The Greater Vavoom vs. Juliette Lewis
Last night was the Greater Vavoom gig at Smith's Olde Bar, opening for Juliette Lewis. I think we played OK; it's difficult to say. I was worried about the stage volume, so I wore earplugs, but that left me with the same problem I always have--I feel so disconnected from everything else around me, I have a hard time feeling like I'm there. It was like I was watching through the window.
We came off stage and immediately began asking/telling each other "That was a good show, right?" I think that's kind of telling--maybe we all felt disconnected (even though we individually felt fine). I, for one, am still not sure what I'm supposed to do with the Vavoom. I guess it will take a few more rehearsals and gigs before I hear myself inside the sound of the band.
Dearly Beloved followed us on stage. They were ok. Evidently, I've never felt the emotions they feel. Maybe I'm not saying that correctly; all of their stuff had punk/hard rock energy and manic lyrics. Even if I've felt that way, it's never come through me like I've needed to jump around in a mosh pit to express it. Anyway, that style of music does nothing for me. Let's just leave it at that.
A couple of other comments...the body language of the stage right guitarist just killed me. He never faced the band, never made eye contact. He would face straight ahead, and if he took a step, it turned his shoulders out--not in. So weird!
The band also had some chick singer--the girl with the inaudible tambourine. I spent some time and energy trying to decide exactly what she was doing there. She didn't really contribute anything other than some snarls and attitude. It makes me wonder if she used to do more, and they've scaled back her role, or if she's convinced them that her presence is worth it, or what. All I know is that if she hadn't been there, I wouldn't have noticed.
On to my rant about Juliette Lewis...
The Juliette Lewis show felt like a sham. I assume she's fully committed to the music and really believes in it, but from where I was standing the whole thing looked like it was put together by a friend of hers who happens to work in the marketing department of a fairly big record label.
Juliette seemed to be playing a role--a cross between Joan Jett, Pat Benatar, and Janis Joplin. All that crap she said in between songs was carefully scripted. The songs were lame punk/hard rock. I couldn't make my brain believe that any of it was more than her self-indulgent BS until her agent calls with the next movie role.
Her band was made up of a punk rock drummer with a big 'fro (I think DW drums are a sign that I should leave immediately), an Asian girl playing bass (whose on stage demeanor made me thing she would look more appropriate as the greater at a trendy midtown restaurant); two guitarists--one with Nine Inch Nails hair who floppped around onstage a lot, and another guy who was constantly reminding himself to be more animated, though his tendency was to stand there and play his guitar solos. Once again--no eye contact between band members--no smiling, no laughing--no "We're playing together." I would say not a band at all--four guys who learned their parts and fill their roles backing up some chick singer on her "project." The only place any of their eyes went was towards Juliette Lewis--making sure that she saw them doing their thing so they could keep their gig a little longer. They might as well be playing covers at a wedding. What a bunch of "manufactured in L.A." crap!
The fact that the room was rather full and the crowd cheered for crap like that makes me feel like the music industry deserves to die. In between songs there was so much chatter at the bar, there's no way those people were really there to hear the music. They were there to take part in the celebrity (right down to the people waiting in the alley behind Smith's). We were all playing our roles, for better or worse.