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Where There's Smoke There's ... Smoke

By Sarah Dahnke in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 19, 2006 12:55PM

2006_10_19_smoke.jpg Last Monday, Chicagoist ventured out to Metro for the much-hyped, sold-out TV on the Radio concert. We love going to shows at Metro because the sound quality is usually high, and there's a balcony - perfect for us under 5'5, who usually end up standing behind the 6'8, 240lb. dude in a Cat In the Hat headpiece. And most importantly to us non-smokers who don't want to smell like an ashtray the next day at work, Metro is smoke-free. Well, sort of.

The Metro provides a little smoke of its own during some shows to liven up the joint. Such was the case during last Monday's show, but something went a bit awry. We could see and smell the smoky effects beginning to take place during the band's opening song. But by the time they reached the second song, guitarist Kyp Malone was completely immersed in a giant billow of fog. He jerked back from the smoke cloud and made a face, but he continued the song, which we appreciated. "Dreams" is one of our favorite TVOTR tunes. But as soon as the song was over, Kyp emerged from the obscurity and in the most delicate voice said, "To the man responsible for the smoke, please keep the magic to yourself."

We've been wrestling with this for the past week. Usually if there is smoke during a show, it is at the request of the band, and the smoke machine is often controlled by one of the band's roadies. However, many of Chicagoist's colleagues have voiced complaints about the liberal usage of ye 'ole smoke machine at Metro as well. So what's going on here? Is Metro unwillingly drowning its artists in unnecessary haze? Or are rookie roadies just hitting the "on" switch on the smoke machine then stepping out back to toke a fatty with the opening band?

We suppose the special effects could be worse. Instead of just being annoying, they could actually cause some harm. Take Michael Jackson's Pepsi commercial fiasco, where Jacko was set on fire during a rousing rendition of Billy Jean. Or what about that Great White show in Rhode Island where the pyrotechnics burned the club to the ground?

Regardless, we hope no smoke machine antics interfere with our enjoyment of the Hold Steady show at Metro next week.

What about you, Chicago? Do you totally hate strobe lights? What about confetti/balloon drops? If you see one more stage full of aliens and Santas are you going to have a shit fit? Tell us about your least favorite concert special effects.

Photo via mrmatt.