Search This Blog

Friday, 16 November 2012

Alabama Shakes/Dylan LeBlanc - Barrowlands - 13/11/12 (Glasgow)

In May Alabama Shakes provided me with one of the best gigs that I have ever attended.
A show that pretty much set the benchmark for live shows in 2012.
Now here we are as the year eases ever closer to ending and the band are back in Glasgow, only this time they have nothing to prove.
Between then and now they have taken over the world, and virtually everyone has fallen in love with them.
Anyone who has been following their ascendency is well aware that they have been leaving a trail of ecstatic reviews in their wake as they have move from one country to the next, and the chances of a stumble now will not be on the cards.

However prior to them taking to the stage of the legendary Barrowlands Ballroom we were to be entertained by Dylan LeBlanc, a singer songwriter who similar to Alabama Shakes, The Secret Sisters and a whole fistful of other talented musicians, comes to us from Muscle Shoals, Alabama.
Sadly his performance fell far short of emulating the successes of those who have preceded him to these shores.
Dogged by a shockingly poor sound he was lost to the majority of the audience.
The reverb on his vocals made it virtually impossible to make out a single word that he enunciated, and it looked like Melvin Duffy couldn't hear anything from the monitors and was trying to play along by watching what Dylan was doing.
Even Ben Tanners (Alabama Shakes) guesting on keyboards was pretty much a redundant exercise as virtually nothing could be heard of him.
I don't recall the last time I have seen a support battle on through such a horrible sound.
Hints of just how good Dylan LeBlanc actually is were on show during his heartfelt rendition of the Rev Al Green's 'Let's stay together', but I suspect for many it was too little too late.
I happily went and bought his latest CD, but I will have to wait until he returns to hopefully see him perform a set that will show him in the best possible light.
I could say that it was hugely disappointing, but my disappointment wasn't rooted in the performance, but rather the issues that surrounded it.
I sincerely hope that others in the audience were picking up on that instead of writing Dylan off.
A great shame really.

The sound issues failed to make the leap from the end of Dylan's performance to the beginning of Alabama Shakes though.
Once Brittany and her boys came on it was all systems go.
Or was it?
For me the rawness of the show earlier in the year was gone, and was replaced with a slicker, and probably more assured performance.
It's as if the band have become more comfortable with the world they exist in after initially being thrown in at the deep end, and that comfort has served to eat away slightly at the passion.
Then when you add on the repetitious nature of being on the road for so long the result seems to be that all the gloriously organic and explosive delivery of the songs has been tamed to an extent.
Not a lot, but just enough for the show to feel quite different from what I had expected.
Brittany still sounds stunning of course, and the band are exceptionally tight, but even the new songs - which bode well for the next album - sound pretty polished.
Maybe too polished.
It's strange to say, but while I really enjoyed myself at the time all I have done is pick at it in the cold light of day.
I'm not sure if it is the familiarity with the material that has had a bit of an impact on my enjoyment, or that having experienced the King Tuts show this outing suffered in comparison, but it would be fair to say that the buzz I felt earlier in the year that lasted for days was already fading as I was leaving the venue.
Then again it is possible that it was the size of the venue that took some of the enjoyment away, and what the band deal in is best allowed to push at the walls of smaller clubs.
If that is the case then there's not a lot that the band can do about it.
Possibly I'm just feeling that they are victims of their own success.
A great gig in reality, but one that had just too much to live up to.

No comments:

Post a Comment