All The Way To Cleveland: The Mott The Hoople Saga [part 7]

Mott The Hoople ’74 @ Masonic Auditorium | Cleveland – 4-6-19 [part the first]

photos: all of the good ones were taken… by my wife

[…continued from last post]

Following our delicious meal at Empress Taytu, we were, in theory, close to the venue. Next it came down to getting on the boulevard where it was and trying to find it! The first time was inconclusive – how can you miss a large venue? Nevertheless, we managed to. We took another swipe at it and saw it better on the return trip. Then it became a question of parking. There were no obvious parking lots nearby. Some options looked dicey to me. We eventually paid $20 to park at a nearby museum that was closed by that time, but rented their lot out for events. We hoofed it to the Masonic Auditorium; a grand old venue that had been around since 1921. I can vividly imagine Mott playing there on their last US tour in 1974!

Mott Merch Mayhem – without a doubt the worst merch table experience ever

We were there about 30 minutes before showtime after finding/parking and such. We always review the merch but it was hands down the worst such scenario we’ve ever experienced. Three large tables with goods only visible on the tables. And the tables were surrounded by a writhing amoeba-like mass of people; frantic for a t-shirt. None dare call these “lines.” I could neither view the merch for sale nor what was happening, so I lifted my device above my head and squeezed off a few blind photos such as seen above that capture the insect chaos of it perfectly.

My wife managed to reach a limb in on the table and grab a a selection of t-shirts for my review. XL and maybe even the large ones were not to be found. I picked a medium design of my preference while she put the others back and then I stayed in the blob [none could dare call it a line] until I got close enough to pay the people taking money behind the tables for the short. I then saw that there were some CDs for sale as well and  – wow! Morgan Fisher’s Miniatures vol. 1/2 as re-released by Cherry Red in a 2xCD was there for $15.00! I had wanted the first “Miniatures” album since its release in 1980 so this was a purchase I was happy to make along with the shirt. But wow – did it ever feel good to get away from that table and make our way to our seats, which had good sight lines.

At 8:00 sharp, Dream Syndicate ambled onstage and proceeded to alienate my wife and I. I was aware of them only by reputation as part of the “Paisley Underground” movement from L.A. in the early 80s, with more than a nod towards the Velvet Underground. I’d never bothered hearing them since I got so much enjoyment out of The Three O’Clock, I felt it was pointless to pursue this other [lesser] Paisley Underground band. What I didn’t know at the time was just how much lesser they were! My wife could not take Steve Wynn’s vocal style. I can’t even remember what I thought it sounded like.

But both of us were far more concerned with the overly loud bass drum hits or “bass fracking” as commenter chasinvictoria so succinctly puts it. The sound was unpleasantly loud. My wife has said that were we at the end of a row, she would have gotten up and left the auditorium for their set. As it was, we gritted our teeth and the pit of my stomach contemplated that if Mott The Hoople sounded this awful, then we would be getting up and leaving the venue that we had spent an inordinate amount of time, money, and effort to be in. I’m merely not making idle, theatrical threats for effect. We once attended a festival out of town just to see John Cale again and bolted from the horrifying sound at the venue. We have no hesitation to vote with our feet if it comes to that. After about six songs, it was all over and we fervently hoped that Mott would sound better than Dream Syndicate had.

Next: …Spoiler Alert: They Did!

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
This entry was posted in Concert Review, Organ Auction Live Event and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to All The Way To Cleveland: The Mott The Hoople Saga [part 7]

  1. SimonH says:

    Wow! I love the Dream Syndicate, nothing like the Three O’Clock, in my view at least:) Would have been a dream bill for me, notwithstanding the bad sound.
    Saw Everything Everthying last year and experienced hideous bass fracking, but I looked around me and no one seemed to care! Very strange.

    Liked by 1 person

    • postpunkmonk says:

      SimonH – Your mileage may vary. And you’re right. They are NOTHING like The Three O’Clock in spite of the commonality of their “movement.” The first three dates really disappointed me since the great Minneapolis band, The Suburbs, were opening! I would have been over the moon for that as I have all of their classic albums and many singles/EPs. I need the modern ones but they are impossible to find! And only my wife and I seem to care when our organs are twitching to live sound, so I guess everybody’s numb in this modern hellworld.

      Like

      • tim says:

        Dream Syndicate is a one hit wonder for me and the one song I have is so memorable that I can’t tell you the name of it off of the top of my head. shade mode off/

        Like

  2. SimonH says:

    That must have been disappointing. Only have the Chemstry Set compilation, they are pretty much totally unknown in the UK.

    Like

  3. Zach says:

    What a pity that Mott the Hoople would have such an inferior, highly derivative group as the Dream Syndicate open for them. My distaste for the DS (and most of the Paisley Underground, for that matter) lies in their shameless xerox-ing of their influences. Does Steve Wynn still try to copy Lou Reed’s vocal mannerisms (or, to a lesser extent, Bob Dylan)? The worst shame of it all is how the Dream Syndicate completely wasted the talents of drummer Dennis Duck, a veteran of the Los Angeles Free Music Society scene and the vastly superior band Human Hands. In Human Hands, Duck had more leeway to explore different sounds and take more of a leading role (alongside Bill Noland’s keyboards and David Wiley’s vocals). The Dream Syndicate, on the other hand, reduced Duck to providing mere backbeat (like most rockist bands would do). If you haven’t heard Human Hands, monk, I urge you to seek out their 1997 Bouncing to Disc compilation. Their sound was completely unique, blending sci-fi keyboards, jagged guitar riffs, percussive drumming, throbbing basslines, and a truly manic-sounding frontman.

    Like

    • SimonH says:

      Will check out Human Hands, but couldn’t disagree more re Dream Syndicate! Love their latest two albums, plenty of interesting stuff going on, no zerox-ing in my view.

      Like

      • Zach says:

        I wasn’t addressing their comeback albums (though from the samples I’ve heard, they sound as uninspired and boring as ever). I listened to the Days of Wine and Roses over a year ago, and it was a rancid disaster. The over-use of guitar feedback (usually a sign of laziness; it’s an easy shock tactic to employ when nothing else is going on) is nauseating and amateurish to these ears. Steve Wynn should be sending royalty checks to Lou Reed’s estate for the horrible imitation he does on Tell Me When It’s Over. Far more talented guitairists can use feedback and distortion to creative ends; see Adrian Belew, Fred Frith, Marc Moreland, and Robert Fripp for prime examples. Wynn doesn’t come within spitting distance of those names, even on his “best” day. Also, Wynn has made some uninformed, typically rockist comments in the past about the English synthpop and other groups celebrated on this site, so he can go take a long walk off a short pier.

        Like

        • postpunkmonk says:

          Zach – You make an interesting remark. I can remember when the American New Wave and Punk bands who didn’t use synthesizers (L.A.’s X come to mind immediately) and were super resentful of the US MTV-era (brief) vogue for them – usually in the hands of Brits. Whom they viewed with suspicion. I resented that regressive and conservative outlook. Yes, lots of these trendy Brits left something to be desired. To me there was a huge gulf between pioneers like Ultravox and OMD and the generation that followed in their wake like Depeche Mode, but it was important to press against the pervasive Rock Hegemony that didn’t want to let go of their stranglehold on the airwaves. Dead Milkmen sent up this attitude while at the same time celebrating it with their song “Instant Club Hit (You’ll Dance To Anything).” In some ways, this was the tiresome return of the anti-queer/minority sentiments of the “disco sucks” movement from the very demographic that should have been happy to have synth bands in the alternative tent to battle the dinosaurs together.

          Like

          • SimonH says:

            I’m not sure Steve Wynn should be carrying the can for it though, certainly not to the extent ‘talking a long walk off a short pier’ ..:)

            Like

          • Zach says:

            Yep, X was another offender amongst backwards-thinking Americuhn (my intentional misspelling) guitar bands who viewed the Brits with suspicion and fear. Exene Cervenka even made a vaguely homophobic comment in a Trouser Press interview about (and I’m paraphrasing slightly here) pretty English boys outselling “talented” American bands on the latter’s home turf. That remark is even more glaring knowing that Exene and Billy Zoom are both die-hard conservatives. It makes sense that people with backwards political views would espouse equally infantile musical opinions. Witness Billy Zoom’s asinine statement that there was no good music in the 70s until the Ramones broke out. What a putz! I can only imagine what they’d say if they ever heard the less commercial, more avant-garde synth artists like Laurie Anderson, the Residents, Throbbing Gristle, and Cabaret Voltaire!

            Thankfully, most of these reactionary guitar bands have fallen by the wayside and have barely left any imprint on our collective consciousness. It’s gratifying to see that the likes of Gary Numan, OMD, New Order, and Depeche Mode honored as the legends and trail-blazers that they are. While it disappoints me that some of those British acts compromised their sound to win American success, none of it negates their more challenging, important work.

            Like

            • postpunkmonk says:

              Zach – The whole Punk Rock/Conservative mindset is pretty fascinating, albeit sad. It’s like a circlural continuum with right wing/left wing Punks close, but definitely not touching.

              Like

              • Zach says:

                PPM – Anti-synthesizer sentiments have thankfully dissipated (for the most part) over the ensuing decades, as various styles of music (techno, EDM) take synths into new frontiers with the evolving technology. Regardless of one’s preference for analog vs. digital synths (and I say this as an analog devotee), synthesizers have proven themselves to be durable instruments that can be used to create different sounds. Electronic music of one stripe or another has existed for over 60 years. They are not going anywhere any time soon, if ever.

                Re;the conservative mindset of anti-synth punks/new wavers: I came upon this video of Exene Cervenka doing one of her godawful poetry readings (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlKtglCC9yY), circa 1985. Her hatchet job on synthesizers and insinuating that they are inhuman instruments (showing that she clearly has never heard Tangerine Dream, Thomas Dolby, and others who bring a warm, emotional touch to electronic music) just confirmed what a reprehensible, wretched person Exene is, on top of her detour into right-wing nuttery. Yes, many synthpop/new romantic groups had succumbed to the pressures of breaking into the U.S. market and compromising their sounds for success. That still does not justify a blanket condemnation of synthesizers, especially from a person whose knowledge of electronic music was probably based solely on the most commercial stuff that was popular at the time. Yet, even in 1985, there were still plenty of great synth-based acts that were doing wonderful things with their synths (Cabaret Voltaire, New Order, Propaganda, Rhythm & Noise, the Residents, Negativland, Scritti Politti, Kate Bush, and Prefab Sprout, to name some).

                Like

                • postpunkmonk says:

                  Zach – I should clarify that I was obliquely referring to politics, not synthesizers! But you are right that political conservatism also extends into musical conservatism.

                  Like

  4. SimonH says:

    We clearly share similar tastes judging by the names you mention and of course you’re entitled to your opinion on DS and Steve Wynn. I’ll just say I politely disagree on every level and leave it at that!

    Like

    • Zach says:

      Simon – If you’re a fellow WoV fan (per my namedrop of Marc Moreland), than you’re already a great guy in my book. Don’t take my criticisms of DS and Steve Wynn personally. We all have certain bands that we dislike for one reason or another.. Much as I dislike DS, I don’t resent you or anyone else who likes them.

      Are you familiar with any of Fred Frith’s solo work? If not, I highly recommend diving into his 3 Ralph LPs. The first one, Gravity, contains a killer re-imagining of Dancing in the Streets that blows away the David Bowie/Mick Jagger and Van Halen covers. The third one, Cheap at Half the Price, is a lot of fun and shows a strong Residents influence (No surprise there, given Frith’s collaborations with the Residents on Commercial Album and elsewhere).

      Like

      • SimonH says:

        Thanks Zach, don’t worry no offence taken!
        Am a huge WoV fan, both versions. Surely one of the most underrated bands ever?
        Will investigate Fred Frith, sounds interesting.

        Like

  5. I seem to remember liking one of DS’s songs, presumably from that debut album, but yeah — file under “unmemorable.”

    Like

  6. SimonH says:

    Anyone else feel like giving them a kicking based on vague memories of hearing the odd song??:)

    Like

Leave a Reply to chasinvictoria Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.