Florence + the Crappy Audio System

I’m always a little nervous before seeing a live musical performance. The artists/bands I typically fancy enough to shell out oodles of cash to see perform are not your run of the mill garage bands. The artists/bands I enjoy can hold their own even without the most advanced studio equipment, but that’s not to say that a decent sound system isn’t required to make them sound their best.

Is it unreasonable to expect a decent sound system? Ooodles of cash, remember.

So last Saturday, I saw Florence +the Machine at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago. While the establishment itself was beautiful and unique with it’s replica Spanish villa and starry night sky interior, it severely lacked one important element: seating. Yes, yes, I know, a decent concert venue doesn’t always need such luxuries to be enjoyable, and it certainly does not impact the quality of the audio, but I find that it does provide one amenity… distance from other people! It’s always the same at general admission-type events – you start out a good five, six feet away from any strangers, you might even remain that way though the opening act – but once the headliner takes the stage, everyone seems to lurch forward in a crowded, sweaty mess. At first it’s a bit irritating, but after the first song, the energy and camaraderie can overpower the icky-ness, but it always ends up back to irritating, doesn’t it? Irritating turns to aggravating when excessive drinking is added to the mix. On this particular evening, I stepped in gum (Indoors? Really?), while my friend, let’s call her, Trixie, did not escape without being kicked in the shin and having beer spilled on her. Ah, refreshing!

Wow, all of this makes me sound like a dinosaur! A right fuddy-duddy! Yeah, well, deal with it. I like me my chairs and my concerts in proper theatres.

I digress.

I will say that Florence herself was still incredible. Her voice was as haunting and enormous as ever. However, it was a damn good thing I knew every lyric to every song, otherwise I would not have had the slightest idea what that crazy redhead was going on about.

While the “Machine” sounded just fine, Florence’s microphone must not have been turned up high enough, or it was damaged, or somethinglikethat. #notastagehand

It was one of those things that left me wondering, “Are there any staff around? Can they hear this? Do they think this sounds GOOD?” I imagine they all simply thought that was as good as it was going to sound and went back to making sure the drunkards didn’t electrocute themselves. Beverage splash + miles of cable laying about = hospital stay.

So, unless someone epic plays their one and only show ever at the Aragon Ballroom, I’ll do my best not to visit the venue again.

Good day.

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One Response to Florence + the Crappy Audio System

  1. Thanks for the heads-up. I will avoid this venue as well.

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