Blonde Redhead headlined an epic New Years Eve party at Irving Plaza and proved that dream pop and nu-gaze aren’t just mellow out and make out music genres, and that they, in fact, rock harder than you’d expect live on stage. This show also proved that size doesn’t always matter, as this certainly wasn’t the biggest end of the year bash in a city known for its earthshattering year-end blowouts, but it was certain to be one of the most musically impressive and intriguing.
Opening the show was a budding Brooklyn band called Beach Fossils, who came out a couple years back as a solo project of Dustin Payseur, demonstrated in ethereal bliss on the 2010 self-titled debut and 2011 release EP What A Pleasure. Although a couple of other original involved musicians have gone on to create some of my other favorite new groups, like Cole Smith’s DIIV and John Peńa’s Heavenly Beat, Payseur continues to amaze and flirt with the senses, and his upcoming new album Clash The Truth is one of the most hotly anticipated releases of 2013 and also involves Blonde Redhead’s frontwoman Kazu Makino. The new track “Careless” was one of the first tracks played on their set and was continued by many other new slow builds. What really surprises about seeing the live four-piece live setup is how much more energy the tracks bring, the normal wistful sway of the studio originals pack a whole new punch, with Payseur swinging his guitar around as he works himself into a well-orchestrated trance. After experiencing it live, I see why Clash is foreseen as such a killer disc and why the Fossils get so much respect.
After a half an hour of finely tuning instruments behind a movie screen playing surreal film collages, flutes of champagne were placed all over the stage, the lights were dropped into deep dark contrasts, and the NYC trio Blonde Redhead emerged with the cultured greying twin brothers drummer Simone and guitarist/vocalist Amedeo Pace were joined by the stunning beauty of Asian singer/guitarist Kazu Makino dressed in a darkly slender long-sleeved, short skirt number that showed off one of the most impressive pair of mesmerizing legs you’ll ever see in person, stunning vocal moody blissfulness on “Love Or Prison” off their last album Penny Sparkle from way back in 2010, rocking herself back and forth as she played or sang, often wandering away from the audience showing she wasn’t a slave to showing off to the audience and was in her own trance and whipping her long hair into tornados of black locks as she would get more excited.
Others like “Falling Man” and “SW” were fronted by the similarly undulating voice of Amedeo, who also often switched from guitar to keys to make deep alien atmospheres, and create strange textured sounds. On some earlier songs like the super smooth “Dr. Strangeluv,” you really felt how their songs also advanced on stage, although theirs was a more animalistic devolution than their openers, Kazu often loosing herself in the trance of the heavy beats, at one point the two singers fell into each other mid-stage, huddling for some time as Kazu yanked on Amedeo’s hair in a state of obvious primal ecstasy. Both bands came out to count down to midnight and balloons dropped, after which they stepped into some of their most loved tracks like “23,” “Elephant Woman,” and “Equus.” It was a stupendous show and a great way to slip into a new year as though the whole last year was nothing but a dream and the new year was just a tranced vision.