Friday, February 11, 2005

While I'm not sure what value a minimally-descriptive list of obscure albums has in print, the web version of the Village Voice Eddytor's Dozen works as an MP3 blog, so yay. This week's featured act, Aqui, kicked off their tour in town Wednesday night. The band, despite being held up by a traffic accident, gave a strong performance for those of us who hung around. RIYL the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and noise-metal. My favorite song slapped a strong dance beat to their effects-heavy bluster (I love my crunk guitar!). Second favorite was the encore number, which sounded like a cacophonous prelude to the Postal Service's "Such Great Heights."

Singer Stephonik impressed me from the start by walking from the stage into a huddle of indifferent, toasting frat dudes and singing directly at them. They got silent quick, so she scoured the audience for further boorishness and timidity. While I'm not against such post-Iggy antics on principle, basing your live shtick on audience intimidation is risky. Karen O's saving grace is her giant grin. Whether or not you can "take it" or find her presence disturbingly visceral or whatever, she's doing somersaults, jumping around and having fun. That joy is what makes it affecting. Unless you're going to go all GG Allin and fling poo at us, its hard to blow 21st century hipster minds through confrontation. As this was central PA on a weekday night and not the planet where strangers freestyle rap in your ear, there was little transcendent chaos. Most people ignored her taunting or just smiled. I was glad that when I got my 5 seconds of shoulder-shake and psycho-eye she smiled back. They're playing all over the west next month, so check 'em out if you can.

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