last long hiatus (or: he decides to blog for real) pt.2

maybe after hey willpower was a bit ambitious, considering that the show let out around 1 and I had a few wines.

owen pallett @ bang on a can, may 30

not to dog on any of the other artists at bang on a can, but I came for one reason–mr. owen pallett.

I’ve been a big fan of final fantasy, owen’s main project, since I stumbled across “please please please” on tomlab’s website maybe four years ago. for those who don’t know, owen has also contributed string work to the arcade fire, grizzly bear, jim guthrie, and tons others. also remixed stars, also made video game music, also fronted les mouches (now defunct)–he gets around.

I had the esteemed pleasure to hang out with owen a couple years ago when I drove to cincinnati to see him with alex lukashevsky (also great). he and his boyfriend patrick were loading equipment and I was nervous (he was really my first celebrity boy-crush) so I sat down on the curb outside the venue and started playing my DS. he pops his head out, asks what I’m playing, and invites me to come in and play mario kart. then I hung out with he, patrick, and alex for eight or so hours (I was very early), watched the show, ate a burrito at skyline chili, and went home.

now whenever I see final fantasy (only one other time), I get all nervous and excited again, because it feels like my friend is up there playing. imagine what it was like when you saw your friends play battle of the bands in high school, and it’s like that, whether it’s a justified feeling or not.

SO the great owen pallett came on stage and played three final fantasy songs, the first being an initally subdued version of “he poos clouds” which developed into a roaring cry at the end. the second song wasn’t new, he said so in the preface, so it must have been off of Tomlab’s Alphabet release “X.” the third I assume was off of the upcoming heartland lp simply because the arrangement was so vastly different from the first two records. it almost felt glitchy, was certainly percussive, and added a different, happy frenetic feel to his tender vocals. needless to say, I can’t wait for the new album. baited breath, right here.

after his short showcase, he invited the bang on a can all-stars to come out to perform “twelve polearms,” a conceptual piece about the music of the future destroyers of earth, the Ogg. you can hear his explanation in full here: (RS)

the composition rested mostly on a oscillating frequency, occasionally changing octaves. it sounded spacy–think logan’s run, or old star trek. other elements jumbled in–guitar, percussion, piano, until it mixed in a big musical soup, which them proceeded to breathe and press against the plastic bubble of the composition, testing the waters. it never seemed to get jammy, which is good–I’ve spoken already about how I can’t deal with jazz or jam sessions. then owen captured all of the performers with loop pedals and messed with them sonically, eventually removing elements, just as would be typical in his description of ogg culture. a nearly perfect piece–if only it had been a little longer.

dan deacon played at 4am, but I decided to go home and sleep after owen’s set. it seemed like enough.

hey willpower, dynasty handbag, the most holy trinity @ glasslands, june 2

speaking of tomlab artists, hey willpower sauntered down to the disjointed glasslands (in a good way–like a rummage sale) to play their last US tour date.

I’m starting to learn things about the smaller venues of new york–they’re never going to start on time. from now on, if I’m going to any venue where the ticket costs less than $20, I’m not going to freak out about getting there on time. after doors open, there’s usually 20 minutes or so of silence, then the dj comes out and plays for a bit too long, so if the door’s at 8, the band starts about 9:30-10. gone are the halcyon days off door’s at 8, show’s at 8:30-9. but, this is the big city–they do things differently.

so around 10, the most holy trinity get onstage. they do big beat, sexy pop music, sort of like YACHT, but with two girl singers as back-up. thing is, it’s weirdly desexualized, most likely because the back-up singers move like androids and vogue like they were built to do it. it’s like kraftwerk covering late madonna, or britney spears without all the terrible. it was fun to watch–but it was so visual, that I think I might have a hard time just listening to it.

dynasty handbag played next, which was essentially a tiny bob-bomb of creativity cavorting to and fro on stage. part-tortured artist, part-electro, part-absurdist comedy, every move dynasty handbag made (only one person, by the by) was intriguing and hilarious. I find it (as did she–read on) hard to describe–youtube up some videos. I got a chance to talk to dynasty handbag after her set:

nox5: how did you come up with the concept for dynasty handbag?
Dynasty Handbag (Jibz Cameron): It was sort of born naturally from just fucking around on a four-track and then I started talking to myself in between the songs I was making; and they were sort of like, self-conscious references to what I was doing and then it just sort of developed into the… what it is. I don’t know, it’s gone through a lot of different phases.
nox5: what would you call what you do?
DH: uh, performance–I don’t know.
nox5: performance?
DH: yeah. I mean, I just try to describe it to people like, “oh, I make…” it’s kind of music based, but I do a lot of audio voiceover, but I also do, like, full theater productions–

at this point a dude stumbles into the back room, beverage messily sloshing in hand.

guy: do you know where the bathroom is?
DH: uh, yeah, behind the bar.
nox5: behind the bar.
guy: oh, okay, thanks.

exit guy.

DH: uh… (laughs)
nox5: (laughs)
DH: (high-pitched, like a chipper flight attendant) right here, in my mouth!
nox5: yeah, exactly. it’s in this room!
DH: yeah! right!
nox5: thank you for coming, y’know?
DH: (laughs) but yeah, sometimes I do straight-up performance and other times it’s in music venues
nox5: it seems to me through you costumes and posturing that you’re being satirical of something–M.I.A. immediately comes to mind.
DH: oh, no, I’m not trying to make fun of her–not at all, I love her! The outfit I was wearing tonight was a little bit weird because I knew I was going to be really hot–I mean, there always really weird–
nox5: right.
DH: mostly I just wear stuff that I find ridiculous, like, would anyone buy that or wear that?
nox5: like the internet sweater girl!
DH: oh yeah, leslie hall, she’s awesome.
nox5: do you come up with most of your content spontaneously? I knew you said after one of your songs that you came up with lyrics on the fly.
DH: oh, when I’m performing? yeah, it’s just like a loose structure and I know some things I’m going to do and other things I’ll just wing it, y’know? I have a background in improvisational stuff, so.
nox5: do you? did you do improv comedy, or..?
DH: yeah, I did some theater stuff, took some classes. I’ve never been, like, a stand-up or anything like that, but I like it. so I don’t feel like I have to be in some rigid group.
nox5: which is the nice thing about improvisation.
DH: right! it’s loose.

hey willpower started almost immediately after dynasty handbag, so I missed the first song. like every other band, hey willpower specialized in phat electro beats and emotionalism. they played a pretty good set, as I recall, but I was still thinking about dynasty handbag’s oddball performance to really concentrate on hey willpower. plus the pinot was kicking in.


One Response to “last long hiatus (or: he decides to blog for real) pt.2”

  1. […] I showed up at 9:50, because cool dads were supposed to start at 9:30 according to the website, but I know how clubs work in new york, so I was technically on time.  or so it would seem!  doors actually opened that night at 10:30p […]

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