybe a cool drum solo? This is where things may not match up perfectly, beats may be off but this is a chance where you can show off and have fun. It sounded really rehearsed to me. This could also be me not understanding it fully. Maybe this song is SUPPOSED to be rehearsed beforehand and then they just make-up lyrics on the spot. Either way, the song wasn’t impressive. Jackson Rathbone is quite charming though as the front man and I haven’t even watched any of the Twilight movies or read any of the books. Now if only I could make out what he was saying half of the time due to the poor sound quality.
One thing I don’t understand is the fact that they took a break. Yes, they took a break an hour and 15 minutes into their set. Maybe if they were at a coffee shop and were doing an acoustic performance and it was 30 minutes into their set- awesome. But really, what was the point? I can’t say that I’ve been to a rock concert and they had to take a “break” especially so late into the set. Again, this disrupts whatever momentum they had and really killed it. I was confused as I’m sure other people were as well. Audience members saw it as a chance to step outside perhaps. I saw it as a chance to finally leave.
Yet I didn’t. I wanted to see what else was in store. And I can say- there wasn’t much. The guys came back onstage and played 2 more songs. They couldn’t even end with a bang- with the energy and pow that they had when they first stepped out on stage.
Maybe move back to a smaller venue so it feels fuller and your music will have more influence. Maybe change your set list so there is actual momentum and excitement. Maybe change the guy who was in charge of sound because half of the time I couldn’t make out what was being said. Or maybe finally decide on what your sound should be. But please, change something. If you want your music to reach past those who are forever devoted to the story of Edward and Bella, something has got to change.
Photo by Dan Savoie from a previous 100 Monkeys show.
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