Sunday, September 13, 2009

Keane Kills @ The Centre

Friday night I continued on my fall concert series by going to see Keane at the Centre for the Performing Arts here in Vancity. After a weekend of outdoor general admission gigs, it was a little strange to be in an actual seat, in a building with a roof. But it was very good to not get rained on or shoved by stoned teenagers.

The Centre is a really pretty venue - shiny and new, with only one staircase from the upper balcony which is annoying. We were in the teeny tiny middle balcony, 4th row centre, so had a great view. They also have faux-box seats on the side. One day I will figure out how to get those seats through ticketmaster. A friend sat in them for Damien Rice a few years ago, and said it was awesome. Oh Damien Rice.... that was an awesome concert.

Sorry, getting sidetracked by memories of Damien pulling out his earpiece and singing Cannonball sans microphone and any accompaniment....... so amazing.

My friend Carrie and I decided that alcohol > opening act, so missed the first opener..... I don't even know who it was. But we did go in for Lights. She was better than I expected. Quite a strong and decent voice coming out of such a tiny little thing. She won the Juno for best new artist this year and according to Carrie she sang. Hmph. I was there, but I don't recall. I may have been in a beer fog by then.... or have left if she was Nickelback adjacent. She performs heavily synthesised pop music, but has the voice to make it not totally lame. She borrows heavily from artists such as Phil Collins and I think I even caught a hint of Welcome Back Kotter during one song. Lights is great live. She has a powerful voice and completely engaged the crowd. I think she would have been better in a smaller venue (but I think everyone is better in a smaller venue), as the stage seemed so massive. But she was cute and pretty and can sing.

Waited 20 minutes in a line up for a second drink, then had 5 minutes to chug it before the lights went down and Keane! Now, if truth be told, I loved their first album but then they fell off my radar for a while. So I had spent the last week listening to their music at work and home. Hopes & Fears is still my fave album of theirs.

What I love about Keane is that guitars are not the focus of their music. They are very piano and keyboard driven, led by Tim Rice-Oxley who is amazing. Also WTF happened to lead singer Tom Chaplin? He is practically half the man he once was - I almost didn't recognise him as he came out on stage!

The concert was awesome. They had the crowd in the palm of their hands from the opening song. They played all the favourites we wanted to hear - Somewhere only we know, Bedshaped, Bend & Break, This is the Last time....... and we sang along with them all.

The crowd was super enthusiastic and such an odd mix of young kids and older (my age) folks. The people in front of us were a youngish (mid-40's) couple who were with what looked like their teenage daughters. All were into it. People were on their feet for much of the show (except for the lame couple next to us who looked like they were falling asleep).
Fairly simple staging was completely upstaged by the strobe lighting. I gotta say, I am not a huge fan of fancy lights at shows. For me, it is about the tunes and I often wonder if an artist is trying to distract us with the pretty lights? Madonna's show comes to mind....... all pretty lights and fun and interesting sets to hide the fact that the show pretty much sucked balls. I know, I know, I am a cynical and bitter bitch. Thankfully though - for Keane - it wasn't to hide anything. Cause Tom can f*cking sing.

He has a great voice and an even better stage presence, completely working the crowd, showering us with love. He was pretty much the only one that spoke. Drummer Richard Hughes said "Hello" and that was it. Tim showed his love with applause and general enthusiasm for what he does. I actually prefer watching someone wail on a piano over a guitar. Probably because I know how to play the piano (not well, I took lessons for 2 years, then we moved - story of my childhood) so I can imagine myself doing it.

They were onstage for about 2 hours in total and for part of the encore they sang "Pressure" the Queen/David Bowie collaboration - which the crowd was yelling for so I guess they do it a lot? Great show. Again, would have preferred a smaller venue, but the Centre is one of the smaller seated venues in the City so I guess I will have to cope.

Next up..... Paolo Nutini on Friday at my favourite concert venue in the city - The Commodore Ballroom. See you there?


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