A truly great show leaves you with ringing ears, a sweaty body and a sense of satisfaction that keeps you a little wound up for days after. Silversun Pickups’ concert on Sept. 10 at the Mondavi Center in Davis did not give me any of those things. This was not the band’s fault, however; the blame falls entirely onto the venue.
It’d be hard to say that the building and theater itself is anything less than gorgeous at the Mondavi Center. The architecture is very modern and sleek, but it is not intended for an indie rock concert.The night started out with Atlas Genius performing. A South Australian band with boyish good looks who play a brand of inoffensive indie music are bound to hit American radio waves very soon. Their set went off without a hitch. It is when the second act, School of Seven Bells, took the stage that the Mondavi Center began showing its weaknesses.
The band took the stage and sound problems instantly began. The lead singer, Alejandra Deheza, could not be heard over the rest of the band. After repeated attempts to have the sound engineers fix the problem, the band eventually had to stop playing to have their grievances heard. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of the technical difficulties for the show.
As soon as Silversun Pickups took the stage, it was easy to see the crowd excited for the performance. However, the same problems that happened before were not fixed. Lead singer Brian Aubert could barely be heard over the music. When the vocals were finally turned up to be recognizable for the audience, the echoing started. The acoustics of the theater were obviously not set up with a concert environment in mind. The instruments and the vocals all began to echo into one another creating what was almost just white noise.
Aubert and the rest of the band were in high spirits despite the sound problems. Joking with the crowd about gum they had found on stage and about rumors that no one would attend the show made a somewhat disinterested crowd, aside from the diehard fans, more engaged in what was happening on stage.
It was just blatantly obvious that the type of show the bands had set out to give to the crowd did not fit the venue. Too many sound problems because of the acoustics of the theater distanced the fans from what a concert is meant to do: bring the artist and crowd closer together. Maybe next time, Silversun Pickups will book a much more intimate venue.