Woo-hoo! Going to see Melody Gardot!

I was emailing with my wife, wondering if we could do anything this weekend. I happened to check online for what’s going on this weekend in my area and what do I find but that Melody Gardot is appearing tomorrow night at the Merriam Theater?! I was surprised but ticked off at the same time. It’s a Kimmel Center Presents attraction, and Kimmel Center stopped mailing out their season calendars at least two seasons ago. So what I could have known about during the summer, and gotten great seats for, I find out about by pure chance and now get only okay seats for. But I’m not going to complain since her touring schedule is limited.

I say again - Woo-hoo!music-078_gif

Fun! I have not even thought of her in some time and only know her first album. Please follow-up with a review!

I attempted to post a reply last night when I got home, but when I hit the “Submit Reply” button it seemed like the forum went off into la-la land, so I lost it. I really wish this forum software had an auto-save feature like the old one.

We had a very quick but very strong line of thunderstorms about two hours before show start last night, so when we got to the theater I had the presence of mind to go to the box office to see if there were any cancellations in orchestra center. Sure enough there was. We went from off to the side in Row R to almost dead center in Row J. Things were getting off to a great start.

The show was… how do I put this? Worth seeing for Melody Gardot’s musical talent, but maddening because of the poor technical quality. There were too many problems for it to be an accident. The first problem was that Melody Gardot’s voice level was set lower than anything else, so that it sounded reasonable only when she was doing solo or at best had one accompanying guitar. Once two or more instrument joined in her voice level was completely swamped by everything else that was set way louder than her. Even with that, whatever mic and amp string they used for her was for cr@p - her voice sounded like a combination of coming out of a cave and through a pillow at the same time. Completely indecipherable, and I don’t think it’s because of her. She has a ton of power in her projection, and they clearly know how to have her voice come off clearly and with articulation on CD.

It just gets worse. The drum levels were potted out to the max. When the drummer was laying out a line with the bass drum it drowned out literally everything else, even the three horn players who looked like they were all about to burst their spleens with how hard they were blowing. Which leads to… the whole thing was shockingly louder than I expected. Gardot’s CDs are generally very well recorded, so I would have expected the same sort of balanced, articulate sound at the show (Rhiannon Giddens are her band and crew seem to know how to do this) - but beyond that most of her music is not what I would call amp-pounding. I didn’t expect to walk in and have even solo tunes raised to the level of hard rock. I was curious so I pulled out my iPhone that is loaded with an SPL app and checked; the performance was often pushing 99+ dB, which some might consider as not loud for a show, but it’s not healthy. Shame on me for not bringing my earplugs, which I usually do but figured this time wouldn’t be needed. My ears are still ringing.

I guess I’m not sorry I went. She’s a great talent and I was happy to be able to see her live, since she tours so infrequently (and even less so in the U.S.). But in this case, IMO at least, fans of hers should enjoy her more either solo in a small club or with her tunes playing through a good home system.

My original post that got lost in the electrons was a better read.

What a frustrating experience. Most people love volume so I suspect many were happy, but I would have been miserable. It is hard to fathom what the FOH was thinking with how it handled her voice and the balance. Ugh.

I was hoping for a glowing review and a wonderful time had by all. frown

Well, from what I’ve seen online, she mixes her appearances so that some are smaller, more intimate engagements. Seeing as how she is in the U.S. so infrequently, I suspect any of her appearances here would be of the big-n’-loud variety, Draws a bigger crowd. Bigger paycheck. Such a shame. When you have somebody like Bernie Grundman handling her recordings, to get such a flip flop on a live performance.