I’ve been putting off writing this review for days now, because I’m pretty confused about how to write it and what to say. It would have been a rant if I wrote it right away, so I gave myself a few days. It might be a rant anyway. Sorry.
I went to see Sam Amidon at a club here in Cambridge called T.T. the Bear’s Place. T.T.’s is both upstairs and next door to another music venue called the Middle East. They’re both well known on the local rock scene. They are both kind of divey, but in a way that many locals are fond of. I’ve seen good and bad shows at both of them.
The problem is that sometimes the Middle East likes to turn the volume up too high. And when I say “too high,” I mean loud enough that it is literally shaking the venue next door. We were all at T.T.’s eagerly awaiting an acoustic-guitar-playing singer/songwriter opening act (Alessi’s Ark, according to the website – I couldn’t hear her well enough to catch her name during the show). When the band downstairs started playing, it shook the floor so much that everyone around me got startled, looked around, looked at the floor, etc. because it was honestly alarming to have the building shake like that for no apparent reason. It quickly became obvious that it was due to the venue downstairs (the Middle East) turning their sound system up as far as it would go.
This music bleeding in from downstairs was so loud and distracting that it made it genuinely difficult to listen to and appreciate the concert we were trying to experience, and I’m guessing it made it even more difficult to play. Can you imagine being a drummer trying to keep your own beat while the band downstairs is shaking the room to an entirely different rhythm? How obnoxious that must have been. I really felt embarrassed for the Cambridge music scene. If I were them I would not return to either T.T. the Bear’s Place or the Middle East. Even as a fan, I’m extremely turned off the idea of going back to either club. Why pay for a concert you can’t hear? Or why support a venue that you know is ruining the music next door? It is just sad for everyone involved.
Now, there were a couple of brief intermissions (of the bands playing at the venue downstairs) where we were able to actually hear the music being played for us, so I can give a sort-of review based on those brief bright spots in the concert. I really liked what I heard from both acts, especially Sam Amidon. I would definitely go back to see him, but hopefully not at one of those venues. (His bassist/drummer was great too
and I also couldn’t hear his name during the show. Sorry. Will edit this if someone can tell me who it is. Edit: The bassist/drummer was Chris Vatalaro.)
Check out a bit of his music with really good sound quality, unlike what I heard 😉 (The music starts at 1:15 if you are the impatient type):
…you can see why this doesn’t lend itself to having some insanely loud rock band thumping through the floor, can’t you? Such a shame.
I apologize for the not-much-of-a-review review, but sometimes there’s not a whole lot to write. But I hope you’ll take my recommendation and check out Sam Amidon next time he swings through your town. I definitely will. And to Mr. Amidon, if you read this, I apologize on behalf of our local music scene. You deserved better.