I can’t believe it’s been almost four years since the wonderful summer of “Bands on the Run”. The nostalgia got compounded tonight as I saw Flickerstick live for the third time. It’s the first of three shows that I’ve ever been disappointed by the band, which makes me sad. I think several elements came together to underwhelm on this particular evening.
For one thing, the sound at the Showplace Theatre was brutal. Not only was the lead vocal drowned out (inexcusable when Brandin Lea’s pipes are one of the best reasons to see the band), but the lead guitars, the actual melodies, were lost in a fog of fuzzy reverb. I don’t think that was the whole problem, though. I sort of realized that Flickerstick doesn’t need the three guitars (not counting bass) they generally go with. It’s too much and it unnecessarily blurs what’s recognizable about the songs.
It’s funny because Cory Kreig wasn’t at the show – he’s “not touring these days” or something along those lines – and the band had a replacement for him. Which I don’t think they needed to do because I’ve decided Cory is completely superfluous. You could tell during the show. When they dropped down to two guitars, or even one, the real power of the songs came through. It’s a cleaner sound without all the extra noise – noise that comes across more like overcompensation than enthusiasm.
Most damning, though, is how the band didn’t seem to give a shit about playing their old stuff. Yeah, I get that you’ve been playing these same damn songs for eleventy billion years, but if you’re gonna bother putting them on the setlist, at least care enough to remember the words. Seriously, Brandin duffed the entire second verse of “Coke”. And there were at least two other songs he fucked up as well, both off their 2001 album.
It’s really too bad because these guys are a kickass live act when they want to be. Don’t make me go running back to Soul Cracker, fellas. Don’t you dare do it.