Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Keane at Radio City Music Hall

Saw the young British band Keane perform tonight at Radio City. Probably one of their bigger venues to date, having played previous New York gigs at the Mercury Lounge and the Hammerstein Ballroom. I love their music, but I have to say it took me by surprise when I realized they don't really have a guitar in the band -- just drums, keyboards and vocals. I also realized that they have a lot of melancholy numbers in their still modestly sized repetoire (one album out so far, and one in the works, which is getting some exposure now on tour).

Video projections on a screen above the band tonight just contributed to that feeling, especially one that tells a bittersweet picture story about a Humpty-Dumpty-looking fellow growing up, seeing his mother die, and trying to interact with the girl in the florist where he goes to buy flowers to put on his mother's grave. Two other image sequences were timed to match their songs down to the closing seconds.

It's not that I didn't like hearing their music live or enjoy myself, but there was something of an incongruency about the venue, the band's songs, the fans and their reactions. It's like a lot of people really love several of Keane's anthems, such as "Everybody's Changing" and "This Is The Last Time," which are excellent songs, no doubt, but at the same time, they aren't quite sure what to make of the rest of their music, which can be slow, synth-heavy and more introspective.

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