Monday, August 23, 2010

It List: Monday

Gobble Gobble | Florene | Pocket Change | Dharma (Doom)

One of the more exciting acts to emerge in the local music scene is the one woman powerhouse who goes by the name Dharma. I have witnessed two of her performance and both times I was astonished by the amount of focus and control she seems to have over every aspect of her squirm worthy performance. She is a refreshingly confrontational performer and not just the the get in your face and scream way (which she does) but the over all aesthetic quality; the way she moves, facial expression, body contortions all seem very deliberate and self assured and totally off the wall. Through out her recent performance at Dan's I kept waiting for the surly sound guy to come pull her off the stage, or the bar top where she ended up at various times. Her stage persona combined with lackadaisical synth-driven ballads and murky distorted lyrics is a refreshing, forward thinking approach which warrants multiple ingestions. Musically you could draw parallels to Darktown Strutters, but Dharma's approach is much less refined and raw, trading in Darktown's post modern ice queen approach for a much dirtier wallop. The performance is almost a cathartic experience, you can watch her wail and pound so you don't have to. It is pretty easy to get in front of a group and make them uncomfortable, but it takes skill to couple that with an engaging performance.

Pocket Change share a similar 'what the fuck' aesthetic to their live performance. The music is much more sexually driven as opposed to Dharma's humanity crushing dissonance. I have been following this group with a close eye since their first splash onto the scene a couple years ago when the then duo would leave audiences with that uncomfortable feeling after a one night stand. The sex was great and freaky but the next morning you are left questioning what happened the night before and where that stain came from. The group has toned the sexuality down since becoming a trio. While the air humping isn't as frequent, there is a certain dime store glamor that they bring to the stage which hits the same nerves. Just like Dharma, Pocket Change make an effort to marry their music with a performance that reinforces the undertones of the music while creating an experience that a recording can't capture. They are a dance band, but unlike the hollow soullessness of Sextape, the group have a certain humanity and fragility that brings the music above the ironic throwback style that is so prominent in the dance music scene. The interactions between the members, both physically and musically, is something I don't see very often either, at least not effectively.

I would not consider either of the acts 'performance artist' because the musical backbone they share is strong and would still be interesting with out the theatrics. But it's a welcome touch.

Gobble Gobble are from Canada, sorry that's all I got.

Rayon Beach | Jack O'Hara | Museum Creatures (The Nightmare)


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