Lucid Culture


The Hard Times: Too Fat to Record

In the music blog business (or facsimile of a business, anyway), recording a concert is sort of like hitting with a corked bat. Pay no attention to the band, talk with your friends, drink as much as you want and the next day, the whole thing’s waiting for you (unless you pressed the wrong button by accident: umm…when you get a chance, can you please email me the set list?) Armed with a brand-new recorder that worked just fine in the jazz club, then in the church, the question was, would it be up to the challenge of a loud rock show? Let’s see, Wednesday night, who’s playing? Oh yeah, ska night at Otto’s, the perfect opportunity to see how much volume it might be able to handle.

By a little after nine, the Hard Times had taken the stage. They’ve got a cool concept: instrumental reggae. They don’t do dub, just long, slinky, rootsy grooves. If they keep this up, maybe someday they’ll be the next John Brown’s Body or Giant Panda. They’ve got an excellent organist who uses an oldschool Vox setting, for a real vintage Studio One sound, and who handles most of the the leads and solos. Their lead guitarist, who was amped lower in the mix, with a tuneful, jazz-tinted sound, handled the others: he’s good, and it would have been nice to have heard more of him. If their set wasn’t all that tight, that might have been due to the fact that onstage at Otto’s it’s awfully hard to hear the drums if they’re quiet and the rest of the band is loud – which was the case tonight, with just a steady shuffle beat going on behind the band. Midway through the set a big guy came up and did a long number about ganja and that went over well; later, they took a stab at Bill Withers’ Use Me and that wasn’t as successful, although the girl who joined them for that one sang the hell out of it. The crowd was into it, and it was a cool crowd: multicultural, multigenerational, both genders represented, a telling reminder of the great things that can happen in this city when you take the trendoids and the yuppies out of the picture.

The recorder? Definitely not up to the challenge of a reggae band, at least one with bass as fat as these guys have. The Hard Times are up at Shrine this Saturday at 8, opening an excellent triplebill with the oldschool rocksteady Bluebeats at 9 and then the reliably fun King Django at 10.

March 11, 2011 Posted by | concert, Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, reggae music, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment