What NOT To See: Neverending White Lights
I eat my words. It's very rare that I ever do that, so revel in this anomaly. I know I recommended them as a collection of creative geniuses, but it turns out Neverending White Lights at the Rivoli last night was nothing more than a neverending series of unfortunate events.
Ok, so "Larry" the sound guy had no concept of providing the band with proper monitor setup. But come to think of it, I don't remember any elaborate pre-show "Check, Check, 1, 2" business either. Daniel seemed clearly ticked off about being unable to hear himself up there, which resulted in the most off-key performance I have ever heard. Imagine the worst, highest note you've ever heard from Filter or Our Lady Peace, magnify it by 100 and that was the average wailing you would've heard blasting over bland guitars and clapping.
Wait, you're wondering, did she just say clapping? YES. On several occasions the band stopped all instrumentation and just sang and clapped, sang and clapped. It's the kind of cheesy interlude that makes you want to punch a baby. Honestly, who does that? There was a small cluster of totally wasted genos that clapped and shouted along to "The Grace" but for most of the show, the drunken belligerant spectators were heard murmuring, "This is the worst band ever" and throwing trash onstage. The drummer narrowly missed getting hit with a piece of trash but he took it like a champ and pounded a little harder. In fact, their drummer's headbanging beats were what made the songs somewhat rockin. He was undoubtedly the glue that held the chaotic ambience together.
The charmless guitar players and keyboardist could be seen looking wandering around the stage to look at the setlist between songs and whispering, "What song's next?" Despite just finishing a tour with Our Lady Peace, you would have thought they'd never played a live show before. Most people came to the show hoping to catch a glimpse of Dallas Green (Alexisonfire), Chris Gray (The Black Maria) Raine (Our Lady Peace) or another celebrity featured on the album. However, the only one who showed up was Marco from Supergarage. Daniel built up "Liar" as if Rain was hiding at the Rivoli somewhere. "Where's Rain? I saw him earlier. I'm going to wait for him," Daniel said mid-song. If Rain was there, he was hiding alright, wanting nothing more to do with this pathetic excuse of a show. If he wasn't there, that was a shameful form of fan abuse.
The worst moment of the show was probably when they busted into an impromptu TECHNO version of "The Grace". No one was dancing. This cheesy version was a bastardization of an amazing song that is carried solely by Dallas Green's vocal talent. I wish it weren't this way. I wish I could believe this was just a result of piss poor monitors, sound technicians and an off day. "I hope you guys receive what we're feeling," Daniel mentioned at one point. Was he feeling disgusted too? While the emotion behind the music, the creative collaboration and the local Toronto angle appeal to me, I was disappointed to learn Neverending White Lights is nothing more than a studio effects band.
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