Chvrches at Belly Up;
Shannon and the Clams at The Void
There are a lot of shows I go to that I don't write about because I don't want to say something mean or don't have anything positive to say. Then there are other times when I go and leave before the headliner or miss everyone but the headliner and I feel bad about it. So normally i don't write about shows where I go and leave before the headliner- which is what happened Friday night at the Shannon and the Clams show. But fuck it, I feel compelled to mention that they drew 200+ paid at 10 or 12 a ticket, which is extraordinary and way off any kind of metric I could put together to predict show attendance.
With only 350k last fm plays total, and a new record out that only sold about 300 records in it's debut week, I would have maybe estimated 30 paid? So.... that's 170+ tickets off the mark on the low end. To me that indicates that there is something unusual going on with Shannon and the Clams that is worth noting. Also extraordinary is that there a hundred plus there for opener Colleen Green, and I'd like to attribute some of the success to her presence. But wow, I've never seen the Void so crowded- not even on the opening night.
Then last night I went to see Chvrches because I got invited by someone who had an extra ticket- I'm a sucker for that pitch btw- I'll go to almost anything if someone else actually wants to go. I had read that Chvches had played two sold out shows in LA so I was like, "OK." Same reason I went to see XX at the Casbah, not a fan, but I know a good opportunity when I see it.
So mostly I just wanted to confirm that Chvrches are very, very popular for a band of their audience size. The crowd was rapt with attention. I mean like mesmerized, probably because the lead singer is a kind of fairy creature from the British Isles- I'm assuming Scottish like the rest of the band (?)
The main Chvrches bro had a set up that combined Abletron, some kind of analog synth and a couple of keyboards that were connected to the computer. Then there was another guy who did percussion stuff and also sang. The main Chvrches bro would play bass and guitar as required. Chvrches do not have a lot of material, even closing with their Prince cover, and begging off doing their Game of Thrones cover.
They seemed genuinely excited to be playing in front of such an attentitve, loving crowd, as one would hope. It was a far cry from the last Belly Up show I went to- a Dum Dum Girls gig at the very end of their last promotion cycle.
Like the XX, I certainly get the appeal but the whole thing is a little precious for me. But one thing I've actually learned from going to shows its the bands that I don't really like that do the best in the marketplace. Like if i go to a show, and the band is obviously popular and good at what they do and I'm thinking "Nah, not for me." that likely means the band is going to do very, very, very well.
And if you go to that show as a critic and focus on observations like the fact that her voice isn't that strong, you are just a terrible human being who needs to die. Let people love their music ok. A critic should be able to appreciate Art that doesn't exactly match their taste or they are a shitty critic.