“I think at home you’re only working with one set of ears. In concert you start using the body as an ear, and that’s where it gets interesting. There’s a kind of instant synaesthesia that happens – the sense of physical sound on the body and how that effects how you interpret sound with your ears, and that’s for me what I want to do with the concerts.” from FACTMAG interview with Lawrence English.
I like that concept. Nightclub/concert conditions are certainly best for this – that’s why we go to gigs and clubs. However, that is also why it’s so bloody disappointing when you go to a gig with shit sound. This is a HUGE bugbear of mine after recent(ish) gigs involving Erykah Badu at Hammersmith Apollo and De La Soul at The Forum were almost ruined despite pretty damn fine performances.
I meant to do some research into whether it’s the fault of the venue’s soundsystem, a poor choice of venue by the promoter or a poor choice of sound man by the artist. Hip-hop – particularly- seems to suffer in London venue. (Brixton’s Plan B is a wonderful exception but don’t even dream of going to see anything but rock at the Academy round the corner.)
All that aside, it’s totally possible to listen at home with your body. You might need to spark up the chalice but just turn it up, stand in close and soak it in.