I wasn’t expecting to have fun at this show. I wasn’t planning on enjoying myself one bit. Having heard Birdmonster’s songs on their MySpace page, I expected to be feeling fairly apathetic about the whole thing, which is not an emotion I ever look forward to. I wasn’t even planning on blogging about them after I hadn’t felt any connection with the music beforehand. But, I had won tickets and I figured I’d just hang out with a friend and possibly take a couple of pictures here and there. Well, I ended up having a great time and took over 300 photos (something I reserve for only the most special bands like The Dears or Devotchka) I literally couldn’t take my eyes off of them while they were performing.
The passion that San Francisco’s Birdmonster puts into their live shows is difficult to describe. Their songs feel a little lacking on their recordings…a little (dare I say) average. (Though, perhaps they just aren’t my thing.) But live, lead singer Peter Arcuni puts forth a passion and energy that few can. I felt more connected to their songs while they were performing than I have to bands whose songs I’ve listened to on frequent repeated plays. Now, I know that I’m also a little biased in the visual sense because I do love taking photos of bands while they are on stage performing. So, when a band is visually engaging, I tend to have a much better experience overall. I will say that Peter Arcuni was just a dynamic lead singer. The expression in his face and the heartfelt singing combined with the overall chemistry he had musically with the other three members really made the show. It was also slightly bipolar in terms of movement and energy levels. He sat in dim lights and sang with sincere feeling to the audience, sitting on the very edge of the stage near the end of the set. Yet, for much of the set he was rocking out and dancing around with guitar in tow.
I tried to go back to their MySpace page after the set was over. There are songs posted there both from their 2006 full length No Midnight and their 2004 EP. Unfortunately, nothing clicked even after witnessing such a performance. Birdmonster might alas be best left as a great live band worth seeing whenever they come around. Let’s hope in any forthcoming releases, they can find a way to put the passion of their live shows into their song recordings.
Click here for a YouTube video of a portion of Birdmonster’s set at Schubas (The sound is distorted but It helps to capture some of that great energy in terms of movement on video)