Sunday, May 20, 2007

Ghostland Observatory @ The House of Blues

To be completely honest, I was a little hesitant to writing a post for this show because I didn't have photos for it and I was just going for fun, but since it was at a brand new venue, I figured I would review both things while I was at it (the show and the venue). The House of Blues in Dallas opened just this past week or so in the wake of the death of a landmark Deep Ellum venue, The Gypsy Tea Room. I was pretty confused as you could tell if you read a past post of mine concerning the issue, and I believe that I went so far as to wishing that bands would just play the Granada or other smaller Dallas venuesDenton's amazing places, and not the HOB. After last night, I can say that I still stand by that, although I think I'm not too objective on the matter. For one thing, a tourist attraction with a venue where potentially good bands could play , but I can't hold that against the venue. The band has a weird following, from frat guys and the cheerleader types, to indie kids and ravers (I do my best to judge!). Throughout the night, we were pummeled with bad dancing, inappropriate comments, and just all around annoying people. doesn't sit well with me. There were two shows going on Saturday night and the people from the other show were all middle aged and when asking who was playing for the line that we were in, produced sour faces. One thing that I will gripe about is Ghostland's own crowd Apparently there isn't much of a drink limit to speak of. They even had a waitress come to the front (thanks to the barrier in front of the stage) and ask if anyone wanted anymore drinks. By the end of the night, the people next to us had produced a large pile of beer cans and clear plastic cups.

Now for the music! The opener, DJ Dr. Jack, was probably, no, THE most annoying opener for any band that I have ever seen. The bill did not say "DJ" before his name, so I didn't know what to expect, but I'm not sure if a proper bracing ahead of time would hav
e helped. Jack "played" for a solid, excruciatingly long and drawn out 2 hours. Those could be piled in with the robbery and witness to a terrible car accident as two of the worst in my life. The drunk people in the crowd (yes, already drunk at this point) ate him up for about the first hour, and turned down the notch on the grinding in the middle of his set. We weren't sure if he had an hour and a half, an hour and forty five, or two hours to play, so every time he slowed down, we all got excited and I even held my hands up with my fingers crossed, until the music eventually picked back up again and everyone around me let out a sigh of disgust as he kept playing his "club thumpers". I've seen some bad openers, but none like this.

This being my third time seeing Ghostland since seeing them first at SXSW, I knew what to expect. One thing I learned is that the band definitely has a following in Texas. They aren't playing another show in Austin until July, so it was reasonable to see a few familiar faces, even the kids who wear the head-dresses, at the show. When the band gets more exposure, I'm sure there will be those people in just about every major city they tour in. At this point in their live show, I think it will be safe to say they they know what they are going to play. I couldn't see any set list, and they didn't appear to even acknowledge one another in between songs as far as what the next song might be, they both just knew. The first half of their act was all songs from the two previous albums. Everyone who knew the words were singing, and even if you didn't you were dancing. The second half of the act, after much confusion due to the curtain being pulled, was comprised of all new songs, except the last. We haven't gotten any word, but I guess this means that a new album is in the works. I do believe they played some of the songs at the SXSW shows and they appear to be hits. They capped the night off with a two song encore after a large portion of the original crowd had left. On the second, a few members of the crowd decided to join the band on stage. This was a shock to me, because I was just waiting for huge security goons to come out of the shadows and drag the kids off stage, but it took them forever to respond and by the time they did, a on of kids were already dancing on stage. I really wanted to jump up there, but as I was contemplating, the goons came out and escorted the remaining rogue dancers off the stage.

All in all, the show was fun, but I wouldn't recommend the HOB unless you must (for example, Parliament). The first half was torture, but the second made up for it.

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