I am SO TIRED today, because yesterday was an incredibly intense day.
First, I had a meeting with my new manager at work to clarify responsibilities and so forth. There have been a lot of moves in the last few months, through a couple of rounds of layoffs; after the last layoff, the NSSG Operations Team was comprised of only me. I'm now firmly in IT, sort of straddling Network and Server, and we clarified how that straddling will work out. There are still details to be cleared up, but it's improved my outlook on things a lot.
There were two bands opening for them. We were supposed to get The Unicorns out of Montreal, but there was apparently a last-minute change and we ended up with The Premiums, a musically uninteresting punk-pop quartet from parts unknown. nyxie and I kept ourselves amused during their set by laughing at their outfits (black on black with wide ties, which were only distracting given the bland music -- I'm sure I would have found them better in t-shirts and jeans) and that the lead singer seemed to have learned stage presence from watching old footage of Mick Jagger. The crowd hardly reacted all, and I'm pretty sure they cut their set short at only 20 minutes.
During the 40 minutes left for the second opener to set up, we mostly occupied ourselves by laughing at the scene kids on the floor. I felt old. There was one guy who puzzled us both, though -- he was probably about 20, tallish with a sharp triangular face shape, and long feathery blond hair. He looked like a young John Tesh who let his hair grow. It was the strangest thing -- the whole night he was running his hands through his hair, and when everyone else was bouncing around to the music he was doing all he could to swing his hair back and forth, and so on. Incredibly odd.
The opening bit was saved by the second opener, NYC's The French Kicks. I'd never heard nor heard of these guys before and I've been missing out. These four took turns at the various stations around a stage covered in synths, blending power-pop edge and mod textures to to end up sounding like a cross between Interpol and Sigur Rós. The energy level and mix of retro and current was the perfect opener for the headliners.
Hot Hot Heat were fantastic. The show was a little more choreographed than I like, but it didn't matter -- I can't help but bounce back and forth listening to these guys on CD, and they were just plain infectious live. I hadn't realized that singer Steve Bays was also the keyboardist. They played pretty much everything I can remember from Make Up The Breakdown and closed off with "Bandages" and a little from their earlier EPs. The only tune I wanted to hear but they didn't play was "Cairo". These guys were one of the bands I've really wanted to see for a while now, and I was surprised that they came here, although it turns out they've played here a couple times in the past and I was unaware.
The venue was great too -- this was the first show I've seen in the new Capital Music Hall. It was all-ages/19+, and they split the lineup outside to let 19+ folks in through an upstairs entrance that led right into the balcony, and then the kids stayed downstairs, which works out fine. I'm not much for being in the middle of the crowd at an all-ages show, really, and I felt old even upstairs. Nyxie and I had ended up at the very front of the upstairs line, though, and got the best seats in the house -- a pair of stools on the front row of the balcony, as close to center as you could get without sitting in the light booth.
The only problem with the hall, seats and band is that it was incredibly loud -- they'd hung two sets of top fills on either side of the stage, so there was nothing at all between us and the fills. My ears were ringing until about noon today, and that's the first time I've ever come home from a concert and not had the threshold shift go away overnight. I'm going to grab myself a set of Etymotic ER-20s for future shows, I think -- I had a bit of a hearing scare a while ago and I'm far less willing to take risks with my ears.
I think I'm going to go and fall over into bed now.