The Fillmore is one of the most iconic venues in the entire Bay Area. It is a place that bands have wanted to play for years to showcase their talent to an audience that varies from intimate to intense, but rarely technically awful. However, that’s what happened during Saturday night’s show by Aimee Mann and Field Report. Chris Porterfield’s new project Field Report is a band that is on the come. They are garnering a ton of buzz and with good reason; they are reminiscent of Nebraska-era Bruce Springsteen. The haunting, well-written vocals and that echo, reverb heavy guitar sound is something atypical in today’s musical landscape. We were deprived of much of that sound due to a heavy consistent buzz that emitted from Porterfield’s guitar. It wasn’t all Porterfield’s fault, but it was a distraction that detracted from what should’ve been his San Francisco coming out performance. It wasn’t a bad performance, though, far from it. Field Report is a great band and Porterfield’s voice was pitch perfect. Being able to keep his composure under such an adverse situation, not to mention the drunkards yelling during and between every song, is a testament to Field Report’s talent.Talent isn’t enough sometimes, though, and the Fillmore’s inadequate measures to quell the faulty equipment and sound prevented a good concert from becoming great. Things got worse when Aimee Mann came on and the bassists’ DI cable had to be replaced and then became faulty again. This forced Mann into what became an impromptu solo performance which delighted many of the fans, but was completely disjointed as request after request hit the stage from many of the same drunkards Porterfield adroitly fended off. Performing songs that she hadn’t performed in years Mann forgot lyrics and chords, but in her defense, the Fillmore sound technicians are to blame.
In both instances, Field Report and Aimee Mann, played to their strengths and showed how versatile they can be under adverse circumstances. They were clearly unprepared for the mistakes that happened and through no fault of their own became unwitting pawns in a game of jimmy rigging a sound system to work for a night. A game that failed miserably and led many fans to wonder why the Fillmore couldn’t have fixed these problems during a Soundcheck or previously? Had this happened before at the Fillmore? And if so why hasn’t the problem been rectified? Questions need to be asked as a public that paid good money to see a fantastic lineup clearly was shortchanged by the venue.
Field Report and Aimee Mann are still on tour. I recommend you check them out.
Field Report’s self-titled debut album is available here.