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11/18/2007 Will Hoge (Ithaca, NY @ The State Theater)

By Eric | November 18, 2007 11:59 pm

Tiffany swung by and picked me up from work (an odd Sunday I filled in) and we trekked down Rt 89 to Ithaca. Will was part of a double-bill with the Avett Brothers, and he was on first. Our seats were about 15 rows back, literally in the middle of the ground floor. The state theater was reminiscent of the Riviera in NT, but a little smaller. Anyway, Will started at about 7:45, and eased everyone into it with Someone Else’s Baby, starting with just him and a female violinist/singer, before the rest of the band joined him. These Were The Days was next, and thus began the ebb and flow of the set, mixing slower songs with the rockers. I can’t remember the order exactly, but the meat of the set consisted of When I Can Afford To Lose, Sliver Or Gold, Hearts Are Gonna Roll, Wait Till Your Daddy Gets Home, I’m Sorry Now, The Highway’s Home, and Sex Lies and Money. The closer was another down-tempo, Lover Tonight, with just him, the violin, and the organ. He closed the song by singing sans-microphone, just belting it out, before backing off the stage, still singing. The set was a bit heavy on the slower numbers, and consisting of mainly songs from the last two albums, but that certainly didn’t detract from how great the set was. Just like the Buffalo show, the musicianship was excellent, and Will’s voice was spot-on.

The only thing wrong with the show? The crowd. I’ve always been told that Ithaca is a haven for cultural people, it’s all about the art and the music, etc. BULLSHIT. It’s obviously not about the respect for the artist up on stage, because the amount of people talking throughout the entire set was nothing short of obnoxious. I realize not everyone sits at rapt attention, hell, I’ve done it myself, but at *club shows*, not in a theater, where you can, heaven forbid, GO OUT IN THE %@#$%$# LOBBY AND TALK. It was bad enough during the quieter songs, but one could hear all kinds of talking over the rocking songs too! The big mistake was having a bar available at the rear of the seating area, where everyone congregated, and of course, had to be heard over the band on stage. It was brutal, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard that level of conversation at a show, ever. I’ve been to free festival shows with less talking. Seriously. We mentioned this to one of the ushers after the set, who referred us to the head usher, both of which genuinely acted concerned and equally horrified at the noise level. I’m guessing we weren’t the only ones who complained. However, when I mentioned it to the “promoter”, or at least, the guy who introduced the band on the stage (and apparently runs the Grassroots Festival), he acted as if he could care less, was quite condescending, and generally was indifferent. So much so, that he felt compelled to tell me that “you really won’t notice it with the next band, because they’ll be louder”. Okay, so explain A) why we could hear talking during Will Hoge’s loud songs (which got pretty loud), and B) how that in any way whatsoever excuses it from occuring in the first place? I got a little melodramatic, but I asked how that was supposed to make up for the talking during the performance I just saw?? He didn’t really have an answer for that. So much for supporting the arts. We have no idea how good or bad it was for the Avett Brothers, as we left before they came on. For their sake, I hope everyone was there for them, and kept their mouths shut. So yay for Will Hoge, but boo to the “cultured” Ithacan’s that couldn’t shut up.

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