October 28, 2002

You're One

Sprinting up a broken escalator in Port Authority to catch a bus to Hoboken, I was buzzing with anticipation over being able to see Consonant perform yet again -- twice in two weeks! Even though it was a Saturday night, and there were two opening bands, I didn't want a repeat of my last trip to Maxwell's, where I missed the bus I wanted and arrived at the club after the headliner hit the stage.

Turns out I needn't have worried. The second opening band, Cropduster, was only about halfway through its set by the time I got there. Not bad -- noisy, rambling rocking a la Dinosaur Jr.. The club wasn't that full, but I figured people would start streaming in soon enough. Ah, but I would be wrong yet again...

Once Cropduster finished, it became clear that a good portion of the audience were not Consonant fans, but friends or fans of Cropduster, going up to chit-chat while the band was busy breaking down their gear. Not long after, all but 15-20 people exited the club area. Hmm, okay... people are going to the bar to hang out during the break. So I went out to the bar/restaurant area for a bit myself, ran into a former co-worker who had been in the first opening band (who I missed), chit-chatted a bit myself.

I headed back inside at around a quarter to midnight and grabbed a seat on the riser against the wall, near the front. Plenty of room here -- other than a few clusters of people here and there the club was still relatively empty. Nothing to do but sip my drink and scan the room as the members of Consonant set up to the sounds of Combat Rock.

There were about 30 people in the club once Consonant got onstage, but all of us gave the band as loud a welcome as we could muster. From the opening notes of "What A Body Could Do," I was 100% there, crowd or no. I've heard or read some things that have criticized the band's lack of stage presence when performing live, but to do so really misses the point -- the energy is focused into the musical performance, not the stage performance. Copping some pose or more overt schtick would be so antithetical to the nature of the songs, the nature of the band... the flow of energy amongst the players and the subtle, non-verbal cues -- a small grin, a sideways glance, a shift in posture -- these are the things which work with the music to make it come alive onstage.

As at their show with Shellac a couple of weeks earlier, we were treated to many new songs. Even though I was once again kicking myself for having forfeited my once-trusty show recorder, at least now I know the names of some these songs, from this set list I grabbed:


(Heh, even they refer to "Call It L---" as "Call It Love." I'd started doing that in conversation when discussing the album some time ago, easier than saying "llll...." or "hyphen-hyphen-hyphen," y'know?)

Sadly, there was no encore. But then there were only 15-20 people left by the end of the night. I went up to Mr. Clint Conley himself and spoke to him briefly, because I needed to let him know that a) they were once again amazing, b) the Consonant album is my favorite album of 2002, and c) they need to update their web site so people know when they'll be playing next! He was very gracious, remarking he thought I'd enjoyed the show as "I noticed your smile out there." Aw! What can I say? Listening to Consonant puts me in my private musical reverie like few other bands can, when lyrics and music match so perfectly and communicate the essence of a feeling in a way that's simply true.

Posted by nstop at October 28, 2002 11:56 PM


i was looking forward to you talking about seeing consonant. sorry there were not more fans... this was reminding me of a thalia zedek show here in seattle a while back. at the time, 'been here and gone' was one of my favorite albums, and i was horrified that only a handful of people came to see her play.

Posted by: ron on October 29, 2002 02:22 AM

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