Q: How important are you?
This story happened a while ago, but I'm just now getting around to it.
It's the tale of my first experience as a V.I.P. at the Metro.
Most concert goers in Chicago will answer "Metro" when asked to provide their favorite show venue. I believe even those hipsters with the tightest of jeans will leave their island of "small show" superiority to compliment this Clark Street stalwart. It's still small, when compared to such other locations as The Riv[eria] or Aragon [Ballroom], but will still have "known" commodities on their marquee. Best of all, Metro seems to keep their prices somewhat reasonable (a far cry from the ass blasting procedures of the House of Blues).
So when a small, in my estimation, band from Denmark announced a headlining show there a two months ago I jumped at the chance. Mew had come into town twice this year already. First as one of the many opening acts at the annual Pitchfork Festival in Union Park. In hindsight, if I had known then what I know about The Flaming Lips (this is a tease for my next post), who headlined that event, I would've been there. The last time they came into town was to open for Nine Inch Nails... Nothing against Nine Inch Nails, but I wasn't going to pay for a NIN priced ticket for a show in which I was more interested in the opening act. Not to mention, I thought Mew and NIN was a horrible mismatch - stylistically.
So why Mew?
Well, I first heard them about 4 years ago when I heard their song "Special."
Since then I've gathered 20+ songs from 4 different albums and have been biding my time...
This next part of the story... I don't know how I got from there to here... But next thing I know I'm sitting in the VIP area... Trying to act cool:
I went with a pair of music loving sisters. One who is from the [in]famous Conflict Diamond kickball team. It was her sister, who I met for the first time the evening of that show, who had the connection with a Metro employee. (side note: isn't "connection" such a more classy term than "hook-up?")
For the first time ever I saw a concert without paying for parking, tickets, drinks, or the cost of time needed to show up early for a good viewpoint. (However, for the sake of accountability, the parking was free regardless thanks to parking being much more available when the Cubs aren't playing down the street)
The VIP area is up in the balcony. We had a table reserved for us a little closer to Stage Right from center. Oh, and seats for the table... I don't attend many seated concerts, but seeing how I've listened to this band as frequently as I did sitting in my cube at work it felt more than natural. More importantly, I've realized just how spoiled I am for having a pair of eyes higher in the air than most. The two sisters who accompanied me, both of them, are in the range of 7 to 10 inches shorter than I (as long as women continue to wear heels / boots / unknown to me entities on their feet around me I will never be an accurate judge of female height). Not having to struggle for a vision window to the stage is a much larger plus in their books.
Although I did pose with that above "too cool for school" photograph, I asked to have another one snapped to show my true emotion of the evening: cheesy giddiness.
Their second song of the set was the aforementioned "Special." They also had a nice mix of older songs and tracks off their current album. The greatest named album of 2009: No More Stories Are Told Today I'm Sorry They Washed Away No More Stories The World Is Grey I'm Tired Let's Wash Away
I really wish they would've played more. I think their set was just over an hour. For a band that has 3+ albums, they could have done more. They aren't an upstart band with only ten songs to their name... But maybe they didn't have any oddball visual accompaniment planned for their other songs? Yup, this band is not for those of you with epilepsy. We're talking massive coordinated strobe lights and a video screen that has the ability to conjure follow up night terrors for those of weaker minds. As much as I like Mew, I had to laugh at some of the oddball animation, such as cartoon humans with feline heads marching, chosen as backdrops.
But all is right in my mind - I wasn't there for a visual critique of their artsy fartsy craftsy orchestral pop rock alternative moving pictures. They have a great sound and I'm more than happy I heard it... as a V.I.P. nonetheless!
Finally, another song they played in their set - one that if it had been absent it would've been a cornerstone disappointment, was "Sometimes Life Isn't Easy." It's the song that makes their newest album worth the price on it's own.