Bloc Party = Good. Palladium = Crap.

It’s to Bloc Party’s great credit that I had such a good time at their show last night, despite the fact that it was at the deplorable, evil Palladium. I haven’t been to the Palladium since Bauhaus played there five or six years ago and they still completely suck. Could a venue do any more to make going to a show any less fun? I particularly love the enourmous banners on each side of the stage reminding you of the ramifications of whatever it is you’re thinking of doing. They remind of me of this old post from BoingBoing. Every time I go to a show lately I feel like I’m going to the airport. I have to check what kind of belt I’m wearing and make sure to clean out my pockets because I never know what they’re going to hassle me about next. And I get to pay $30 or $40 for that privilege.

A lot of people don’t know this because it doesn’t get as much coverage, but t’s not just the recording section of the music industry that’s killing itself. The concert industry is faltering as well, and you can add poor venue management and manhandling of the live experience (ยท la the Palladium) to the list of reasons why.

6 Replies to “Bloc Party = Good. Palladium = Crap.”

  1. Oh, hey, 5000! you were there too. I went with a friend who also had not been to the Palladium in years. When the show was over she said, “my ears are ringing, but I couldn’t hear a thing.” In addition to the body cavity search at the door (“they grabbed my boobs,” she said) the sound just plain sucks. Whether the acoustics of the room are inherently bad, the sound people are consistently lame, or both, I’ve never come away from the Palladium without thinking it would have sounded better in my car, with the windows rolled down, at 90 miles an hour, with blown speaker cones.

    The kiddies seem to like it, though. It’s a great place to get trampled, if you’re into that sort of thing.

  2. I’ve also noticed that clubs play the music extremely loud, to the point of distortion. These usually aren’t large places either. I purchased a pair of Etymotic Research “professional” earplugs that essentially lower the volume without loosing quality. They work fairly well and do not look as obvious as those bright orange ear plugs when you wear them–they also save your hearing.

  3. I had a rant about how muych the palladium sucks but I was denied for questionable content. So much for commenting here anylonger.

  4. David: I wondered if I’d see any of “you” folks there. I actually didnt’ see anybody that I knew. But yeah, on top of everything else the sound at the Palladium sucks too!

    Norcal: Thanks for mentioning the plugs. I’ve been planning on buying a new pair of earplugs and those sound like exactly what I’m looking for.

    Brian: I’m sorry to hear that. I don’t really know how the filters work. Were you listing a blogspot or livejournal URL? I know those are blocked because they’re Spam pits and nobody would be able to comment here if we didn’t do something to stop the flood of comment Spam originating there.

  5. One thing I’ve learned as a sound engineer is that many people associate “distorted” with “loud”. The best examples are people and their car stereos. But it’s a real drag when the sound man at a show falls for this. It happens all the time and makes it easy to spot a poseur behind the board. Clean, loud sound often doesn’t “sound” loud.

    The last time I was at the Palladium was for P.J. Harvey a while back, and it was great!! Of course those VIP passes and knowing the security staff didn’t hurt. :P

    But other than that, it’s been many years since I ventured into that trap. Overpriced, overcrowded, with a staff which is often downright mean, I don’t need the aggravation.

    So, what are acceptable alternatives in the neighborhood?

  6. That’s a good question, DB. I’m probably not the best to ask. I’ve had good times at the Henry Ford, though they can have ridiculous security policies at times. I always liked the Avalon as well, but parking is a drag. As for sound quality, I’m not sure. Of course, I’ve never paid any attention unless it was bad! :)

Comments are closed.