Stereolab in concert: Majestic Theater, Detroit 03/12/06
Mar 13, 2006 at 10:40 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 16

3DCadman

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I couldn't find the recent thread about Stereolab in concert thru searching, so I thought I'd post a short review of the show for you Stereolab fans.

I have to say, as a relative long time fan (I bought Mars Audiac Quintet new), I have never seen them in concert.

My brother (who is a Stereolab nOOb) and I arrived at the Majestic Theater in Detroit about an hour before the doors opened. A small crowd had formed (about 30 people). Before long the line formed about 2 blocks long. I'm not sure how many there were but I'd guess several hundred, all excited.

As we entered the theater (cool, but kind of rough) we settled in for the long haul 10-15 yards from the stage. Arranged on stage were about 5 or 6 various keyboards, organs, etc. Must be Stereolab!

The crowd was a weird mix of couples (old and young), young groups of 20 somethings and surprisingly many single guys (alone). The 'Lab appeal to a wide range of people.

The theater is a small, standing room only type venue. At first listen, the house music sounded good. A good sign.

The opening act was The Espers. I had never heard of them before. They were described as "Acid Folk". They weren't bad, but they were quite different from Stereolab, as they were kind of down, almost never smiled and were very serious most of the time, except when the lead singer joked they were going to cover Hall and Oat's "Maneater". Mostly enjoyable, but we were anxious to see Stereolab, of course.

Even better, the sound had proven to be very good at the theater, very clear with powerful bass, but not overdone. Cool.

After they were done there was a LONG time between sets.

FINALLY, Stereolab emerged. Forgive me for not remembering the complete setlist, but I will try to remember what I can. For the life of me, I can't remember what the opening song was. I believe it was a cut from Dots and Loops.

There were a total of 7 musicians on stage, Laetetia and Tim of course, and I believe their longtime bassist and drummer. There were also 3 other keyboardists, including one who also played guitar and french horn.

The played thru just about all of their new CD "Fab Four Suture" with other classics sprinkled throughout.

The sound was FANTASTIC. It was crystal clear with heart pounding bass. I even commented to my brother that I could actually feel the bass thru the tip of my nose!! The only bad part, if any, was the usual tendency all concerts have to bump up the volume level way too high halfway thru the show, but it only detracted a little.

The 'Lab can create an awesome wall of sound. I was not even close to being prepared for that. I've heard they put on a good show, but their music live and loud is something to behold. I listened to the new CD in my car on the way into work today, and I kept thinking "Not even close" to what I heard at the theater. Truly powerful stuff, especially when they get the repetitive, drony groove on (like their old stuff). Hypnotizing, it was.

Actually the most powerful song for me turned to be one of the new ones "Excursions Into "oh, a-oh". WOW was that cool, and the entire crowd erupted with glee after that one.

I found myself completely fixated on Laetetia though almost the entire show. She was a mesmerizing singer. Very elegant, as she cooed the notes with her eyes shut, and subtly dancing as she did it. She had a magical smile with the crowd and her bandmates that gave me chills. And when she spoke, that accent.......

The show lasted about 1 1/2 hours, with a 2 or 3 song encore (I can't remember). They also did a cool free jam toward the end of the last song, and finished it off with the patented "Powerful Repetitive Groove" thing.

I was spent.

The only negative thing I can say at all about the show was the sad fact that Mary is gone, and apparently they are not going to replace that in the show. They tried to replace much of her background singing with keyboard fills or the horns. That part of the sound is missed very much by me, but it was still great, even without it.

I would LOVE to see them again sometime. I was nervous that I had them up on a pedestal in my mind, and I would be disappointed in the show. Nothing could be further from the truth. They were even better than I thought they'd be.

If you are a Stereolab fan, I URGE you to see them if you get the chance!!!!

Sorry so long, but I had to get that all out of me.

EDIT: I'd love to hear from others who have seen them both on this tour and past, on how my experience compares to yours.
 
Mar 13, 2006 at 11:48 PM Post #2 of 16

redshifter

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great review, man! i've always said stereolab was one of the loudest live acts out there, especially since they usually play clubs. it helps that tim is an audiophile (vinyl and tube amps) so the sound live and in studio is pristine. and yes, to see laeticia live is to fall in love with her.
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Mar 14, 2006 at 12:01 AM Post #3 of 16

Voltron

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3dCadman-

So glad to hear you enjoyed the groop live as much as I did. My earlier thread was deleted because of posts about sharing and bootlegging. I'm pretty much repeating what I wrote a bit off-topic in a thread about the new album, but I thought the show was very cool, and the "wall of sound" was excellent. The combination of the electronics with Laetetia's great voice, the trumpet, the french horn, and Laetetia's slide trombone fills was really great. Not to mention she plays a mean tambourine and other small percussion instruments. Fascinating to watch her cycle into and out of singing and instruments. My wife's comment was very similar to yours and pretty well summed it up: "I thought that they were just good studio musicians but they were awesome live!"

Excursions Into "Oh, A-Oh" was also great at our show on March 4 in SF. Other new song highlights were Interlock and Visionary Road Maps. Cybele's Reverie was awesome (ETK is probably my favorite album of theirs), Vonal Declosion, Mountain, Come and Play in the Milky Night, Pack Yr Romantic Mind. The encore ended with a trippy, psychedelic, thrashing jam version of Outer Bongolia. That was cool and a really humorous way to end the show.

All in all, I loved the show and would go see them again in a heartbeat.

Finally, here's hoping that VicAjax can find a ticket for this weekend!
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Volt
 
Mar 14, 2006 at 12:23 AM Post #4 of 16

3DCadman

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Voltron
Finally, here's hoping that VicAjax can find a ticket for this weekend!
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Volt



Yes! Go Vic Go!
 
Mar 14, 2006 at 12:29 AM Post #5 of 16

3DCadman

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Also, I'm guilty of not paying attention to the names of thier songs, except the obvious Cybele's Reverie, and a few others. Their songs represent a space in my mental jukebox as "sounds" and not "names"!
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Besides, their song names are so beautifully strange, that I have a hard time remembering some of them. I love them anyway.

So, yes your setlist mentioned pretty much is the same as Detroit. A pleasantly surprising one for me was "I Feel The Air (Of Another Planet)" from The First Of The Microbe Hunters. That was a good chill out tune inbetween the barn burners.
 
Mar 14, 2006 at 12:48 AM Post #6 of 16

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Heya Voltron, we missed each other at the 3/4 show in SF. I also thoroughly enjoyed the show. The music and her voice match so perfectly to each other. Awesome. And I also liked the opening act, though I forget the name.
 
Mar 14, 2006 at 1:20 AM Post #7 of 16

Voltron

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Quote:

Originally Posted by leeg
Heya Voltron, we missed each other at the 3/4 show in SF. I also thoroughly enjoyed the show. The music and her voice match so perfectly to each other. Awesome. And I also liked the opening act, though I forget the name.


We barely made it into the show at all, so I am glad we didn't have some kind of early meeting planned. Maybe next time! The opening band was called Hot Chip, I think. I was having a couple of drinks and a bit to eat upstairs--losing our tickets and then getting the box office to find the record or our purchase and print them out for us at the last minute wore me out!
 
Mar 14, 2006 at 1:54 AM Post #8 of 16

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Thanks for the great review, you've got me excited for the show here tomorrow night.
 
Mar 14, 2006 at 2:35 AM Post #9 of 16

3DCadman

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Quote:

Originally Posted by s m @
Thanks for the great review, you've got me excited for the show here tomorrow night.


No problem! I felt I HAD to share.

I wish I could go with you.
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Let's see....Toronto is about 3-4 hours from Sarnia (across the river from me).... hmm.....
 
Mar 14, 2006 at 3:48 PM Post #10 of 16

s m @

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^^^ Well, I go through there all the time and I can tell you that you can do it in 3 hours. And there were still tickets left on the weekend!!
 
Mar 14, 2006 at 6:09 PM Post #11 of 16

VicAjax

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Voltron
Finally, here's hoping that VicAjax can find a ticket for this weekend!
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Volt



Quote:

Originally Posted by 3DCadman
Yes! Go Vic Go!


aw shucks, guys, thanks for the cheerleading.
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believe it or not, everything is STILL up in the air...

my mom told us last week she wants us to go on the vacation we canceled, since we still have the tickets. so we've been looking frantically for last-minute deals in Quintana Roo, Mexico. but to throw another wrench it, my mom's doctor says he wants to start her chemo when we'd be on the trip. and that wouldn't be right for us to go if that happens. so i probably won't know until the day of the show whether i can even go or not! crazy, but i guess there are more important things in life.
 
Mar 15, 2006 at 10:46 PM Post #12 of 16

3DCadman

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Quote:

Originally Posted by s m @
Thanks for the great review, you've got me excited for the show here tomorrow night.


Well, how was it?
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Mar 15, 2006 at 11:00 PM Post #13 of 16

s m @

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^^^^

It was tremendous. I'd elaborate but you already said most of it. Nowhere near what I'd consider to be an ideal setlist, but when a band is that together and that good there's no room for any complaint. Even the mellow songs rocked... how many bands with that sort of instrumentation can you say that about. Really really good. They must have played about five songs that I don't know, and even that didn't detract at all (these were the half of the new disc that I haven't heard, I only had the first three 7"s).

Actually, I guess that is the only thing I could complain about: I was going to pick up the new record on LP, but they were out of it (or never had it). So I ended up getting the three newer 7"s I didn't have instead (the new record is made up of 6 7"s they've released in the last while).... so now I have the record on what must be the most inconvenient format imaginable: 6 7" records. Kind of annoying, but mostly just funny. I'm sure I'll just burn a friend's CD or something for those times when I don't feel like flipping a side after each song. I actually walked out of there with 4 7"s and a tiny CD, they had lots of tour-only stuff, like always. I think I'll listen to them tonight. So I had an armload, but I passed on the puzzle (!!) they were selling. Although it was pretty cool.
 
Mar 16, 2006 at 12:17 AM Post #15 of 16

Voltron

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Quote:

Originally Posted by s m @
I actually walked out of there with 4 7"s and a tiny CD, they had lots of tour-only stuff, like always. I think I'll listen to them tonight. So I had an armload, but I passed on the puzzle (!!) they were selling. Although it was pretty cool.


I passed on the puzzle too, but your post reminded me that I actually bought that tour-only mini-CD. Better listen to that. Would you mind posting which songs are on the 7" singles--assuming they are not on Fab 4? Thanks.
 

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