We saw Tantric last night at the Theater of Living Arts (TLA) here in Philadelphia. My wife and I have been huge Tantric fans since their first album with the hit Breakdown. We have their latest album as well and we enjoy the consistent quality of rock and the clear Alice in Chains-inspired roots and original licks. The band pulled of another quality album in After We Go and we were looking forward to their performance. In addition to Tantric, we saw a couple of smaller bands: From Sattelite and 12 Stones. Both looked promising.
If you are waiting for a big BUT in this post, you are right, and not as in human anatomy but as in this concert failed on so many levels it could be part of human anatomy, which is a shame.
Where do I begin? Oh, yes, the TLA, this venue simply SUCKS! It is not too big, how could it be right on 3rd St. and South St, standing room only, but they clearly they must be used to poor attendance and so-so bands. Why would they otherwise have such horrible acustics? I’m very picky with acustics and reminds me a bit of my days long time ago in high school when I had a rock band. The acustics and sound check was so bad, 80% of the time I had no idea what was being sung, relying only on my knowledge of the songs. It sounded to me like way too much power was piped through crappy speakers. To top this off, the main mike for the singers all 3 bands was pure shit. It cut off many times, had low volume and worked sporadically. The bands may have not noticed this, having their own back firing speakers, but I could see the puzzled looks on the audience across me. I was merely 2-3 people from the stage so I could hear some of the playing and the singing and saw the potential. It was truly a shame to distort such good music.
Which brings me to the other issue: audience and the bands. The audience was pretty descent and clearly big fans of all bands, but just not enough. The concert started about 1 hour late, but looking at the less-than half filled TLA, this must have been sobering to the bands. What gives? Tantric is a very good original band that plays solid rock with consistent quality. They even did a Alice in Chains cover which sounded great, but again, you wonder: who promotes this, is Philadelphia a miss-match for Tantric, 12 Stones, etc, or are they a dying band? All of this is a shame as Tantric hasn’t received any radio play, we heard of the 12 stones in Seattle, and the rest is a mystery. Lessons in marketing all across…