I've heard the radio releases - "Good", "Desperately Wanting", "At the Stars", "Extra Ordinary" - but oddly I never was really into BTE.
Then, an innocent remark from my girl friend (two words) made me download some MP3s. "Good," "Desperately Wanting," and "At the Stars" were the first to go. Then what?
Behold the wonderous powers of E2. cha0s' entry got me quality music, but dannye's entry sold me on BTE. A quick check of www.BetterThanEzra.com informed me that the band would be around in three days. Tickets were ordered. Friends were contacted. I ended up going alone.
The concert was held in the middle of China Town at a small cozy venue. I like it better that way. It's that possessive feeling you get for a band - you want them to succeed as musicians, but you don't want them to play bigger venues and larger crowds. You want to keep it small and intimate. And then they go and break your heart by whoring themselves to unartistic audiences everywhere. Sorry, I digress. But now I regress - outside waiting in line to see the show the people behind me were counting off BTE's "songs."
"They only have six songs," says one particularly ignorant bloke who stands wearing half-sleeves and shorts in thirty-degree weather as he counts off on his fingers: "There's 'Good,' 'Desperately Wanting,' 'Rosealia,' 'At the Stars,' 'King of New Orleans,' and 'Extra Ordinary.' Then the opener only has one song. I don't even know the name..."
"IN-FUCKING-CREDIBLE!" is what I said to Elaine - the first girl I ever "met" at a concert - after the opener's set. Strangely enough, she'd never heard of BTE. She came just to see Cowboy Mouth, who she'd followed through eleven shows! It's a rarity to see a good opener nowadays, as they no doubt end up headlining shows sooner or later. Irregardless (my favourite word), the Louisiana experience (Cowboy Mouth hails from New Orleans as well) was truly awesome - even alone.
Of course there were the 30-something jackasses who refused to budge during the opener while I continually shoved up against them, but still enough people in the audience were able to appreciate BOTH bands. I had the chance to meet Cowboy Mouth after their set, and was relieved to find them very amiable and down-to-earth - it's always a relief to find out that your musicians of choice aren't conceited bastards. Four autographs later and I'm back in the crowd. BTE's just finished Good after (I think) opening with "Misunderstood".
I must admit dannye's entry filled me with many unfair expectations (I'd only been listening to BTE for less than a week), but most were actually realized. Even buying the tickets, I noticed the website provided a SongRequest@BetterThanEzra.com link to help shape setlists for shows in your area. I foolishly requested At the Stars (unaware of Kevin Griffin's affinity for the song) whereas I should've asked for "One More Murder", which wasn't played. Ironically, after BTE's "songs" had been played (save "Desperately Wanting," which would close-out the set) BTE polled the audience for the next song - to no avail. There was no consensus, and the band ended up playing "Porcelain." The oversimplifier may have been right, but I tend not to think so conveniently.
Kevin Griffin was definitely an approachable frontman, though I sensed at times that he was developing the dangerous hauteur of a Stephan Jenkins. Travis McNabb rocked out on the drums, and Tom Drummond played the shit out of the bass. I was somewhat disappointed that Jim Payne & Co. didn't get the recognition they deserved for their hard work with background vocals, keyboards, and rhythm guitars - but I suppose its a three-piece band anyway.
To anyone who was unfortunate enough to stumble upon this nodelet, I hope that you leave with this important idea:
GO SEE A BETTER THAN EZRA CONCERT!!!