One Thousand Pictures and Mew at Berbati’s Pan

MewTuesday night my friend and I caught the latest 94.7FM “I saw them when” show at Berbati’s Pan. It was a chance to see One Thousand Pictures again and also a chance to see Portland’s own To Live and Die in L.A.

To Live and Die in L.A. were part of the Rock Kills Kid show that was canceled last month so I was happy to have another chance to see them. I liked the second and last songs in their set. The rest sort of ran together for me because the songs all sounded the same. The tempo changes were a bit jarring and at times it felt like the drummer was having trouble keeping it all straight. Was that on purpose? If so, I didn’t get it. I was perhaps distracted by people-watching but even that to me is a sign that I wasn’t engaged by them. As far as the showmanship goes, I don’t think they were served well by the poor lighting. They were lit by a stationary disco ball, which means that the stage was in shadows except for the dots of white light covering everthing and everyone. I amused myself by pretending that the lead singer was actually the character Charlie from Lost. In the dim light and from a distance, he looked just like him!

One Thousand Pictures actually had real lighting, thank goodness. I enjoyed their set and appreciated how tight they were. They’ve clearly been playing together regularly for awhile because they seemed really slick compared to a lot of bands I’ve seen lately. It’s nice to watch musicians who can really play their instruments. I don’t think too many people had ever heard of them but they got the crowd moving a bit, which is saying something for a bunch of Portlanders. Usually, there are just a few drunk bridge & tunnel girls dancing around. Not that anyone else was really dancing, but they were moving, so that’s a good sign. The band was again gracious and “awesome.” Evan Robinson (lead vocals) used that word a lot when talking to the crowd. It was pretty funny. We were awesome, the crowd was awesome, the Thai food they ate for dinner was awesome, touring with Mew was awesome, and To Live and Die in L.A. were awesome. Apparently, life is awesome. I think he was maybe a little tired, but he was still sweet. He again hung out at the merchandise booth after the show to do the meet and greet. I didn’t stop to chat on my way out because by that point I was wanting to get home and into my bed.

You see, the problem with Berbati’s is that they never seem to start their shows on time. This one was scheduled to start at 9:30. Nothing happened until around 10:15. With set changes, Mew didn’t go on until after midnight. For those of us who can afford to go to shows because we have jobs that require the use of our brains during the day, this is a problem. I had listened to Mew online a bit and so wanted to check out their live show. The lead vocalist stayed in falsetto, heavily modified by reverb. I can only handle so much falsetto, especially when I’m tired, so two songs was enough and I was ready to head for home. I’d like to see them again sometime when I’m not exhausted but I’m not sure they’re going to make my favorites list. On the other hand, I feel like I need to give them another chance. When I bought the tickets, the gal at the box office thought I meant a show in November, so maybe they’re coming back. If they do, I’ll try to check them out. Hopefully, they’ll be at the Crystal Ballroom instead.


1 Comment »

  1. Steve Said:

    I was at the show and I agree completely — great review! I just couldn’t get into To Live and Die in L.A.’s set with the low lighting on stage and the repetetiveness of the songs. I’d definitely give them another shot. So much goes into making a show work: venue, crowd, energy of the band, etc. I’ve seen bands that I loved at one venue and really didn’t like at another.

    One Thousand Pictures were great — again. I saw them at the Doug Fir Lounge and really liked them there, too. Better than at this show, I think, but no complaints.

    I agree with your take on Mew. It was all so glossed-over and showy and I just felt no connection with the band. They had this massive light show blasting out of a projector onto the stage from behind the crowd. It actually looked very cool, but just kind of made the band seem like a show you were watching on DVD rather than seeing live. And the sound was so processed that that just added to that feeling. On top of the, the band just had this glazed-over look in their eyes. They were into it, but didn’t seem to be connecting with the crowd.

    The thing that really inspired me to post, though, was your last paragraph. I couldn’t agree with you more on the problem of Berbati’s and a lot of other clubs starting their shows so late! In fact, I’m going to do an entire entry about it. Thanks for the great post and for the inspiration to do one about this myself!

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