Last Night: Tricky at House of Blues

Better Than: Playing a game of Guitar Hero while blind folded.

It was a strange thing trudging up the steps of Disney's House of Blues to find an empty bar on the second floor. It's typically the first crowd you see before disappearing down the stairs to find a spot at ground level. But just minutes before Tricky (producer,trip icon and co-founder of Massive Attack) strolled on stage, you could practically run and slide across the floor on your knees and not hit a single person.

Maybe it's just me, but most concerts in the trip hop genre tend to be disappointments in my book. It's the kind of music that doesn't quite translate in a live setting in front of a crowd. The raw, artsy energy I expected at last night's show didn't really materialize. Tricky himself seemed to be a bit of a no-show during his performance of "West Knowle Boy" track's like "Past Mistake" and even the blues-inspired "Puppy Toy". But maybe I just haven't been to enough trip hop shows. Am I supposed to be fighting to stay awake half way into the set?

To be fair, the House of Mouse isn't exactly prime territory for experimental, slow-beat, drugged out sounds from across the pond. I'm surprised Tricky and gang even bothered to stop the bus on their way to L.A. tonight. But that being said, it wasn't totally a loss. The crowd that filled up most of the pit seemed very appreciate as the patch work curtains finally opened around 9 p.m.

Accompanying him on stage was a live band with bass, guitar, drums and synth keys. On guest vocals last night was a stick-skinny nymph dressed in leather pants and white shirt with tassels that looked like it came out of Tina Turner's closet.

As the band warmed up with the first few tracks, Tricky seemed more occupied with his with beer and cigarettes on stage than actually getting to the microphone. One thing that kind of threw me off was his intense, karate kid-style flexing that made me feel like he was about to blow up with intensity. I was disappointed failed to deliver anything more than in a flat whisper for most of the set. I couldn't even hear him most of the time.

However, by the time I reached the bottom of my second or third drink, things picked up as Tricky began showing praise on the crowd and delving into earlier work from albums like "Blow back" and "Maxinquaye". Another highlight towards the end of the show was the complete black out on stage as the band rocked out in a final encore. It wasn't a huge improvement, but we did get to see a little more of Tricky shaking his dreads crunk style. Overall, the set was short which I didn't really mind.

Of course, I realize the man has been a huge contributor for the trip hop genre, but I just couldn't bring myself to get into the live show.

Critics Notebook Random Detail: Before the band started playing, the house speakers were blaring Phil Collins... not exactly a precursor of great things to come.

Personal Bias: When I get into a karate stance, it usually means I'm getting ready to do something intense.

By the Way: Tricky's album West Knowle Boy is now in stores. My advice: stay home and listen to the album.


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