05 June 2009

Jars of Clay/Seabird @ Gothic Theater 6/4/2009

Seabird is a band I was previously unfamiliar with in their entirety, and to describe them I want to use one of my favorite terms: half-decent. That is not quite true though, rather, I should say they are half good. The pianist and guitarist (who are brothers as it turns out) have a great synchronization in their playing and the complexity and depth of the composition is absolutely fantastic at times. Unfortunately, the pianist also chooses to sing, and while he's perhaps not a bad singer, he's not a fitting singer for the band. The drums and bass, which are crucial to a truly great and cohesive band, weren't bad by any stretch of the imagination, but like the vocals, they brought the composition down from its potential,which is always a disappointing thing to see in a band. As it turned out the bassist was playing his last show, so maybe with a new drummer and someone else taking lead vocals I could see this band becoming great in the future. I'll have to keep an eye out.

Jars of Clay did not play what I consider an optimal set list. Perhaps, as my dad suggested, it was merely the fact that I had not yet heard their latest album. But I've heard new songs by bands live before and been blown away, and this was not the case here. To me, it sounded like they had just found garageband and were busy experimenting with it while playing straightforward rock, to a mediocre end at best. But it's ok for a band to have a poor album, the prior album was fantastic. Unfortunately, they may very well have played the entire album throughout the evening, which was a poor choice in my opinion. In addition, some older songs were re-imagined for this performance, and while I appreciate wanting to change up your old hits and experiment with them, for the most part I felt the new versions fell flat of the originals (though a couple were indeed better). I believe that if you want to change something, you should change it for the better, not just to change it. The whole experience made me wonder whether or not the prior album was a lucky fluke, because they have quite surrounded it with mediocrity and I begin to doubt their artistic vision.

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