Monday, December 10, 2007

Yesterday about 300 people stopped by to see the Gift Guide pt 1 in the first eight hours it was up. Thanks and continue to tell your friends about my little flea circus here.

Along those lines, Newmen contacted me yesterday to tell me that all their albums(Newmen ($5), The Infeild Hits ($8) and Adventures In The 5 Minute Moment ($7)) are now available for purchase on their Myspace page. All the more reason to pick some up for gifts.

I also was remiss in not mentioning the live Bruce2 CD. Part of the amazingly reasonable $6 price goes towards an African charity, so you're really giving two gifts. The CD is available at Brother Bean in Seneca.

Saturday, when I got home from a little family trip, I found a phone message from friends Candy and Justin that they were in the area and thinking about some coffee. It was already 6 pm, so instead of trying to prolong phone tag, the wife and kid and I took a chance and headed to Summerhouse in the hopes that the Parsons family would be there holding court whilst luxuriously slurping lattes. They weren't. But Remora Deign was there playing an hour long acoustic set.

For whatever reason, bands always play to the front of Summerhouse, even though a better place would be the back, where the comfy couches are. As it stands, patrons who aren't there to see the show walk through the front door to find dozens of beady eyed teens staring at them. The discomfort of these people as they walk to the coffee bar is palpable. They buy coffee and quickly scurry out. Meanwhile, at the back of house, where I was sitting, the view was largely obscured by a large Christmas tree. Bands, please talk to Aaron about setting up int the back. You and your fans will be happier.
It's no great secret that emo kids are an easy target (In this case, the audience was the strangest thing about the show. No one bought drinks. No one clapped at the end of songs; they just stared intently stopping only occasionally to snuggle (at least the case with the couple ahead of me, to be truthful, I suppose the overall snuggle factor was fairly low) each other. As a performer, I would have been creeped out; as an observer I was amused and fascinated in an anthropological sense; but the guys in the band were professional and soldiered through with smiles and solid songs.), and, Lord knows, I never pass up an easy target, but it was a well done show (although at about 50 minutes, more like an in-store appearance) albeit with some sound problems -- the bass was sludgy and the vocals ultra compressed sounding at times as if they were being sung into a tin can. (Interesting side note - although the Parsons weren't there. Remora Deign lead singer's Kyle Hoffman's deadpan delivery between songs shares in tone and timbre an almost 100% match to Justin's own stage patter.) They brightened up the show with a rockabilly-esque number, but alas, no holiday cover songs.

Bands like Remora Deign that have a local following (or really any following I suppose) face a difficult decision. Do they play only for their fans, peppering the set with in-jokes and goofy antics or do they play for a wider public, chancing rejection for the reward of a bigger base . It was clear Saturday night that Remora Deign are interested in the latter. After the show, when I went to buy a CD, they were polite (even pleased) and stopped a conversation with a friend of the band to sell me the disc.
It may seem like a small thing, but bands that live to play only for their friends and extended circle build walls around themselves - their concerts become less and less welcoming and their "friends" take more and more liberties - plunking butts in prime locations only to spend the show texting and shouting cute things at their friends on stage. Eventually the friends move on to karoke or paintball for recreation and the band disappears only to resurface a decade later playing 38 Special covers in a local bar.

Remora Deign plays Brother Bean (2803 SR 257, Seneca, PA 16346) December 22 at 7pm. No cover.

Finally, some free and legal downloads:
Mogwai live in Vancouver from five years ago featuring their song "Xmas Steps".


Anonymous said...

what!?! remora deign fans didn't clap and cheer?

Dittman said...

Okay, okay - point well taken. Still there were some silences that were just...strange. I'll reassess when they play at Brother Bean this month.

the parsons said...

sorry we missed you this weekend. our lack of foresight and planning at least led you to a show. we were tempted to hang out for the RD show, but, sadly, our mission was xmas shopping and lunch rather than rocking out. had to get back for the kids... maybe we can be responsible and actually plan something with you blog people. have your agent call our agent.