Monday, February 4, 2013

Bad Bands and Fringeworld

I went into Northbridge on a Saturday night (this is often the start of a tragic story, and admittedly it does end with security manhandling two people by grabbing the hair on the back of their heads, but that's besides the point) to film a live band performance. This starts off with me standing outside of the place feeling awkward, having arrived what I thought as late only to discover that the place isn't even open yet... Well the rest of the crew arrives (I was just a cameraman so knew very little) and we get to walk in first instead of waiting in line because we need to set up. I felt vaguely important. Not very, just slightly above the base level of undistinguished customer.

The band plays. We record it. Things go fine. I started off doing a master wide, and we switched cameras and positions through the performance. Then we sat down, a job well done (I hope) to relax and a friend of a friend convinces us to stay for the next band. So we do.

The band starts. Instantly I don't like it. To best describe the playing style I would use words like "demisemiquaver", "banging", and "epilepsy". It is an assault on the ears. It is the most energetic thing I've heard since Dragonforce and I'm busy watching the keyboardist's hands blur with speed as he bangs out chords then does some intense arpeggios. It all blurs into noise with no distinct melody to me. At one point they yelled into a microphone. No lyrics... just outright screeching it seemed. Wow.

Thing is we're sitting right next to the stage so we're right next to the speakers. It's so loud my pants are noticeably vibrating and it is almost impossible to yell at people nearby to have conversation. I decide to type messages on my phone and hand my friend the screen so he can read it. Despite the obvious frantic energy exploding off the stage I am intensely inanimate. My hands placed firmly on my camera bag. With not even a twitch of facial expression my head rotates, Terminator style, to my friend sitting next to me... and slowly shakes back and forth.

I pick up my phone and type "no." He reads and laughs. The noise continues to assault my ears. I type something new. "NO."

Listening to the song seemed to drag on forever. During it I would occasionally make snide remarks about their performance. The notes were played so fast and everything was so loud that I typed a new message: "How do they know if they've played a note wrong?" for all I knew they weren't playing their songs right at all but were just playing them at the right speed. A speed I must admit is quite impressive and their technical skill alone is quite reasonable... but speed does not make a musician.

"I should get my Nana to listen to this..." I remarked at one point.

After a few of these jibes at the band and what I considered to be one of the worst things I'd listened to in a very long time the friend of a friend who convinced us to stay leaned over and told me she was dating one of the band members...

See this is the kind of awkward moment where in sitcoms the main character tries to backtrack and go "well, no I'm only kidding, they're not THAT bad... I like their uh... (insert something here)". I don't care that this may have been a really awkward moment.

"I don't retract my statements..." I said before going back to watching with mild entertainment. See the thing is they were so bad that I found it funny to watch. They were so into this performance that I thought it was comical...

"Though on the bright side, he has very strong fingers..." I remarked. She nodded.

"That is a very good thing."

See turns out she wasn't offended at all by this. She actually agreed with me to an extent that the song they were playing wasn't very good. (Though I doubt she hated it as much as me. I really did despise it and would've walked away after 5 seconds if it weren't for the fact that my friends weren't moving and after a while I thought it was so bad it became funny). It turns out that it was their early work. Then they started playing something new AND SUDDENLY IT WENT FROM AWFUL TO GOOD!

ACTUALLY REALLY ENJOYABLE SORT OF THING I WOULD DELIBERATELY LISTEN TO! They turned into this sort of Post-Rock instrumental sort of thing. It was awesome. I stopped digging into them quietly and started actually sincerely enjoying. I have avoided using names in case anyone involved finds this and gets offended by anything I've said though I don't actually remember the name of the band so couldn't tell you that if I wanted to... But yeah. They had one really bad song that was just really long, and then got better.

Well then we went walking around the city, ate at a Chinese restaurant, then went to Fringeworld. There was much sitting around and talking then watching as a bunch of security guards got into place to surround this drunk that was lying on the ground so he couldn't run. They told him to get up, they started grabbing him and his friend tried to intervene to tell them not to be rough and they held them both by the back of their hair saying something about trespassing... Spectators interfered and security got angry at them but released the two guys and told them to leave. I left after that. After all, it isn't a night out in Northbridge until some drunk gets man handled by security. When I walked out the guy was arguing with the security guard outside of the premises about something from a distance probably telling them off for their treatment of him as he wasn't even resisting... he was just slow to obey. Though he seemed hesitant to leave after they'd released their grip as he was angry and had some point to prove.

So that was a bit unfortunate but I was just a random observer and not sure of the entire context so couldn't comment further.

Add this to my list of nights I've gone out into the horror of Northbridge and come back intact.

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