I haven’t watched American Idol in years. A mixture of getting into different styles of music and digging a bit deeper into the music industry completely ruined the show for me. That being said, there was always talent on that show and that’s something I won’t downplay. It wasn’t always the winners that had the most talent and I often felt bad for the contestants that didn’t make it to the end but had the heart and passion that it takes to be a superstar. I may have fallen off the American Idol wagon but, as soon as I hear someone was on the show, I can’t help but check it out and give them a chance. That mindset mixed with a friend who, like the judges on American Idol, had been stunned by Alejandro Aranda’s talent were the reasons I found myself at First Avenue on Tuesday night.
I thoroughly enjoyed opening act Sucré. Although her music wasn’t my thing as it stayed in the electronic pop world of things, I loved the way that she gracefully moved between keyboards and computers without a sense of panic or inducing a frenzy. Honestly, if you watched her, it was a little overwhelming. Vocals here, hitting a couple of keys there all before moving to a sample pad to do a little something something here– it was a lot to take in and the ease with which Stacy King did it was truly stunning. As beautiful and talented as Stacy is, it was the drummer that joined her on stage towards the end of her opening set that really had me excited. He brought a sense of energy to the stage that I needed to get over the 8:30 PM hump that had me dragging. I don’t want you to take that as I found Sucré boring because I didn’t at all, it was more that the drummer (whose name I sadly didn’t catch but would be spotted on stage again with the headliner) just brought a special something to an already great set.
Although I had walked into last night’s show cautiously optimistic, Sucré’s set had me dropping that “cautiously” word. It may not have been my scene but if that opening set was any sign of the things to come, I was in for a surprisingly good and excited Tuesday night. All I knew about headliner Alejandro Aranda (currently touring with the name Scarypoolparty) was what my friend and fellow blogger had told me. He was a runner up on American Idol and should have won. His voice, passionate piano playing and intricate guitar work had the judges stunned and he instantly won over the country. I wanted to hear that beauty and it was clear the audience did too. The anticipation was palpable and turned into a deafening roar of applause as the house lights went down and the once concealed stage was revealed. Alejandro and his band wasted no time and jumped into a set that left the audience stunned and confused.
Honestly, Alejandro’s set wasn’t bad if you can get past certain aspects of it and the fact that it was nothing like what he had done on American Idol. His beats were infectious and there was something charming about his smile but it didn’t take long for the audience to realize that had gotten fooled and were not going to get that beauty and passion that had them falling head over heels for this man on American Idol. My friend and I been kind of standing off to the side of the stage so we could complain and discuss what was going on without ruining other people’s nights when, out of nowhere, an older woman came up to us and started asking us our thoughts. We didn’t know this lady but I was beyond interested to get her take on the show. She explained to us that she wasn’t mad, just disappointed. She had brought her 81 year old mother to this show because they had fallen in love with Alejandro on American Idol. They came to the Tuesday night show expecting to be serenaded by the young talent and, instead, had found themselves in a generic electronic show (my words– not hers– I’m paraphrasing here). I honestly felt so bad for them. I couldn’t imagine taking bringing someone to a concert expecting one thing and getting a completely different thing. It was honestly kind of heartbreaking.
Sure, it wasn’t what people were expecting but, as mentioned, his beats were infectious and I honestly liked some of the music I was hearing. I could get past the fact that this wasn’t the same as his time on American Idol (I mean, I’ll be honest, I hadn’t even heard of this guy and definitely hadn’t listened to his American Idol songs) but it was the feeling that he was lip syncing that I couldn’t get over. Sure, bands do it. Vocalists will use auto-tune or backing vocals to help them out. I’m not naive and I do this enough to let it roll of my back at this point where, in the past, it would have ruined a band for me. I get it… sometimes vocalists just need help. That being said, when a vocalist seems to use auto-tune for an entire song, or worse, an entire set, it will absolutely ruin that person or band for me. Alejandro Aranda is ruined for me. Sure, I wasn’t working sound last night and I can’t say 100% that Alejandro was lip syncing but the mixture of the smoke, dark lights, and the way the vocal volume didn’t falter as he stepped away from the microphone multiple times through the night would lead me to believe that the audience was not getting a genuine performance. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement and my friend and I hushed our conversations about the matter as to not ruin anyone else’s night around us. Sadly, I feel like the damage was already done. The Texas switch that Alejandro had done from playing sensitive and passionate songs on American Idol to the almost clubby vibe of Tuesday night’s set had already put fans on a path to the door.
I’m not here to drag Alejandro’s name through dirt. The fact of the matter is he was great on American Idol (I finally took some time to watch some clips this morning) and there were glimpses of his true talent scattered throughout Tuesday night’s performance. Sadly, those glimpses were not enough to outshine the disappointment and confusion that was felt throughout the crowd.
When my friend and I got in our Uber to go home, the Uber driver was singing Broadway showtunes. He was a kooky man but he was funny and I couldn’t help but laugh at the fact that our ten minute ride home was more entertaining and genuine than the concert we had just been at.
Venue: First Avenue
Sausage Fest Meter- 6 out of 10
Smell-O-Meter – Nothing
Average Age of the Crowd- 30
Crowd Surfers- None
Danceability- 1 out of 10
Stage Divers- None
Broken Bones- None
Spotted Flying Through The Air- Nothing
Fights- None Witnessed
Pukers- None Witnessed
Idiots Taken Out By Security- None Witnessed
Celebrity Sightings- None
Overall Score- 0.2 out of 10
Show on Deck- Matt & Kim/ Beach Goons
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