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Feeling Blue, Humming Venus

(Second attempt, as my browser crashed doing non-Live Journal related work)

Tonight, I went with What and to see The Blue Man Group at the Warfield. They have recently released a rock album called The Complex, and this is their “rock tour” to support that album. The album features guest appearances by such people as Dave Matthews and Tracy Bonham, tonight’s first opening act.

Tracy Bonham, the one-hit wonder responsible for Mother Mother, opened for Ben Folds Five at the University of Hartford on April 11, 2000. I know this because I was there. That night she was mediocre at best. Tonight, she improved. She was mediocre at worst. The crowd was not into her at all. Of course, most of the crowd was expecting to see a Blue Man Group show like those in Las Vegas, New York, Boston or Chicago. $100 for that, $30 for this. Take what you get!

The next opener was Venus Hum. Halfway through their first song, I went over to What and said “I’m in love.” The singer, Annette Slean, has the purest cleanest sweetest soaring voice I have heard in . . . well . . . a long time. She just beams on stage, dancing and smiling while singing her songs. And she’s cute, natch. The music being played by the two other members of the band is akin to Depeche Mode or Kraftwerk, synthesizer backing tracks that perfectly fit the vocals. The overall effect is entrancing. I may have missed some people getting their seats, as I was completely transfixed.

(I now break for a stupid crush moment. Drave and I both bought Venus Hum’s CD, and the singer was signing them after the show. So we cracked ours open and she signed them. And I said “She smiled at me . . . because she wanted to!” Ahhhh…..silly schoolboy crushes. I miss those.)

Finally, the Blue Man Group take the stage and just blew the roof off of the place. The three blue guys playing their homemade instruments of mass distruction. Gigantic drums, weird large intestine tubular things, electric whips, ad infinitum. Tonight they were backed by two guitarrists, a bass player, two keyboard players, and four drummers. Their music is an orgy of tribal percussion. They threw in some “songs” tonight, but all the entertainment is the brilliant rhythms, both audio and visual. Because these people don’t just play well, they also play with style.

The stage setup was absolutely incredible as well. I don’t think I ever seen as effective a lighting design as this. I hate to describe this, as I cannot possibly do it justice, but let me try. The icon for this show was a walking stick figure like the ones seen on a Walk signal when crossing the street. They had plentiful animations, including one which gave instructions on basic rock concert movements, like headbanging, fist pumping and jumping up and down. At one point in the show, some green walking guys were projected on the back screen playing instruments. But then there more of them stage center. Except they weren’t projected animations, they were people wearing special suits to make them LOOK like projected animations. The illusion was so incredible. I am stunned sitting here just thinking about it.

I am having a great week of music, and tomorrow it will continue with Trey Anastasio and his 9 piece funk ensemble, also at The Warfield. My music themed week will continue as well, with the All Time favorite musical artists to be posted tomorrow or Saturday.

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