Monday, May 25, 2009
Keane: Concert Report
Two nights ago we headed up North to Cleveland to see Keane in concert.
I am most appreciative of Keane as, over the years, they have informed much of my own writing process. Our concert experience was quite gripping as it seemed to contain a number of nigh comical contradictions.
Actually, the main reason why the Keane concert was such an enjoyable experience was because of the bundle of oddities that occupied the same setting.
For starters, on the tickets it said that the 'opener' for Keane was some form of a cook-off. Cook-off?! Welcome to Ohio, folks! Meat, Buckeye football, and John Boehner. Yup. I did a double take as a cook-off isn't necessarily the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of an Indie rock performance where the artists sport skinny jeans, nicely coiffured hair, and an overall vegetarianism-informed 'text.'
We approach the gate to ask the older gentleman who checked the tickets what all the other commotion was. The gentleman said, "you can eat anything you please here. There's a lot of booths. And afterwards there's going to be a concert, too."
"Ah, well, we're here for the concert, actually. Are there any sushi places nearby?" the good half asked.
The man looked at us funny and then added: "Sushi? Uhm, well, there's a lot of food here."
We thanked the man and then decided to scope the Cleveland downtown area ourselves and pick one of the places the iPhone app "Around Me" recommended to us. Yes, oh-so-very-non-cook-off-like!
The musical opening acts for Keane were Helio Sequence and Matt Kearney. Both bands made comments about the uniqueness of the setting. Matt Kearney made some vegetarian references while also commenting on the meat. "I don't think I've ever sung my songs while reading a big meat sign from the stage" said the Eugene, OR-based performer. He also taught the audience how to pronounce Oregon. "It's not Ore-gon," he said and I smiled as this is a comment I hear with much frequency from my Oregonian crowd.
And then it was Keane's turn. Tom Chaplin also made food- and meat-references when on stage. His language was almost too polite. Chaplin's good schoolboy charm is easily observed on stage. He has a hard time masking his surprise over the fact that the audience was so excited to see them perform. "I really didn't know what to expect tonight," said Chaplin, and it was a statement that could be easily believed, especially having the odd/funny setting in mind. His demeanor seemed to say: 'You guys like cook-offs and our music?! How equal opportunity of y'all!'
I wondered who was in charge of event planning and who had thought to pair the music of Keane and Matt Kearny with a cook-off. But the odd setting contributed to a most enjoyable experience. Contradictions like this are what make Ohio fascinating to me.
Keane's shows are always worth it as they are fully committed to entertaining well. After a 90-minute non-stop performance, we were happy to have driven a couple of hours North on the I-71 to see them live.
If Keane is performing in your neck of the woods, do see them. It'll be worth it, cook-off and all.