In 2014, music fans have reached some important self-evident truths. One: No one wants to watch you play your MacBook Air. Two: Throw enough bass on the problem and even that barely drunk girl in the back of the room will let loose. Three: When wielding a vocoder, tread lightly. But on Wednesday night at SOhO, we barely drunk girls didn’t feel the bass and, in turn, had to endure the kind of show that made us draw up these truths in the first place.
The Knocks are two vaguely hip looking kids from Brooklyn. They make some mean remixes, pen a decent hook, and can probably produce the hell out of a pop track. They’re also apparently pretty adept at surrounding themselves with pricey gear and throwing their voices through a pitch shift.
My issue with The Knocks (and the 5,000 other bands who are trying to make this version of live electronic music work) is not the use of backing tracks and effects pedals — it’s the sheer quantity of the ones they’re using. Yes, I get that there’s no way two guys can manually reproduce a song with 25 tracks. But rethink it. Reinvent it. Break it down and put it back together. Don’t ask kids to spend $15 to watch you hit a trigger, wear a guitar, and dance to your own songs.
Yes, the youths of Santa Barbara ate it up and got down and even went so far as to crowd surf through Wednesday’s show. But I’m guessing most of them were a little more than barely drunk.