Saturday, November 27, 2004

The Blow, YACHT, Dear Nora / The West End basement / Nov. 18, 2004

I have many memories of the West End basement, very few of which are fond. This is the place where I got my nose broken at an Anti-Heroes show when I was a freshperson in college. This is also the place where I suffered through too many performances by ex-boyfriends’ lame-ass bands.

But this wonderful show, organized by the wonderful people at wonderful WBAR, Barnard College Radio, helped me erase some of those bad memories and replace them with good ones. I was a DJ and staff member at WBAR for all four years I was at Columbia, and I helped put on many a performance. So it’s always a treat to go to one of their events now and just enjoy it, rather than worrying about if the bands have signed their contracts, or who’s cleaning up, or if people are sneaking in without paying. Also, it makes me happy when WBAR shows attract a crowd, as this one did. It makes up for all those times ten people showed up to see Boyracer or Palomar or whoever.

Due to The O.C. (hey, some things just take priority over others), I missed openers Cynthia Lee and Knife Skills. When I arrived, Katy Davidson (a.k.a. Dear Nora) was doing her thing. Her music was flat and bland as usual, but she seemed like a silly, charming person who is probably fun to hang out with. She gave several shout-outs to Portland, and as I looked around, I realized that this was a pretty PDX-esque crowd. You know, lots of butchy girls and feminine guys all wearing multi-colored, mismatched secondhand clothes and carrying, like, Nalgene bottles and messenger bags. Why didn’t I move there again?

After Dear Nora, things picked up. YACHT (aka mister Jona Bechtolt), one such PDX-looking fellow brandishing a rainbow-striped bandana, danced spastically to deconstructed whiplash electro crunk dancehall booty bass tracks that reminded me of DJ\Rupture or Kid606 or one of those Tigerbeat6 people. When he started rapping, it was a flashback to classic Cex.

YACHT’s solo set was quite short, but he joined The Blow (aka miss Khaela Maricich) as her backup band. The beat to her irresistible “hit” “Hey Boy” (download from Fluxblog here) bounced off the walls as she set up, and by the time she actually started singing, a dance party was already in full effect. It continued for the remainder of her performance, which consisted of Khaela sweetly bleating and dancing like nobody was watching, while Jona spazzed out behind her. There were Christmas lights, a fake knife and a Star Wars t-shirt involved. She said that they were trying to write songs in different genres, so we got to hear a goth song, an electroclash song, and an r&b song they’re waiting to find the right diva for.

People always hate on the K records crew for being so happy and childish and “punk means cuddle”. Sure, it can get annoying after awhile, but I’ll take “punk means cuddle” over “punk means smashing some poor little girl’s nose in” any day.