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a crowd of me versus a crowd of millions (it's called hyperbole, people).

in the past two weeks or so, i've had the opportunity to see two shows at first avenue here in minneapolis - one in the mainroom (the big room), one in the entry (the tiny room). it's the venue i and the majority of indie rockers frequent the most and oddly enough, it's also the venue that's most prone to concerts that both sell out and have NO ONE attend them. as a reward for reading through my analysis on the beloved yet problematic concert venue, i'm including free music. please download and enjoy by clicking/right-clicking.

in the mainroom: explosions in the sky w/ eluvium

the band that got me interested in epic instrumental post-rock in the first place alongside the artist that got me interested in ambient music in the first place together? sounds flawless. especially since last time i saw both, they blew me away. fading is inevitable. i blame people. on the one hand, i feel warm and fuzzy that a band with no vocals has somehow managed to play on conan o-brien, break the billboard top 100, and now sell out a prominent and large-capacity venue in minneapolis, especially because i do this. on the other hand, the mainroom's addition of flatscreen tvs hanging from the balcony kinda makes me wanna throw up. speaking of throwing up, drunk people that don't comprehend that the band often descends into quiet guitar patterns after brutal rock-attacks and doesn't necessitate an ear-piercing "woo!"every time this happens make my concert-going experience almost pointless. luckily, eluvium totally messed with the audience's heads and just droned on and on with the subtlest of all video accompaniments he could possible choose (birds swirling in a circle! genius! oh my god and then they're flying into a smokestack! 30 minutes of this!). it was funny watching people get bored as i got lost in it. though watching stoner kids headbang to explosions and 40-something intellectual-types concentrating on the bird images made me appreciate the power of outsider music getting popular, even if it is indeed a double-edge sword.

--> explosions in the sky - "the birth and death of the day"
--> eluvium - "prelude for time feelers"

in the entry: the twilight sad w/ a northern chorus

to a band, you might think that there's just nothing good about a show that has no people at it. you wouldn't think that if you saw either of these bands perform to me, jerksica, amy, possibly four other fans, their roadies, and the crappy local band that opened for them (this listing does not include the 50-year-old fargo hunters that wandered in and more-than-creepily hit on my girls). funnily enough, these bands aren't too far from the aforementioned explosions in the sky, except they DO have vocals. so if you fall asleep to music without words regardless of face-splattering crescendos, here you get the face splatter and words (by people that can actually sing!). the twilight sad are a scottish band that crossed the pond to play to the crowd of seven and their alternating stoic-cum-broken theatrics sculpted a breathtaking performance of awe and wonder by every member in the band. a northern chorus trucked down from montreal, making it just in time to play before midnight to the quickly-emptying nook on 7th street. orchestral as all get out, they crammed the usual suspects (guitar, bass, drums) onto a 20-square-foot area along with a cello, violin, slide guitar, and the most impressive smörgåsbord of pedals and samplers i've seen recently. the six-piece played and sang (often together or in a round) like majestic otherworldy beings creating the densest air of sound they could possibly muster in the vacant space. neither band let their guard down EVER and gave it their all despite the few reasons to give it their all that existed at the entry that night. this is a show i will never forget, if only because of the intimate nature of it all.

--> the twilight sad - "cold days from the birdhouse"
--> a northern chorus - "the millions too many"

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