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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Shelftalker at Redbar

Shelftalker gig
A group of colleagues and I were invited to the first gig by Shelftalker, a local rock band whose lead singer is my colleague, Mikael Teo. It was held at Redbar, which used to be a Chinese karaoke joint, which used to be another bar called Gas Haus. The gig was supposed to start at 8:30pm, but even when we returned from dinner at 8:45pm, we still had to wait for the show.

Now, my music taste comprises mostly of soft rock, and the closest that I get to loud rock music is through bands like Linkin Park. And I'd only been to one other rock gig at a bar, which was about five years ago in Madison. So I sort of knew what to expect: loud music, solo guitar pieces, non-discernible lyrics. Oh yeah, and lots of angst. Someone had brought the lyrics sheet and I scanned through it briefly, deciding to soak in the music instead.

Mikael Teo, lead singer of Shelftalker
Shelftalker gig Shelftalker gig
Meaning no disrespect to Mikael, I suppose I'll never be able to fully appreciate indie rock. Perhaps my brain has soaked in too much mainstream music. And I like listening to songs where the lyrics (a) can be recognised without needing to consult a lyrics sheet, or (b) are catchy enough to make me want to look them up. But I don't think the others felt the same way, going by the loud applause.

My only real complaint was about the sound. I accepted that it must be loud, but why did it always seem like there was a background hum? It's the kind that sounded like a microphone was too close to a speaker. I expected the sound guy to fix it after the first two songs or so, but he never did so. Later, in the second set, I realised that the bass player was strumming between songs, so maybe he was the sound of the hum. Still, it was irritating and I kept wishing it away, to no avail.

The other complaint would be logistical, i.e. the microphone stand. I lost count of how many times Mikael had to kick the stand in order for its three legs to open up properly. Definitely not a worthwhile distraction for the lead singer.

Having said that, the gig was enjoyable because part of the fun came from being with friends. Sure, it was dark and loud, which meant that I had to speak louder with my soft voice (and thus lean closer to the girl's ear?), and there were alcoholic drinks all around that always make me burp uncomfortably. But that's all fun and good.


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