Dan and I went to the Echo last night to see Cymbals Eat Guitars. In the weeks between buying tickets and actually attending, we also got pretty excited about Freelance Whales who turned out to be opening. In the middle Bear in Heaven played.
And it was one of the worst experiences of my life, and definitely the worst show I've ever seen.
Freelance Whales were pretty cool. I had a hard time understanding them and finding all the instruments in the mash of sound, but I chocked it up to my own ignorance. I wish the girl sang more, and someone farted in the tiny crowded room (which the venue's great ventilation wafted all over so I have no idea where it came from), but other than that it was cool.
Dan found them on NPR (and they definitely look like people who would listen to NPR, don'tcha think?).
Next up was Bear in Heaven. I hoped they could sing and play better than they could make decisions about facial hair. (And I'm assuming they really really want to look like men who touch little children, so nothing I say will be offensive or surprising.) The first song was okay, but I guessed it wouldn't be my style (and figured again it was just a live-vs-recorded thing, and looked forward to looking them up when I got home).
It turned out their music was as creepy as they looked. It was loud, eery, and some other third thing I kinda lack the vocabulary for choosing. The guitarist made that gross sex-face the whole entire time, sometimes licking the inside of this mouth like The Joker licks the outside. I couldn't watch.
But then they pulled this awful bass-y synth thing that hurt my whole body so much I leaned against Dan to make him absorb some of the vibration. I still had to hold my throat so the vibrations wouldn't make me puke. So that was cool for one song, I guess, but then they pulled that crap again and I was fully ticked off.
Another issue I have is with drinking on stage. I'm getting over it, learning that it's just a thing some people do. The first band had one plastic cup of beer on stage that the keyboardist drank from occasionally, but Bear in Heaven had cans of Pabst! That just tipped them off the scale in lack of classiness.
And I don't think the singer could actually sing if it weren't for the reverb and/or other excessive voice FX I don't know the name of. He probably does a heck of a job, though, of sitting at home in his torn leather recliner, reeking of beer and stale nicotine, yelling at his wife and disobedient children. That's what that mustache and old-man look says to me.
Also, the farter struck twice more during this set.
And then Cymbals Eat Guitars. I'm not super familiar with their music, but as soon as they started playing, I recognized the music I've enjoyed immensely in our own living room.
But still the sound was so loud (and I finally decided it wasn't my fault I couldn't understand anything), I eventually got tears in my eyes and couldn't hold back outright crying sometimes. I had flashbacks of being dragged to fireworks shows and race car events when I was a kid. I super-duper hate loud noises. I eventually asked Dan if we could move to the back of the room. I still couldn't take it.
When Dan had seen enough (they played a few of his favorite songs from the album we have), we left. I confessed to crying, he felt bad, I assured him it was okay and not his fault, and we pretty much vowed never to go back there again.
And it's not just me! Dan wrote a technical review of this horrible night for Google. Sharing fries, a decaf coffee, and a chocolate yogurt shake at Mel's Drive in after we left (and then reading that) made me feel all better!