For the Anglophile rock fan there's always something slightly depressing about seeing one of your favorite UK bands play in Boston at a venue that's slightly too big for them. It's like watching your little brother running around the yard in hand-me-downs. You can see how they're supposed to grow into them, but for now the sleeves are way too floppy. That's particularly true when the band comes equipped with the type of mega-anthems, and outsized Gallagherian egos built to fill soccer stadiums and cavernous dance clubs.
Sadly, there wasn't too much dancing, or soccer come to think of it, going on at the KASABIAN show at the House of Blues last night. Don't fault the band, who ripped through a nearly flawless set of tracks from their four albums, including the most recent Velociraptor!
The House of Blues is a vibrant venue when the kids are packed in tit-to-jowl, but on Tuesday night the balconies were closed off and the floor, while crowded, seemed mostly lethargic. It felt a bit like bringing a friend round to what you told them was going to be a massive party, and you turn up to four dudes sitting at a kitchen table listening to George Harrison records. In a more intimate space like the Paradise it could have been the show of the month.
Speaking of George, one of the fun parts about listening to Kasabian is playing musical Legos with their sound and building a little metaphoric toy man in really tight pants. Lately they sound most like Ian Brown discovering hip hop at a Madchester-era club then sitting in with old George's favorite techno DJ looping the “Immigrant Song” bass line over and over.
Mind, it certainly wasn't as funereal a bum-out as the Beady Eye show from a few months back, but compared to Kasabian in full blast blowing up their best material -- “L.S.F.,” “Empire,” “Club Foot,” and “Days Are Forgotten” – that mess was like listening to your roommate trying to doggedly crack one out of a floppy coke boner in the next room for an hour.
Still, vocalist Tom Meighan seemed amped, dancing about the stage and exhorting the game sections of the crowd to something like euphoria, occasionally handing off lead duties to guitarist Sergio Pizzorno. It's never a good sign, however, when the guys on stage have to repeatedly encourage you to have fun. Maybe they've been going to too many hip hop shows lately, where yelling at people to dance makes up about 90% of the stage banter.
“Did you invent the Boston crab?” Pizzorno asked, coming off like a Russel Brandt character IRL. “Come on, the Hulkster? I tried it and it didn't work.”
I danced anyway. Hard not to with the mystical spit-fire hooks of tracks like “Velociraptor!” forcing my hand. Exactly what shitty radio song is it that got this crowd out here, because if they can't get it up for the eccies banger “L.S.F.” then it's a lost cause.
As the band left the stage, the crowd finally came alive, answering Pizzorno's call for a singalong to that song's “ahh-ahh-ahh” chant. It worked. For a minute there it seemed like we were at a real show.
But seriously, Boston?
You're going to stand there all night and wait for your one jam?
Who waits till the end to get it going?
It was like watching Tom Brady trying to engineer another last minute come back. Too little too late.