The Blow + Acrylics – Glasslands – May 13
When Molly Shea and Jason Klauber of Acrylics walked on stage wearing their nearly-all-white outfits and donning solid white wigs, I actually thought to myself, Wow. Are you serious? Martians. Martians steeped in shoe-gazey, ambient space rock. Honestly though, if martians are going to be playing a show in Brooklyn, I can think of few better venues than Glasslands. Lining the stage and ceiling are these puffy white 3D creations – it kind of looks like a bunch of white tissue paper that has been sculpted into flower-like buds. Oh yeah, and they have rigged up lights to illuminate different parts of their patchwork sky, so the background flickers with a gentle off-white light. The effect was rather spectacular given the Acrylics’ look and accompanying repertoire.
Acrylics - in normal (hipster) garb (Photo Victoria Jacob)
Still, I couldn’t help but pondering the merits of the gimmick band. You know what I’m talking about. I once saw a band where every member wore large sunglasses on stage. Or you know – maybe they’re all wearing construction workers’ hats. Sure, maybe it’s interesting at first, but it can all get a little old. And who really enjoys a gimmick band more than once? Same schtick every time.
Acrylics – they weren’t bad per sé, but come on. Towards the end of their set, they threw silver-spraypainted beach balls into the crowd. Yeah. At Glasslands. The beach balls did little more than hit unsuspecting people in the face and distract me from the music being played, and make me long for outdoor summer shows.
When Tears for Fears’ “Head Over Heels” immediately started playing after Acrylics were done, I couldn’t help but grin. Standard weird 80s stuff. Perfect martian music.
An outdated photo of The Blow's Khaela (now she has long Charlotte Gainsbourg style hair)
Then… The Blow. I fell in love with Khaela Maricich when I saw her in 2007. Sure, her music may just consist of her vocals and pre-recorded dance beats, but it just seems real, and I always have been a sucker for lo-fi done right. Then, of course there are Khaela’s lyrics.
When you’re holding me,
we make a pair of parentheses.
There’s plenty of space to encase
whatever weird way my mind goes,
I know I’ll be safe in these arms.
You’re not a baby if you feel the world.
All of the babies, they can feel the world.
That’s why the cry.
I love it. And apparently, so does Lindsay Lohan.
OK, I admit Khaela never actually came out and said she had been hanging out with Lindsay and writing songs for her, but it was certainly strongly insinuated.
So I wrote this song for a celebrity. Someone you definitely would have heard of, but you probably have never listened to her. She went on to say that this unnamed celebrity had recently had a big downfall – her face was all over those magazines, she had been dating a girl (but it wasn’t a big deal in the media), she sometimes goes around comando, she apparently likes to sing “Parentheses,” and well, apparently she likes gold, strappy high-heeled sandals. hmm…
Sadly, the album Khaela had been writing for this mystery celebrity is no longer coming out. The thing that sucks is that it exists, but it’s locked in a vault and not in peoples’ heads. But I can still sing them here.
One of the new songs was all about owning disasters and personal meltdowns. All you have to do is make disasters sound cool.
Another was about making things up as you went along. (Apparently, this unnamed celebrity (UC) had been telling her mother about her feelings for a girl, when her mother responded that she was just looking for attention and that she was making it up, prompting the UC to respond You know, you’re right. We are just making it up together. Kinda genius.
Khaela had had big plans for this album. She admitted that she often sang about boys instead of girls because for her, singing about being a lesbian wouldn’t be radical. I’m spastic. But if you get a ‘normal girl’ to sing about a radical topic, and if the ‘normal person’ does radical things and does it right, then these radical things can become normal.
It was a good evening. Sure, some people actually walked out or balked at Khaela’s sheer awkwardness and minimal music, but then there was also the group of girls near the front who sung along and listened appreciatively when she began telling a story… and I guess I was more aligned with the latter group.
Other highlights from the evening of ‘hits’ included: “Hey Boy,” “Parentheses,” “The Long List of Girls,” and “Come on Petunia.”
Also – apparently Khaela now lives in one of the five boroughs, so hopefully we’ll be seeing and hearing more from her.