It's easy to grin, when the wind's at your back,.
And you've got the whole world by the feet.
But the man who's worthwhile,
Is the man who can smile,
When his shorts are too tight in the seat
Under the right conditions, any band can sound good. But when you are in a rather messed up situation, and you still kick ass and create new fans? That's a band that kicks ass, and that's just what The Donnas did on 20 August, 2005 at the Missouri State Fair.The concert was held in the racetrack, and it was literally a mudpit. I had huge clumps of the crap all over my shoes. The seats? Folding chairs, in the mud.
It gets better. It had been raining like hell for a couple days preceding the concert, and that day, it was humid as *hell*. About 90 degrees. But the worst was the sound. For the first 2-3 songs of the set, all you could hear was Maya's bass and a wee bit of Torry's drums. Brett was pushing herself over a mix muddier than the ground by sheer force of will, and Allison's flawless guitar work was almost completely buried. With many bad looks from Brett at the soundboard, it got somewhat better by the end of the show, but still, poorheather was about to give Maya a twenty if she kabonnged the yahoo running sound.
It was painful.
Listen to the movie links from my phone at the end of this, and even allowing for the fact that well, it's a PHONE, you'll hear the craptacular sound mix the band had to put up with. (I don't know who was running sound, and I don't want to say for a fact it was a deliberately crappy mix, but they got told to cut the set short, which blew, and miraculously, the sound mix was perfect for Hoobastank. I don't mean, a little better. I mean, perfect. Amazing how the two opening bands get it in the shorts, but the headline act has perfect sound.
It didn't matter. It was a fantastic show. Torry's drums were spot - on, and agressive as hell. I also have a fondness for a drummer who can play well on a basic kit. John Bonham kicked everyone's ass with a basic garage band kit, and so was Torry. Maya was playing bass like bass should be played, rock - friggin' steady, hard, and radiating attitude all over the stage. Kind of an Entwhistle vibe, only better looking. I really love her bass, it's sweet. Brett was singing really well, and managing to connect with the crowd, even though most of them were all 'Stank fans and the place was just starting to fill in. Allison was channeling Jimmy Page with a bit of Angus Young on the side. Watching her move around the stage was giving me flashbacks to Page circa 1973. Watch "The Song Remains The Same", the similarities are uncanny Playing like a combination of Angus's brother Malcom and Page as well, only a lot cleaner than Page, who while brilliant, has never been the epitome of clean playing. This was my son's first concert, and he was quite psyched during "Fall Behind Me" to see Allison using the SG. "That's like my guitar!!".
No effects racks, no vocal effects, no wizardry. Just kick - ass rock and roll that climbed well past the obstacles they had to deal with. (On a side note, i do want to apologize for staying in my seat. I was trying to take in everything at once, so I'd remember it better. I know how much it can suck for a band when the audience seems to not be getting into it, and that was definitely not the case. But I really wanted to write as much of the show to long-term memory as possible, and get some decent shots with my rather crappy camphone.) We brought a friend of my housemate's who afterwards was most effusive in her praise, and announced that she was now a Donnas fan. poorheather, who, as we all know, is one of those oft-terribly intimidating musical prodigies, (Perfect pitch, plays everything, able to tell you what settings on the soundboard were wrong, and can adjust her singing pitch to match an improperly tuned instrument, and has said she sucks because it took her more than a single night to teach herself the basics of "Voodoo Child") was really impressed by everything, and normally, it takes Prince or Queen to impress her.
(On a side note, Hoobastank was just utterly unimpressive, and should have been opening for The Donnas. First, if you're using a shitpot of vocal effects, you're not punk. Period. Cut off that stupid mohawk. Secondly, when you're moving the mic back and forth so that it's going from halfway down your throat to a foot away from your face, and nothing changes in the sound of your voice at all? That makes it real obvious that you're at best, using backing tracks, and at worst, lip-synching like some Ashlee Simpson clone. The wrong band was headlining. Yes, yes, I'm sure I'll get all kinds of hate mail from 'Stankheads. Won't matter, and I don't care. The Donnas kicked ass, and was schooling them on what a live performance should be. 'Stank is just another wannabe band picking on the bones of movements they'll never understand)
The movie links are below. I really recommend turning the sound down, the mic on my phone SUCKS. Also, as the night wore on, the lighting gets worse, although it's a rather bizarre effect by the end of it.
And a few pics:
Yellow Shirt Guy!
Barely Visible Band!
Holy Crap, they're GLOWING!!!
I'm really hoping the next time they're in MO, they go to Kemper or someplace that doesn't suck so bad.