I saw Our Lady Peace at the Paradise rock club on Sunday night. I went with my friend Maria which was exciting because for most of the shows I’ve seen at the Paradise, I’ve been by myself. Time shifts to its slowest possible crawl in the minutes you wait for a show to start, so having someone to talk to is a big plus. We were at the venue early, so there were only a few people in line ahead of us. The nice thing about the Paradise is that the room and the stage are wider than long, so there’s proportionately more room right in front of the stage than at other venues. We scored a spot up against the barricade on the right.
The opening act was a local four-piece rock group called Mean Creek. Neither Maria nor I had ever heard of them even though apparently they’ve won “best band” in the Boston Phoenix reader’s poll two years running. Guess I’m out of the loop! Mean Creek’s set was good. The songs were catchy. They have a male singer and a female guitar player who sings back-up harmonies. The combination of their vocals was really unique and cool. I enjoyed them enough to look them up online when I got home. The verdict? I think maybe they’re better live, but I’d definitely consider seeing them again sometime. One other thing worth noting about Mean Creek’s set is that in between songs they kept talking about the death of WFNX and how sad they are that there’s now no home for independent, local bands like themselves on Boston radio. They said that more than once. The show was sponsored by Radio 92.9. Awk-ward!
Between the bands, Jared Paul, a spoken word artist from Rhode Island, came out to perform. He did one piece, an intense political rant that he sort of spit at the audience. It wasn’t really my cup of tea. I know that Our Lady Peace writes thoughtful stuff, but I don’t really see how it fit the bill either.
Our Lady Peace played a long, big show. By big, I mean that they had pieces of LED wall behind the stage and strobes and basically a full-scale light show that I’ve never seen in a space so small. For the first few songs I actually thought it was too much. They were overwhelming the space both visually and aurally. It was an assault to the senses. For one of their early songs, “One Man Army,” lead singer Raine Maida sang into the mic through a megaphone. I’ve heard that effect at other shows, so I knew what I was listening for, but the mix was so loud and low-end heavy that I really couldn’t tell the difference between when he was using the megaphone and when he wasn’t.
Eventually, I guess my senses accustomed themselves to being assaulted, and I was able to settle into actually enjoying the show. They played a range of songs, from the big hits like “Clumsy” and “Superman’s Dead” to a few off their new album. The new album I didn’t even know they had! I felt a bit like an imposter up in the front row. The people surrounding Maria and me were serious fans and were singing all the words to even the new songs.
Raine Maida doesn’t talk much, but he did repeat a few times that the band loves playing in Boston and that the atmosphere in the Paradise was electric. During the first encore, after he let the crowd sing most of “4am,” he said, “I closed my eyes for a minute and thought I was at the Garden.” Really? Has OLP ever played at the Boston Garden?