This week, I checked out the Casbah Lounge in Hamilton to see Hamilton’s own The Abbreviations and Montreal’s Final Flash. With a name like Final Flash (a not-so-subtle reference to an attack pioneered by anime’s Vegeta from Dragonball Z), I expected them to sing about boss battles, monkey tails, fireballs, and adventure. Instead, they served up the same old boy-meets-girl, alt-rock romance we’ve been digesting since 102.1 The Edge was born.
Unfortunately, Final Flash sound a lot better on recordings than they do live. During the concert, I found myself wondering why all of the songs sounded the same and how much longer I’d have to stay. The already-small concert venue was half-drained by the end of the show, despite the fact that Final Flash were the headliners. Most of the crowd was there to show love for The Abbreviations, whose performance was so strong that I grabbed their cd to listen to in the car. One song in particular featured a rap breakdown mid-number, both fresh and exciting.
Unlike Final Flash, The Abbreviations’ live sound is overwhelmingly superior to their recorded sound, which is disappointing for cd-lovers, but ultimately holds more potential for long-term success. As a regular concert-goer, I think a band’s ability to wow their audience speaks volumes more than their ability to produce a cd.
As far as a concert venue goes, the Casbah Lounge is a cozy, intimate space no larger than your living room with comfortable leather benches lining the walls. The stage is modest; barely-elevated and tucked into the corner; mostly for use by the drummer and bassist. The bar area feels like the one that your best friend’s cool dad installed in their basement; a neat window affair with jewel-bright rows of curacao, schnapps, and jager stacked to the ceiling. The only flaw to the venue is the oatmeal-toned crushed velvet curtain backdropping the stage. Any other fabric would have gone better with the black leather and dark red walls of the venue. Despite the heinous curtain, the Casbah Lounge is now one of the most interesting and satisfying concert venues I’ve ever been to and I look forward to going to more concerts there.