Dean & Britta… & Andy

So I just got back from this really cool show in Prospect Park in Brooklyn. I admit I didn’t really know what I was in for. Although tonight marked my third time seeing the opener, Crystal Stilts, I had never seen Dean & Britta, and I definitely wasn’t familiar with the multimedia that accompanied their show.

So yes, Crystal Stilts did their retro, surf-rock tinged, shoe-gaze thing, which was on the whole pretty solid if you can get past the gargled, slightly off-kilter vocals. (1) Keyboard player Kyle Forrester stole the show with his melodies and awkward charm. (2)

Crystal Stilts at the Cake Shop

Crystal Stilts at the Cake Shop

But, it turns out that the main event of the night really was the Dean & Britta show. Tonight was part of their ’13 Most Beautiful… Songs for Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests’ tour. So instead of just playing a set as usual, they played a series of songs set to short films (aka screen tests) shot by Andy Warhol in the 60s. Each screen test was shot in black and white and featured a close-up of a young person’s face. In the opening few numbers, the subjects barely flinched or even blinked over the course of the song, but as the show unfolded, others smiled, drank soda, smoked, or made other gestures. Never overly distracting or dull, Dean & Britta’s music was a perfect acompaniment to each screen test. Some faces pass without their stories being told, but for others, Dean and Britta share intimate – and often disturbing – details in between songs that are still haunting me now as I sit in my apartment. (3)

The above video is something of a preview of the show.

(1) To their defense, I think the vocals are supposed to be sort of out-of-tune.
(2) Forrester also lends his talents to the band Ladybug Transistor, who I recently saw open for The Clientele.
(3) Many of the subjects were known speed addicts. At least one – Freddy Herko – committed suicide by diving through the window of a 5th floor flat. Despite his tendency to wear a black cape, he did not fly.


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"He considered music a liberating force: it liberated him from loneliness, introversion, the dust of the library; it opened the door of his body and allowed his soul to step out into the world to make friends."

- Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being


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