I was going to write a review about The Arkells' live show, held at Sugar last saturday night. But, unfortunately, that plan fell through. And the blame rests solely on the shoulders of Rich Aucoin.
But allow me to take a step back.
It all started a few months ago, when the Schlesbian said something along the lines of "Hey, who wants to go see the Arkells in a few months?"
About three seconds after saying "Sure, I'd love to spend twenty bucks on a ticket to go see the Arkells!" I said "Hey, who are the Arkells?"
I was played a clip of one of their songs, listened to it for a few seconds, and figured, meh, why not? This was, more or less, my only knowledge of the band heading into their show. But I've gone into live shows with even less foreknowledge of the band, so this was really nothing new.
I got to Sugar early enough that I was able to strike up a friendship with the bartender - enough that he decided he was going to give me double rye and gingers (that were really triples) for the price of a single. As I am not a very charismatic individual, I believe this once again proves my theory that simply talking to your bartender (and a generous tip) will pay dividends down the road.
I met up with some friends, and we had a few drinks and discussed the events of the day. We noted that we were "the old guys" in the crowd - the average age seemed to be around 20, which is odd when it's not an all-ages show. But, whatever... it was bound to happen sooner or later.
Then, Rich Aucoin, the opener, came on stage. And let me just say - gah. He had a projector that played little homemade videos that accompanied his songs. He made sure to let the audience know the lyrics to each song, so they would join in on the singing. He played simplified dance music that was adorned with indie-punk style repetitive vocals. He held an arclight in one hand so that the crowd could always see him. And he just projected the utmost neediness I've never seen in an opener. Ever.
Even when he did cool stuff - like taking a parachute out and letting the crowd play with it while he sang a song - it failed to catch me, because he was using far too many props to accompany piss poor music. Timing your banter in between songs so it syncs up with your multimedia presentation so you can have a "conversation" with Antoine Dodson (dude, that was so last year!) is probably the lamest thing in the world - it just shows that you have absolutely no musical improvisation skills!
Also, skinny white guys should never wear muscle shirts. I am guilty of this, too, but I don't wear them in front of large crowds.
The best part? At the end of the show, he put up his phone number, so people could text him with feedback on his show and ask for free copies of his music (even though he was tryign to sell his music in the merch section). This so reeked of neediness that Squee and I sent him some very disparaging texts that I feel sort of bad about, after the fact.
Of course, by the end of the show, I was pretty drunk - I needed something to get me through the worst opener ever, and the bartender was doing his best to speed things along. Not to mention the point in the night where eighty dollars of shots were downed by a handful of people in only thirty seconds (true story).
I watched the first three songs by the Arkells, and don't remember them at all. I do remember stumbling out of the club and going on a random adventure with my brother that was just a little shy of epic. So I guess I can thank Mr. Aucoin for that, at least.