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Ludo at the Chain Reaction on November 14 2008
I had the great privilege of going to a concert in Anaheim California last night and here is my review.
Venue: The Chain Reaction is a decent size venue with enough room to leave some room in the back for the hovering parents. The venue does kind of lead the kids to push towards the front, a little more so than other venues. The bathrooms are quite covered in graffiti and band stickers. Expect a line up, they're quite small. It's in a nice quiet area and I didn't really feel scared walking back to my car alone. The main parking lot can get kind of full if you don't get there super early, but if you just headed down to the next light there will be a little parking lot that no one parks in. The area is pleasant and very conducive to hanging out.
Opening band #1: The Graduate opened first. They had a decent set, but there were few fans there for them, but that's to be expected for a band from Illinois in the middle of California. I found my head bobbing along to the music, but they didn't have the energy to win the crowd over it seemed. The crowd did get pumped when they did a drum circle type thing with singer Corey Warning, and guitarist Matt Sauer. Warning and Sauer pulled out a cymbal and 2 snare drums for the last song of their set and added more complicated beats to Tim Moore's simple rock beats. As an audience member I wished they would've put that effort into the rest of the show, but it did leave me with a lasting expression. I wanted to hear more. Which really is the point of opening acts right?
Opening band #2: Eye Alaska was the second to give a shot at winning the crowd over. By this time I was starting to look for music to catch my ear. Thank goodness they didn't open with their song "Roll Right Over". Sure it's a catchy song, but it's a lazy beat with repetitive lyrics, not a great song for winning crowds. They did have a lot of energy and I think every girl there was eyeing singer Brandon with a lust in their eyes. They were dressed nice but broke it all way down. They had the energy we needed and knew that we just wanted to be entertained. With Brandon's rapping you got kind of a Gym Class Heroes meets Angels and Airwaves vibe. Odd? Yes, Good? YES! This is perfect music to schmooze guys or gal's to. I did get the feeling that Chase, the pianist, guitarist and vocalist, had more of an investment and that Brandon was simply a shiny toy to keep the kids entertained. I would definitely expect to see more from Chase in the future. All around, Eye Alaska was a good band. A nice lead into because the music wasn't super hyper, but a lot of energy from the band.
Opening band #3: The Higher, the higher you are, the harder you fall. I was excited to hear what this band had to offer because I'd heard some buzz about them standing in the lines. Also as soon as they took the stage about 30 girls squeezed into the already tight space ahead of me. As they started to play I recognized some of the tunes, and I realized I'd downloaded some of their music earlier in the month. I was starting to enjoy it, but I just couldn't after awhile. The singer, Seth, was so obsessed with himself that I had to muffle my laughter. He kept touching his face and shaking out his long hair. He kept making actions like he was the hottest guy we'd ever seen, when honestly he looked like a Hansen drop out. I wanted to enjoy the music, but he just got in the way of it. I would love to listen to their music more, but after seeing them live and seeing how they acted I can honestly say I will never listen to them while enjoying it. I just can't block out the way they acted. The music was good, but the band ruined it.
Headliner: Ludo, now you must know I am a huge fan of theirs so this review may be a little one sided, was amazing. All through the show I'd been 10-15 people away from the stage, but as soon as the Higher ended I got pushed almost all the way to the front. I personally think it was the gravitational pull of the lead singer, Andrew Volpe. I felt bad for the boys as the set up though because there were about 20 girls just taking pictures of them and screaming....I would hate that. I waited patiently and waited and waited. But that's ok because it totally paid off. Ludo came out and leapt into "Lake Pontchatrain" my all time favorite song. It was so amazing and they just oozed excitement and energy. I seriously underestimated the spazziness of Andrew. I also didn't think he would slip sexual movements, innuendos and anything into every moment of the show. Sure, it's not a family friendly show, deal with it. I had a good laugh at all of the band's antics. One friend did comment that Tim Convy, moog and backup vocals, was a little over the top. I explained that it's hard to play the moog and therefore he has somewhat short parts. So what's he going to do just stand there? No he's going to have fun! Forget what everyone thinks of him. Just when I thought the show couldn't get any better they slowed it down some. Everyone but Andrew left the stage and he played "Horror of Our Love" alone on stage with his eyes closed and swaying. If you've ever heard this song you know it's beautiful, haunting, and utterly CREEPY! I am fairly certain that by the end of that song everyone was swaying and feeling the music. The whole crowd just connected for that song. It was beautiful. They knew they couldn't just blast into the next song so an entertaining interlude of a story from Andrew's childhood, with interpretive dance by temporary bassist Tommy to back him up. I am fairly certain the basis of the story was Ace Ventura Pet Detective and some other movie put together....not sure though. They played a few more songs and then left the stage. As an encore they played Ghost Busters. AMAZING! Andrew's voice is perfect for it and no one was standing still for that song. Overall Ludo knows how to bring it.