Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Werewolf Masquerade

A week ago me and my brother had a conversation about live gigs. He had seen an electro band Imatran Voima and was impressed by a combination of powerful music and good show. Since I used to visit rock gigs, he asked if that was usual in live performances.

I answered no, and listed the self-ironic bands ? the only ones that had made any impression on me.

Yesterday, I went to a gig by Moonspell, and it changed my views.

(By the way, it has nothing to do with my brother possibly listening to Moonspell in the past. I don't have any memories of being present when my brother put the cassette mentioned in the previous post to a cassette player. In high school, there was a metal fan named Leo who had Moonspell's songs Opium and Mr. Crowley in his hard disk, where I copied them via network share. Later, when I first connected to P2P network I copied more of Moonspell.)

In an earlier post, I?ve listed the reasons that I stopped going to rock gigs and preferred electronic music events: (1) that DJ music is better, since it is done by world-class composers and players, (2) that in your typical live gig the guitars, drums and vocals mix up into an incomprehensible mess, while record music tends to be well mixed, (3) the sound samples of the electronic music are optimized to stay clean and separate even in bad acoustic conditions, while electric guitar is not, and (4) the rave culture involves dancing, which is active participation; after getting used to it, it bores you to tears to just drink beer and watch bands come and go.

Well, in Moonspell?s gig it was all fixed! Moonspell?s musicians are some of the best metal composers and players. The sound was clear and instruments and vocals could be distinguished from each others without effort. And since they were popular, a huge mass of people gathered in front, making the participation more active than just sitting and drinking beer. Regarding the music, I had listened to some of the songs beforehand tens of times. That definitely helps immersion but that is a bit beyond point, since maybe 2/3 of them were still unknown to me.

And to top it all, the singer could really interact with the audience. Especially his hand gestures were really controlled, oscillating between sudden, violent movements that perfectly matched the rhythm on the one hand, and conscious, steady, fully-in-control movements that gave the audience guidance on when to raise hands. The hand dynamics are clearly visible in this video.

Earlier, I?ve noticed that the best of metal and the best of electronic music are equally good on record. Now I know that in the top end, also the live performances are equally good. However, this won?t make me a rock fan, since acts of this class are very rare and the quality of local, Tampere class bands is waaaayyyyy higher in electronic music.

A combination of heavy drunkenness on my part and dancing instincts trained on raves probably resulted in me looking distinctively like the drunken idiot I was, but that?s what people get drunk for. Immersion isn?t possible without a suitable level of drunkenness.

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