On Thursday after work my coworker and I headed to Orange country. House of Blues is located in Disneyland. In the pay parking lots – but not inside the actual pay part of the amusement park. House of Blues is to the back of “downtown disney,” basically an attempt by Disney to rip still more money out of your pocket by creating some sort of faux shopping mall just at the entrance/exit of the park.
We arrived early enough to eat dinner at the restaurant, thus guaranteeing us spots in a “special” line to get into the concert hall earlier. When we were finished eating there was no line, and there was plenty of room inside. There were only maybe a few hundred people that showed up, space was not really much of a problem even as close to the stage as we were. I was surprised by how small the House of Blues really is. It really isn’t much bigger than somewhere like Spaceland, but it has a balcony.
Think About Life took the stage and played an energetic set. It sounded very different than the album I listened to online (which was listed as their only album). They made heavy use of electronic noise on their album. Their live act consisted of a guitar, a drum set and a singer. Speaking of which, their singer sucked. He dressed up like Urkel (complete with red bow tie and coke bottle glasses) and tried to get involved with the crowd, telling jokes between songs and jumping down into the audience. But his vocal skills, just frankly – sucked.
After an unusually long wait Stars took the stage. The stage was adorned with real and fake roses everywhere. Throughout the performance members of the band would throw roses (both whole stems and also groups of petals) into the audience. At the back of the stage were thin vertical bands of LED lights that changed colors and strobed. The strobes were actually annoying because they were a little too bright and too close for a venue that was so small. The sound wasn’t good for quite a few of the songs. I don’t think this had much to do with the band though – it had more to do with the cheap PA system at the venue. Stars seemed to enjoy themselves. Torquil made frequent overtures to the audience that we’d better vote so we can stop Sarah Palin from becoming vice president. Torquil looked hagard and tired, with a ponch belly and fast receding hairline. Amy Milan looked like she’d gained a bit of weight – or perhaps photographers just work overtime making her look thinner for press shots. On one of the Set Yourself on Fire songs the band actually forgot one of the changes (all the fingers were pointing at the bassist) and had to stop before the second verse. I also noticed a few other times when the bassist seemed to hit a sour note.
the set-list was an even mix of old and new. There were quite a bit of new songs – even some that I don’t think are on the month-old Sad Robots EP. At the end of their encore they played Calendar Girl (someone’s favorite Stars song) and then a slow piano song to close out the night. This is significant because they are already abandoning In Our Bedroom After the War as the concert-closer. Good thing because I was never a big fan of that song.
Songs I remember from last night (not in order)
(unknown song about loving someone “violently”)
What I’m Trying to Say
One More Night
The Night Starts Here
Take Me to the Riot
Bitches in Tokyo