Delorean, Lemonade, Florene
November 5, 2010
Better than: blowing the fuse at your own home, maybe.
Fun Back to the Future references aside, the sound coming from the stage at Hailey's Club blew out four different times on Friday night, unable to handle the massive wall-of-atmospheric sounds offered up by label- and tourmates Delorean and Lemonade.
It was fairly embarrassing stuff, actually. And, without fail, each error seemed to come just as the bands were hitting their strides.
This was just one of the cards stacked up against this show, though. As for the others? Well, for starters, it was a busy Friday night -- the busiest we've seen in some time, in fact -- and, with no less than three other massive shows taking place in Dallas, and a handful other, smaller drawing shows taking place around Denton, too. As such, it was a small turnout at Hailey's on Friday night, with no more than 100 attendees cozying up into the club's intimate confines.
The sound issues, though, were the biggest concern -- and they reared their ugly heads fairly early on during this show, which, from the onset, appeared as if it was destined to be a grower.
The crowd, clearly, had shown for Spain's Delorean. But Brooklyn's Lemonade, Delorean's True Panther Sounds labelmates, was up first, and, though the crowd seemed rather unfamiliar with the band's similar-to-the-headliners' atmospheric dance-rock output, it was also willing to sample Lemonade's efforts and give their sound a shot. Just a few songs in, though, the sound blew. No need to blame Hailey's necessarily -- with a touring sound engineer in tow, this was a concern of the bands' -- and the problem seemed to come more from the stage plug-in set-up than from anything coming from the sound booth.
But the fact remains: Just as Lemonade was hitting its stride, its sound gave way.
Annoyed, the band's drummer stalked off the stage and into the audience, if only to pace for a moment or two. Soon enough, he returned to the stage and the band gave its performance another go. But already, the evening's ominous stage had been set. Just a few minutes later, the band's sound blew once more.
It was underwhelming at best. And the audience's concern for the same issues taking place during the headliners' set was palpable at this point. And understandably so.
When Delorean finally took the stage not long after midnight, its immediate offering proved promising. The four-piece started its set with a contagious fervor: drummer Igor Escudeo impressed with his rapid-fire display (and his aim, too, as he struck tiny sample patches on an electronic drum patch embedded in his kit with ease); guitarist Guillermo Astrain seemed consumed in his own world of guitar play and sampling; singer Ekhi Lopetegi proved ripe for the spotlight; and keyboardist Unai Lazcano oozed with energy, pogoing relentlessly and quite literally teetering his Nord with a substantial agility.
With just one song completed, though, the same sound issues facing Lemonade -- blown power strips, said Hailey's sound engineer Justin Collins -- started persisting through Delorean's set, too. As the band was gaining steam with one of the more euphoric jaunts on its phenomenal 2010 release, Subiza, "Stay Close," the sound blew once more, leaving the Spaniards at a loss, throwing their hands up in dismay. Seeing that the same issues had hampered Lemonade's set, the between-performance set-up for Delorean was an extended one, aimed at preventing this issue. But it was to no avail, apparently. Instead, here the band was, looking very much like a group of deer caught in headlights.
A few moments of onstage tinkering later, and the issue appeared resolved -- until, in the very next song, the equally euphoric "Simple Graces," the same issue came through.
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To their credit, the band once more paused to fix the issue, and again apologized to the crowd, promising to keep trying. Once more, they launched into their set after some tinkering, this time with a more forced onstage energy, as if the band knew they had to make up for the sound concerns. And they did sort of have to: Two of the band's best songs had been ruined by these issues. Their efforts were appreciated -- the young Denton crowd in place danced by the front of the stage as if they were jazzercising -- and he band impressed with its Spanish Riviera-ready summer jams. And, in their defense, the sound, when not blowing out, was phenomenal; it was big, layered and lush. It sounded great, really -- even the airhorns that Lazcano added in to the mix from time to time to give the show a near-Caribbean dancehall feel -- but the damage had been done. It's just tough for a show to gain traction when it needs to stop four separate times for technical difficulties.
Personal Bias: Delorean's Subiza is a surefire candidate to make my year-end best albums of 2010 list, and, hey, when they pushed through the sound issues, they sounded great. But four stoppages? That's near impossible to get past. To their credit, Delorean did what they could to keep the show an enjoyable one. And it was enjoyable. But, surely, not as enjoyable as it would've been without those stops.
By The Way: The blame here, really, must go on the touring sound engineer. Denton's Florene opened the night, sounding just as loud and large as either Lemonade or Delorean, and never once has any sound problems. And their new, more '80s-aping material sounded great.
Random Note: It's still weird to me to go to Denton and see people smoking inside.