It's probably not a characteristic unique to Cleveland, but concert crowds in this town can really suck.
Consider: You'd get kicked to the curb by customers and employees if you and your drunk buddies were yammering away during a $13 Jurassic World screening at Cinemark. So why — I wonder this constantly at shows — why do morons feel it's alright to talk their way through a concert?
There was a lot of that last night during the Bahamas show at the Beachland Ballroom — an often quiet, gentle psychedelic beach rock concert. (There was also a real genius last night who insisted on clopping his/her feet on the hardwood floor in not-rhythm with the music.) BUT there was also a lot of pushback. Midway through the set, a force of people who get it began literally ssshhhh-ing the rest of the crowd. "SSSSSHHHHHHHH!!!!!"
Afie Jurvanen, lead singer and guitarist, took note: "Thanks very much. If I do that I seem like an asshole, but I appreciate it." From that point, not only did the music get that much better, but the crowd actually stuck with it and tuned in with rapt attention (except for a few moments that later elicited an angry "Shut the fuck up!" from some guy).
But listen, the show was really great. Bahamas delivers a special blend of chilled-out ballad and angular guitar leads. Think, for a moment, of how Jeff Tweedy and Nels Cline just go off toward the end of "At Least That's What You Said," and you'll have an idea of how Jurvanen and guitarist Christine Bougie trade leads. Combine that with a hearty dash of Dirty Projectors, and you're getting close to the Bahamas sound. They're an interesting band.
Probably my one sonic complaint with the show was that the band stuck too close to the script, backing away from potential brief jams in the middle or at the end of songs. They've cultivated such a great sense of layering that it would be cool to hear them stretch out a particular segment or two.
The highlight, wherein the band did go off the deep end, came in "Your Sweet Touch." They connected the early verses with the final verse and flooded the stage with frantic jamming. Jurvanen and Bougie were shining here through soft-loud dynamics and screaming guitar tones.
The encore was also terrific: "Bitter Memories," Bobby Womack's "Please Forgive My Heart" and crowd favorite "All The Time."