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The opener for Built to Spill and the Meat Puppets last night at the 9:30 Club was the Drones, a noise-rock quartet from Melbourne, Australia. The audience loved them; I’d never heard of them. Nor did I love them. Too much of what I heard last night was just noise, plain and simple.
I’m not anti-noise by any means. I have those requisite Sonic Youth albums; I’ve seen shows at 611 Florida; hell, I used to have my CD player/alarm clock set so that I woke up to Lightning Bolt‘s Wonderful Rainbow. But The Drones’ stage set last night wasn’t noise in the “experimental” sense, or even the “confrontational” sense. It may have been “passionate,” at least on the distributing end, but the passion wasn’t terribly contagious. No, it was noise for noise’s sake, just another layer to the arrangement that didn’t have any purpose other than to fill out the sound. I’m not sure why, since some of the songs weren’t too bad by themselves (the last one, whose title I know not, was actually pretty good).
But while I start in again to bashing myself for getting old, I’ll also point out that Built to Spill kicked ass playing Perfect From Now On, and though the BTS-loving friend who accompanied me will surely disagree, the Meat Puppets stole the show.