The Masonic auditorium is a charming piece of Cleveland’s history, but like many theatres of that time, it was constructed for stage plays and direct oration. When a band fills the small theatre with wall to wall feedback and driving bass lines, sounds compress often resulting in lost vocals that are muddled in an acoustic bottleneck. Such was the case for Jeff Tweedy’s strained lyrics that often failed to remain distinct over the rest of the band. The smaller venue offered an intimate setting to a band that could easily sell out stadiums three times the capacity.
With a history of anxiety and aversion to the over-exposure, best chronicled in the 2002 documentary of the band, I Am Trying To Break Your Heart, Tweedy rarely looked up from under his white cowboy hat. He never once addressed the crowd as he shuffled across the Oriental rugs covering the stage so the audience came to him, singing in unison with Tweedy line for line when he began a string of songs from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A Ghost is Born, two of their more memorable recent albums.
Perhaps the highlight of the night was not the songs but the fertile soil between numbers where the band let their artistry soar without restrictions. Sharp squealing feedback loops, swooning keyboards and multiple solos from drummer, Glenn Kotche, created new uncharted aural territory that left enraptured fans questioning the very laws of space and time. After a brief rest, the band returned to the stage for an extended encore that saw them perform more of their greatest hits before leaving to a much-deserved standing ovation.
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Robin Adam is a fiction writer and messy painter. With a background in journalism and psychology they’ve researched UFOs, Bigfoot, and other unsolved mysteries which have featured in PressureLife. They know more about Twilight Zone and R.E.M. than is actually useful. Robin Adam has created Smear and Splatter Studio, a line of original paintings, art prints and apparel. They also produce Strange City Digest, an independent arts and fiction digest with contributors from around the world. To check out Strange City Digest, visit: Facebook and Instagram @strangecitydigest Keep up with Robin and their ongoing projects, including Smear and Splatter Studio art and apparel, on Facebook and Instagram @smearandsplatter // email: firstname.lastname@example.org