Monday, September 14, 2009
City Whinery: My Problem With Sid 'N' Susie
Always the cynic, yes I know, but...please hear me out.
I raved about "Under The Covers Volume 2," the second installment of rock and roll classics from Sid 'n' Susie, better known to most of you cats as Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs. Really I did. Just look HERE.
I had been looking forward to Friday night's performance at City Winery for weeks. YEARS, even. (Okay, just weeks.) And it was a fun evening....kind of.
It was one of those "loosey-goosey performances", you know, where the band just wants to feel like they are in their own living rooms, chilling with friends, sipping some wine, and sharing stories about their day. This type of performance used to be a rare treat; a special night out, a diversion from the big concert hall experience. You know, the experience where the artists were actually prepared. In recent years, this non-chalant way of performing has become commonplace. I am so over the "charm" of forgetting lyrics, being under rehearsed, and "wanting to know if the audience has any questions about pottery."
I have a question. How is it you forgot your guitar in a cab, Susanna, and couldn't find anyplace in NYC for a replacement? That's my question. NOWHERE in NYC were you able to get a guitar for your performance? You're a damn Bangle. Hoffs was without an instrument for the entire show until she borrowed guitarist Paul Chastain's for the last two Bangles' tunes, "In Your Room" and "Manic Monday," which by the way, were the highlights of the show. (Apparently, she KNEW those tunes.)
Cheat sheets, "fakebooks," bad chords, and wrong lyrics were in abundance on Friday evening. The show started a little after 10PM and by 10:30, Sid N Susie had played 4 songs, 2 of which were a bit of a mess. Now before all of you start sending me "lighten up" e-mails, I am asking you for a break here. I mean, I know the lyrics to "Cinnamon Girl," and "Hello It's Me," why don't they? What are THEY doing all day? Singing and playing guitar, right?
On the upside, Susanna Hoffs' voice was better than ever; a pure singer who can effortlessly convey the melancholy of Sandy Denny and sex appeal of Linda Ronstadt, while rocking with the best of 'em. And Matthew Sweet has written album after album of pop perfection. But for Pete's sake, don't piss on your audience. The 20-30 minutes used for "unhilarious" storytelling that must have seemed a lot more amusing to the performers than to the squirming audience, could have easily been used for 5-6 more songs. And if both volumes of "Under The Covers" were created because of the love and admiration you have for the artists and songs that inspired you, why the hell don't you show these artists respect, not to mention your paying audience, by learning the repertoire?
If I sound angry it's because I am...a little. I'm mostly disappointed. If you want to sip wine and just have a hootenanny, do it in Washington Square Park. I could have saved $100, since no one is comping me to any of the shows I attend. I am a fan and I have to pay.
That said, here is my Zapruder-inspired footage of "Second Hand News." The audio gets better about a minute in, when I realize my hand was covering the mic.
Posted by Sal Nunziato at 4:11 AM