A I M E E M A N N
Live in Concert
After a few songs Juliana turned around, bent over and pulled off her jacket. My first reaction was WHOA! as the lowered stage lighting made it difficult, at first, to see she actually was wearing that tank-top. She also switched to a different guitar (the one here), which had a better low end, for one song. I held myself back from yelling out "Fleur de Lys" (off her Only Everything CD). It's hard to know if she had a solo arrangement of that song ready -- the interlocking rhythms of drums & bass that drive that song along, together with the multi-tracked guitars and vocals would make it difficult to do stripped down. It's the type of song that would have benefited from Aimee's drummer and bassist coming out a little early and ending the set with a full rock-out cut or two (something her albums have in spades).
All in all, a perfect entre for Aimee.
Aimee and her band came out very strong. This is the view from the balcony. Aimee waved to us while letting the downstairs audience know we were actually all up here.
"The moth don't care when he sees the flame"
Opening up was a great up-tempo & rockier version of The Moth ...very solid. I DO think it would have been more dynamic a performance if Aimee had started it solo with her acoustic guitar, and then launched briskly into the up-tempo part midway through. The flame (Aimee) was bright indeed tonight for a room full of us fluttering moths.
After a few songs Aimee seemed to relax a bit. Her voice got a bit stronger, and she seemed to warm up to the crowd, getting downright frisky by the end.
Trivia time: Drummer John Sands reminds me a bit of British drummer John Halsey. Halsey played (among others) with the great songwriter Neil Innes, who's credited for a small bit on "It's Not Safe", the best cut on Aimee's I'M WITH STUPID album.
Aimee took off her now well-traveled jacket and switched to bass for a bit, and the mix sounded a bit smoother. If there was one disappointment for me, it was...
...the poor audio mix for the hall. It wasn't that bad, but it left much room for improvement. I'm not sure of the exact reasons, but the bass guitar was mixed poorly [why not go with a tried and true Dual Showman type of set-up of decades past?] Also, the vocals were missing some of the upper midrange because the hall's sound system didn't have suitable drivers (?) for this range. Whatever the reasons, it sounded as if the bass was mixed too high and blurring the vocals; and it's working "range" was rather limited because it wasn't equalized well for the hall. The end effect was like trying to look at a beautiful view through a smudged window. The keyboards were also too down in the mix. The whole mix of hall + band equipment needed some better synergy... and that's as much an art as the music part. My guess is that the limited time to set-up, and difficulty integrating the equipment with different halls was part of the reason for this.
Another complaint is that not enough song-dynamics were produced until the very end of the show. Additional effort could be put into re-arranging some of the songs differently for a live production, the same way considerable planning goes into production details and minutia in the studio. Such attention could have made this truly spectacular.
Aimee's vocals and lyrics are the heart of her songs, and the audience should be able to hear them with an intimacy and crystal-clarity as if she was whispering in your ear. Such was not the case as audience newcomers were, at times, wondering exactly what the lyrics were. It is possible to make a big improvement here. Just one possibility is Sennheiser's cutting edge microphone technology that's being used by many bands in more intimate venues like the one here. I recently listened to the new 4-CD box set from Jellyfish.... some of their live recordings, despite being a decade old now, show just how clearly a talented band can sound from an audio perspective.
Would have loved to hear more songs like this, with a quieter acoustic arrangement and production-mix. Acoustic dynamics are the heart of any great sound experience.
Somewhere halfway through the performance I managed to get a nice fingerprint onto my lens... a mishap made possible by the complete darkness in the hall, and my fumbling with the lens-cap. It's the first time that's ever happened, lest you think I'm a fumbling idiot (idiot, maybe... fumbler, not!). No matter though -- I saw no major bad effects in the remaining photos.
I didn't write down the set list so I won't try to list songs from memory. Suffice it to say Aimee spanned all her work, even having fun with a fan who shouted out a request for "Voices Carry". [No! No! I moaned] Her humorous reply showed what a good mood she was in. She bantered and joked a bit about being dared to play the song, finally saying: "... alright, we're gonna fu_kin' play it!". Actually, the version they played was rather good.
Aimee seemed in very good spirits by the end of the night.
As was I.
"... because moth believes in an afterglow..."
The afterglow for this moth lasted for the whole long drive back to CT.
(boosted by a large DD coffee)
Thanks to Michael Lockwood, John Sands, & the band.
Thanks to all the fans who filled the hall.
Thanks to Juliana Hatfield ♥
And thanks ♥ Aimee!
If you have comments or questions, click here to send me a quick note.
(It doesn't require any e-mail info from you)
Click kit-kat to return to the music-index page.
Copyright Notice : Selected website content & artwork copyright © 2000 - 2004 G. Jackson unless otherwise specified. All applicable copyright laws apply. All rights reserved, except transmission by USENET and like facilities granted. Any use or inclusion in print or other media are specifically prohibited. The informational content is not warrantied in any way or form, and any use of said content are at the reader's own risk, the author shall not be held responsible in any way for any damages or injuries arising from the content of this web site. Common safety practices are encouraged at all times. Do not fold, spindle or mutilate.