I guess this is the first postmortem of the MuseExpo gig. Lets see how much I remember.
It wasn't a very long set: only around 30 minutes, and it started late. MuseExpo gives all of it's artists certain timeslots and one of the previous acts had gone long, and there was some kind of technical difficulties...
As for the Guest List, the guys at the door couldn't have cared less who we were. They were stamping the hands of any random person who walked through the door. They weren't even checking IDs, I am very sure I saw a gaggle of fifteen-year-old girls sitting around one of the tables. They left before Poets started up though: In fact a lot of the young crowd that was there when I arrived ended up leaving. Such is the lot of the 12am time slot I guess.
In my wanderings I headed up towards the balcony and realized that if I perched at the curve of the stairs I could see behind the curtain to where the Poets were warming up. There was some sort of problem with one of the electric guitars which around three guys whose faces I couldn't see clearly were trying to work out: occationally a single electric cord would cut through the recorded filler music that the House was filling the venue with. And there was Marko, sitting on the edge of the drum platform, looking thoughtful and rolling a water bottle in his hands.
Alright, I thought. I'm excited. If that's all it takes, maybe this will be fun after all.
I gotta say, they sure didn't tone down their act for the smaller numbers. There were only a handful of people down in the front, and not all of them were "fans" as such, but Mark, like the excellent frontman he is, did a great job of drawing everyone in and making us feel individually engaged with his trademark Broken-Doll-like grace. The whole band was in fine form and I gotta say, Mark isn't the only showman up there. Ollie does at least as much with his hands and feet (he even took a flying leap off the drum platform!), Captain has a flare with the keyboards: even when he's not playing his fingers twitch and he bounces up and down like he's aching to be. The drummer also was doing stick-tricks. These guys are not just musicians, they're real performers.
You could kinda see the "who are these guys?" strangers who started out staring blankly gradually start tapping toes, bobbing up and down, and slowly getting more and more into it. It's hard not to be won over by guys who seem to genuinely enjoy their own music, who had so much enthusiasm. Small venue or no, they were still playing LA, and seemed jazzed about it. They pulled out some of their best stuff too: opening with "Lift," going into "Ultimate fling", "Locking up the sun," "More," and others before closing with "Carnival of Rust." By the end of it they had the whole house won over, with even the HoB security guys tapping their feet. All together the set was too short, but it was still totally worth the trip.
When everything was over I managed to meet up with Tiia and The Artist and we lamented not being able to get more people to come, Mark and Ollie came out to talk to the fans, the fans which stuck around despite the House of Blues people saying that the venue was closed and everyone should leave before they got bounced. Apparently the flight was hell and they basically have to turn right around and go back. Still, Mark said that having us fans there "made it worth it" which made me want to hug him. As Ollie said, they made it, they played, it went well, and it was in LA which made it pretty cool.
Also: Ollie speaks excellent English but has a recognizable Finnish accent. Mark does not. He talks like he's from Michigan, except maybe his diction is a little better.
I think they really have what it takes to be big here. Here's hoping they come back soon.
EDIT: ok, so not the first. Vayne, you're welcome for the paper!