I went to Velodrom for the first time the other night. What a building in architectual terms! Darn impressive. The bill featured Gossip and Austra - a mighty double bill I was not going to miss for the world.
It was exciting to see Austra perform on such a large stage, in this type of surrounding. And it was heartwarming to witness the fantastic reception they were getting. Gossip fans are not your typical indie music supporters and I was weary of how they may treat our Canadian starlets. But all was well. Austra gave a sterling performance, as always may I add, and the crowd understood and cheered them on. The new Austra songs are definitely a little more mellow, but with that voice she could be doing sea shanties and it would be amazing.
Gossip did what Gossip do. I was a fan from day one and have never ceased to be one. Their songs are so well-written, their energy is always positive, they have the most kick-ass drummer if I ever knew one, and Beth Ditto is Beth Ditto, one of the best entertainers of our era. I know I may sound a little over the top here, but I honestly believe that Gossip have an entertaining quality of past times that you don't find often in modern bands. They are modern but they know what their audience want and they give it to them, all the while staying true to their ideals. And really, short of Lady Gaga, not many big acts support gay rights and change people's perception on gender issues the way that Gossip do.
I did feel the audience was incredibly reserved compared to past Gossip gigs I have been to (as in 5 past gigs). They sure made Beth work for her money - she was cracking jokes, animating the audience, singing her heart out. It may have been the people that showed up and it may just have been the venue, too. As grand as it is architectually (and oh I do want to go watch the cycling there!), the lighting and set-up make it very un-fun.
Anyhoo, what an experience over all. I even, unexpectedly, met some friends in the huge bowl of Velodrom. A trip.