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Concert Brings Rock to Life

By Minyoung Jang

staff writer

Spring Weekend Concert

Live with Slick Rick

Johnson Athletic Center

April 24, 7:30 p.m.

They’re not innovators of popular music, but there’s no denying that Live manages to capture that quintessential rock band sound, and that they capture it extremely well. Luckily for MIT, they conveyed that sound just as well in concert.

Initially, I thought that the lead singer was taking the whole “We’re a rock band” act a bit far. There’s something about seeing someone swiveling their hips and grabbing their crotch on a makeshift stage in Johnson that makes me cringe rather than cheer. Perhaps I was feeling a bit jaded after sitting around for over two hours feeling totally bored. Last time I checked, “pre-opener” usually doesn’t mean “lots of background music.” Opener Slick Rick’s performance wasn’t enthralling, either, although I may be biased since I rarely listen to hip-hop. He gave a decent performance, interacting with the crowd and making humorous contrasts between “old school” and “new school” hip hop, but it was clear that many people didn’t know or care much about hip hop. By the time Live came on, I was almost comatose. Their excessive efforts to be cool rock stars were just irksome. Thankfully, the dance act was eventually dropped and the music was good enough to revive me.

The setlist was a mix of old and new, singles and lesser-known songs. They opened with some songs that I didn’t recognize, but soon launched into “All Over You.” By this time a significant portion of the bleacher contingent had moved to the floor, which wasn’t packed, but was respectably filled. The crowd was definitely enjoying the show, adding to the excellent atmosphere. There was a lot of singing along to “The Dolphin’s Cry” and “Heaven.” Other songs such as “Shit Towne” and “I Alone” were accompanied by happy jumping, hands in the air, and some mild and occasional headbanging in the crowd. Regardless of whether people knew the songs or not, both the band and the crowd got into the music, allowing one to energize the other and vice versa.

The encore brought a solo performance of “Overcome” on acoustic guitar, a song introduced as one being very dear to the singer. This was followed by “Selling the Drama,” and Live closed out the night with the ever-so-popular “Lightning Crashes” for the thrilled audience. The only unfortunate aspect of the their performance was that the more thoughtful lyrics were probably lost on the pumped up crowd, but other than that, the setlist was well selected.

The vocals, drumming, guitar, and bass work were technically strong and, in the context of a concert, sounded flawless to me. Equally appreciated was the work by all the sound engineers; the volume level was high, the way all rock concerts are supposed to be, but the vocals were clear and there was no one instrument obnoxiously drowning out another.

The entire night basically felt like an entertaining arena rock concert, but more intimate because of the small scale. I could actually see the band in front of me, instead of being forced to choose between little moving figures on stage or larger-than-life faces projected on a screen.

Walking out with ringing noises in my right ear, a sore throat, and a desire to write “rawk” or “rok!” instead of “rock” for this review confirmed that I had seen an excellent concert.