blonde redhead are a remark-able example of getting the most out of the absolute least.The New York threesome's minimalist art rock appears to just hang together by a thread, constantly on the verge of falling apart, but the group still manage to squeeze a massive sound out of just a few simple elements.
During Wednesday's Lee's Palace gig, Blonde Redhead stripped their sound down to the essentials. While Simone Pace banged out a churning, robotic rhythm in the back, his brother Amadeo Pace and Kazu Makino mixed it up between guitar, bass and vocals. Virtually every possible configuration was tried. A full-band attack was followed by bass and drums, then sample-enhanced guitar and maracas while the two up front traded shrieked vocals and Makino did some cool shimmy dancing across the stage and talked about Tim Hortons.
The music took some bizarre twists and turns, but even without the tiny circle of fans near the bar adding their own "la la la" accompaniment it was pretty catchy. In the process of slimming their arrangements down, Blonde Redhead have also straightened out most of their once-angular and unwieldy song structures.
For all the jagged guitar lines and harsh vocals, it was pretty close to pure pop. Don't try to sing along, though.BLONDE REDHEAD at Lee's Palace, November 15. Tickets: $13. Attendance: 400. Rating: NNNN