Sunday, June 10, 2012

Class Actress @ Radio Radio: 6/4/2012

            You don’t know me.  I have been around for a while, but I haven’t written anything for this blog.  You may ask, “But, J4CK 0F H34RT5, why?”  The answer to that is that I am a horrible procrastinator.  There, we know each other a little better now.  I originally intended to write a review of when Tennis played Radio Radio several months ago, but never got around to it.  To that I say, “Go see Tennis--they are awesome.”  To make up for my shortcomings, I will provide you with my review of Class Actress’s set at Radio Radio on the 4th.  And, here’s how it went:
            Opening for Class Actress was a band called Penguin Prison, which I was completely unfamiliar with before that night.  They’re a fun, synth-pop group. It’s pretty poppy, dancey stuff.  Of course, this is not really everybody’s thing, but I doubt it’s the type of thing that would provoke a crowd of drunken clubbers with no musical taste whatsoever to exclaim, “Oh my God!  I LOVE THIS SONG!”  I was glad to see that their lead singer functioned as a second percussionist on certain songs--they had a floor tom and wood block set up at the front of the stage, which he would occasionally attack, quite enthusiastically.  It might be my past as a drummer, but I always enjoy bands that incorporate more than one drummer.  It just adds a nice fullness to the groups sound.  They were also very entertaining to watch, as each member of the group genuinely looked like they were having fun.  I’m not sure if the singer’s childish grin left his face at all the whole set.  He and the bassist moved around the stage to groove with their band-mates, providing some fun banter through-out their set.  Overall, they put on a good live performance and were a fine energetic opener for the evening.

In case you were curious:

            As for Class Actress, missing one third of their whole did not stop them from putting on a really good show.  If you’re unfamiliar with them, I would strongly recommend them to you if you’re at all a fan of synth-based music with driving beats and fuzzy melodies filled with bleeps and bloops.  As their set began, I didn’t realize that vocalist Elizabeth Harper was in the crowd, shrouded in a large black trench coat with her face hidden by her hair; she looked like a strangely attractive serial killer.  She took the stage and, from start to finish, she and her keyboardist (unfortunately I’m not sure if it was Mark Richardson or Scott Rosenthal) put on a killer reproduction of their studio sound in a live setting.  This is not to say that they sounded as if someone had just thrown in their LP and cranked it up.  They were able to maintain a faithfulness to how they sound on Rapprocher, but did not sacrifice the uniqueness and energy that any good live show should have.  And the last song freak-out?  I'll get to that.  
         When I’m at a show, I like to see a group acknowledge their fans and at least provide us with a little interaction here and there.  It’s like getting your own personal piece of that particular group; like a behind the scenes look that nobody that wasn’t at that show can ever get.  But, on Monday, we mostly just got a hello at the beginning and a heads up before the last song.  This isn’t completely their fault, to be honest.  When starting, they encouraged the crowd to come closer to the stage and get into things a little more--and I'm quoting Elizabeth here: "You can come closer. Don't be afraid."  Some did, but the majority of the audience was more standoffish.  Elizabeth made bedroom-eyes at the crowd through-out the set, but hardly said a word.  I hope that they can find ways to energize more apathetic crowds in the future.  That said, they more than made up for it in a big way, though.  
        For the last song, the keyboardist switched to guitar and unleashed an electricity-filled stream of crazy-awesome raucous sound.  Paired with Elizabeth’s vocals, the two of them brought down the house with the biggest crescendo I’ve ever heard.  It was pretty freaking amazing.  I’ve been to entire shows that did not match up with that one short moment.  In the end, I'd have to whole-hardheartedly recommend that you spend the money to see Class Actress live if you ever get the chance, because it was well worth it.  Even if all you catch is the breakdown.

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