In Praise of Crowded House

Last night I sauntered off to the North Coast of America (read: lakeside in Buffalo, New York) to see Crowded House play for he ridiculously exorbitant price of $10. They put on an incredible show; the set featured several cuts from the brand new album Intriguer and just about every song from the career arc that I wanted to hear (if there was a glaring exception, perhaps it was  “Mean To Me”). Funny how you take for granted that a band has so many great songs and then you still catch yourself saying “oh yeah…and THAT one!”.

The crowd was decent sized but not overwhelming; I suspect many acts draw far more on a downtown Friday evening and I found myself wondering why the park wasn’t so cramped that people were being squeezed off the land into the lake. Then I remembered that Crowded House‘s peak of popularity was in the mid-80s…when eMpTV still played music videos.

The band might be tighter than ever, usually a 4-piece (Mark Hart is amazing – I swear he played nine instruments – although a fifth guy popped in on occasion as well (probably the guitar tech…or an unemployed Tim?).  Kudos to the production staff as the sound and mix were pristine. Finn was in great humor, weaving lyrics about local color (including the monstrous highway overpass over his left shoulder) and looking natty in his white dinner jacket. The set and encore lasted short of two hours, and the always poignant “Better Be Home Soon” signalled it was time to do just that.

I’ll have a write-up on the new CD and DVD soon, but in the meantime here’s the label blurb.

Following up on their 2007 release Time On Earth – their first studio recording in 14 years – Crowded House returns with Intriguer. Produced by Jim Scott (Wilco), this all-new recording brings together singer/guitarist and chief songwriter Neil Finn with original Crowded House bassist Nick Seymour and keyboardist/guitarist Mark Hart. Says Finn: “Intriguer is exotic in parts, traditional in origin. It may just be the best thing we’ve done.”

The opener was (I am not making up this name) Lawrence Arabia. The first song was poor in an indie-jamband pretentious kind of way but then the rest of the set was phenomenal. Watching a tall thin man rock a pair of tight red gym shorts was a little off-putting (he did ask if his milky thighs were offending anyone) but the band is anything but. The cheeky song titles are matched by appealing music that runs the table, frankly. It appears they are on tour with Crowded House for the summer, and since they’re from Christchurch I suggest you take advantage!

Crowded House official website

Lawrence Arabia MySpace site

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2 Comments

Filed under Music, Reviews

2 responses to “In Praise of Crowded House

  1. Roggie

    I saw this show Monday night at Wolf Trap and it was phenomenal. They did everything, were in perfect voice and great Kiwi humor – we thought we were watching Flights of the Concords for a bit!The crowd here was also less than overwhelming and it made me too scratch my head, although it left us plenty of room onthe hillside. Lawrence Arabia also made me stand up and take notice. Great show, under-appreciated wonders.

  2. drbristol

    Just picked up the LofA and will be covering that very soon. Great to see your description matched what I saw – let’s hope they get enough respect on this whirl to motivate them to create more music in the future.

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