As I am back in Europe for a bit, I took the opportunity to go see one of my favourite bands in concert, Blues Pills. We got to the venue right around the time that the opening act took the stage. The wise dude’s revolver turned out to be nicely psychedelic and spacey! Their songs were fairly long and completely twisting your mind, think along the lines of early Pink Floyd but on speed. The light show was quite atmospheric and the sound was alright, but nothing more due to the fact that the venue is one of those modern day concrete boxes that have neither sound nor soul, but probably look nice on paper and cost a fortune to build, add to that that the room was barely one third filled and it’s a prime recipe for hall and echoing sounds as there are not enough bodies to absorb the sound waves, and keep them from bouncing around. Blues Pills took the stage at 10pm, and launched into High Class Woman, full of energy as they were every time I have seen them, which should now be around 5 or 6 times. Despite being such a young band they are a powerhouse! From the Vocals of Elin, who takes control of the stage and swirls around it like a Tasmanian devil, all the while keeping an eye on their fans and interacting with them quite a lot, down to Dorian’s guitar sound and solos that become more and more mind-blowing, to Zack’s great bass, and André’s phenomenal drumming! Blues Pills are just a force to be reckoned with, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a small tightly packed venue, a day time performance at a festival, or a large venue that is half empty, they just play for their lives, and you can see the joy in their performance all the time! The setlist turned out to be fairly similar to what they have been playing over the last year, which is normal considering that they have only released their debut album. I for one am looking forward to the next album, and hopefully a bit longer shows, and more mixed up setlists, as soon as they have more of a back catalogue to draw from. In the meantime maybe they could throw in a different cover song every now and then, but Elements and things sure is a hell of a powerful tune. They played for about 1 hour, and then came back for a 2 song encore, the first of which was a new, acoustic tune, with only Dorian’s guitar and Elin’s voice, and boy does her voice sound great on this one, from quiet moments to almost screaming her lungs out it holds it all, and she owns it all! They finished the set with Devil Man.
As previously mentioned the venue was a concrete box, and that did have a negative influence on the sound, not sure if the sound guy they have now usually gets a better job done, but in this instance he did not do very well, as the sound was full of hall and echo, and sounded very unclear and mushy. Not sure if they have their own guy for the light show, but whoever took care of that on Tuesday should be fired immediately, as they failed to create any atmosphere whatsoever, in the crowd the room was so brightly lit, that you could have painted a detailed image of whatever you saw in front of you, while the stage was fuzzily lit. The entire room was covered in smoke, which I do not mind at all, but if you have such powerful smoke machines, make use of them by using light patterns other than only white for the most time, and use the smoke to add to the atmosphere, not draw from it. From the front of the house they used only white lights, which were not set up to only shine down to the stage, but as mentioned brightly lit the entire room, so there was no real mood that developed. On stage there was a bit of colour play, but it was mostly negated by the many white lights that shone there as well. They have such a gnarly backdrop, that the light guy could have played with a lot, in terms of colour changes, and even maybe using some black-lights, but all this faded in the white. The crowd was fairly small, but a few people still danced around and banged their heads to the tunes.
So overall a solid show, Blues Pills kicked ass, and unleashed all their power on stage, but the sound and light show took away a bit from their magic, which is unfortunate, but can be dealt with for sure. I hope they’ll eventually get a light guy that does know how to create a mood, and a sound guy that knows how they sounded on their EP’s which live is still the sound they seem to be going for, looking at how and what versions of the songs they play! In any case I had a good time, and will be back to see and hear more of the Blues Pills, as they are a fantastic young band! The people around them hopefully will improve over time as well, and I’ll make sure to go to a smaller venue next time I see them, it just is a better vibe to have a small packed venue, than the same number of people being lost in a larger venue.
After the show Elin and Dorian were standing out in the forum of the venue for some meeting and greeting, and pictures etc. both handled it quite well and professionally and took a long time to talk to fans and people they might know from other shows. I think in the beginning it was a bit of a fan club type of thing, as when Elin walked out she was holding the door open for some people, and when Eric and I strolled out through that same door she looked a bit shocked, and unlike the people in front of us did not give a handshake, just a quick thank you to which I responded thank you for the music, and walked on. We observed the rest of the signing etc. sitting close by at a table talking about the concert, and how powerful a band they are. All in all a fun night! If you have not yet seen Blues Pills live, I’d recommend to go see them! I sure will again, no later than when next year when I’m back from my travels.