Words & pics by Cesilia Oriana Trecaquista
It’s Bank Holiday Sunday and I’m venturing out to watch Ladyhawke at The Glee Club; one of my most favoured bands and Birmingham gig venues.
Having just found £20 in my pocket, that I didn’t know I had, I splash out on a taxi – mercifully reducing the after effects of my painful-yet-beautiful pair of dancing shoes. In good spirits I head off into town, what could go wrong?
Arriving at The Glee Club I find a packed out audience, but a bar that could have won the title for World’s Slowest Service. The anticipation in the air was evident, everyone waiting for Phillipa Brown and her counterparts to dazzle us with catchy synth driven melodies – some I personally consider to be modern day classics.
However, as soon as the first few indecipherable words were sung it became evident there were serious sound (or lack thereof) issues. For a group whose biggest selling point are well written/sung lyrics, I was confused as to how this was this was happening. And The Glee usually does better than this.
I wander around the room, in a futile effort to try and improve said sonic quality (or again, lack thereof). After doing this for sometime, and adding to the general annoyance by stepping on several people’s toes, I gave up; deciding to make the most of it and try to get into the performance.
But the sound wasn’t the only problem; ‘Dusk ‘til Dawn’ and ‘Black, White & Blue’ were lacklustre at best – the former their third ever single, the latter their last.
Well rehearsed, polished and played with great likeness to the recorded version, but with little to no interaction with the audience between songs. I began to feel, in the pitch black depths of the static crowd, like an uninvited guest to a private band rehearsal.
There was some enthusiasm as ‘Better Than Sunday’ was played, briefly reminding me why Ladyhawke’s been so overplayed in my music collection, but I grew increasingly impatient watching guitarists essentially mime into their mics; with Brown’s lead vocals lost in a sea of bass and synth.
(Some investigative eavesdropping discovered Ladyhawke’s sound engineer – the band had insisted on using their own, didn’t sound check the vocals. Apparently Brown hadn’t turned up after the band’s “late one” the previous night)
‘Delirium’, the signature track from their first album, was the last song to be played. There was no encore. And sadly, if not understandably, there was no audience demand for one.
I cut my losses and left feeling a little cheated. The quality (…lack thereof) of sound was so dire, I may as well of being listening to my next door neighbour playing ‘Paris is Burning’ through the walls.
Although at home the sound would’ve been louder, clearer and I wouldn’t have had to change out of my PJ’s.
Plus I’d still be £20 richer; and my painful-yet-beautiful dancing shoes could have been saved for a more deserving occasion.
For more on Ladyhawke, visit http://www.ladyhawkemusic.com/
For further gigs at The Glee Club, visit http://www.glee.co.uk/birmingham-music