Concert Review: Magnetic Fields
We caught the Tuesday Magnetic Fields show at The Vic Theater and I have to admit it was pretty lame.
I’ve been a fan for years and count some of their songs (All the Umbrellas in London, Busby Berkeley Dreams, Grand Canyon) among my all-time favorites. This is the third time I’ve seen a Stephin Merritt band live (Future Bible Heroes and Magnetic Fields once each before) so I knew pretty much what to expect. And I was happy that Shirley Simms was with them for this show as I think her voice adds a nice twang to the band’s sound.
The problem started with the opening act: Kelly Hogan and her band simply blew the crowd away, leaving the headliners with a hard act to follow. I’ve seen Hogan perform before with Neko Case (she fronted Case’s band as the opening act) and have always loved her voice, but she was even better as a front woman.
After Hogan’s energetic set the Fields looked lethargic on stage. Merritt fiddled with his new melodica and hunkered down behind a harmonium, not even participating at all in a couple numbers. The band’s cutesy patter came across as mere shtick. No one really seemed to be enjoying themselves at all. The cliche “going through the motions” just about sums it up.
I’ll probably pass on seeing The Magnetic Fields the next time they swing through town, but I’m already checking the music listings to find out when I can catch Kelly Hogan again.