Random thoughts and observations from an evening featuring excellent Thai food and My Bloody Valentine.
* First, the menu at Basil Thai is good from top to bottom. How do I know? Well, our group of 10 ended up eating most of the menu. Lesson #1 - when leaving the ordering for the table to the one person at the table who is a professional chef, don't be surprised when you have more dishes than people. Given that we had one vegan, a few vegetarians and a non-meat eater who would eat fish or chicken, and well...we needed lots of dishes. I'm pretty sure we had just about everything on the appetizer menu. I know that the spring rolls, curry puffs and potstickers are quite good. Among main courses, a tip of the hat to the wok-fried scallops, the crispy catfish (with quite a spicy kick), the eggplant curry....damn, all of it was good.
* My Bloody Valentine are yet another band who I didn't see when they were first around. Given they've had a layoff of more than a decade, I'm sure nobody going to the show knew what to expect. Well, they might have if they read some of the reviews. In any event, what we got was a sensory overload of noise and lights. The band were sharp and powerful (especially the rhythm section) but they were loud. Real loud.
* What's sad is that MBV's records feature pretty melodies and layered sonic textures, yet when they play live at bludgeoningly loud levels, they obliterate the interesting subtleties in their music. The only plus to that is you don't just hear the music, you feel it. The bass rattles your midsection, the guitars seems to wash all over you. Combined with the sensory overload of the lights, you can almost leave your body...almost like the waves of noise and light might carry you above the crowd and let you float there. For the first time in a while at a show I zoned out and forgot about everything else...the people I was there with, the crowd of strangers around me, and was just...there. As a friend said in an email, "I felt I was on drugs without taking any - how cool is that!"
* The 20+ minute wall of feedback and noise at the end of "You Made Me Realise" sounded at its apex like a jet plane landing. It also went on about 10 minutes too long.
* The Councourse at the Design Center is a truly awful sonic experience. Really (see the yelp reviews). No band worth a damn should ever allow itself to be booked there again.
* Too funny...their old label head thinks that MBVs loudness is a one-trick pony, a crutch.
* Other things I remember...red, sparkly telecaster, stacks and stacks of Marshall amps, feedback, backlighting, fans in big silvery boots, long lines to go for the bathroom, for people who were going for a smoke, the ticket-takers handing out earplugs.