Gotta separate the band from the crowd. Because the crowd was everything you would expect. A split between skinny jeaned bearded hipsters and KU-clad Johnson County kids who don’t understand the subtle tongue-in-cheek jabs that the band takes at their priveleged plight. The venue was under-utilized, as half of the seating was screened off and not used. Strange, considering the 5-6 times I was approached by people trying to buy tickets, implicating a sell-out. To add to the frustration, there were hordes of ass-holes saving clusters of 4-5 unoccupied seats before the show started as if they belonged to them by divine right. Fucking GA shows. I hate the concept of rewarding the “early bird.”
Anyways, the show was about as good as expected. The band played a little under an hour and a half, and included the entirity of their two studio albums, less 1.75 songs. This is due to the fact that they started playing “Giving Up the Gun,” and abruptly cut the song short with no explanation. Additionally, they played a live-favorite cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m Going Down.” Nothing stood out as superior, but they were all studio-equivelent performances. Here’s the set-list if interested in track order:
I hesitate to complain about the band’s interaction with the crowd, because I think it is petty and unnecessary at this point to expect a band to throw out the live cliche’s (“How are you feeling, Kansas City?”, “Thanks for being a wonderful audience!”, “Throw your hands up!”, etc.) However, if you play the first verse of a song and just stop and move on to the next song, I think an explanation is in order. Like, “Whoops, sorry. Tommy fucked up the drum part.” or “I changed my mind and don’t want to play this song tonight because it reminds me of something shitty.”
Oh well. It was a copacetic show. I’m glad I went, as I have let VW grow on me considerably in the last two years. I think Contra is a progression from their first ST album, which always makes me hopeful with a young band. I am “invested” in their future, I will continue to check out their new stuff until I have a reason not to (Junior slump, maybe?) I don’t, however, think that I will bother to see them the next time they come through unless they go from “Graceland” to “Sgt. Pepper” style, or something else cataclismic. I can just throw the record on and hear it in the comfort of wherever.