KIDS ON TV with DJs UNKNOWN , JORDAN DARE , FELIX and BARBI as part of RETURN TO NEW YORK at the Mod Club Theatre, July 22. Tickets: $15. Attendance: Sold Out. Rating: NNNN
I got a little freaked out at 11 pm when the girl holding the clipboard at the Mod Club told me Kids on TV wouldn't be on till 4 am. The idea of being cooped up in a dance club for five hours was bad enough; suffocating on a night that lamely tried to recreate some kind of hip 80s New York City discotheque vibe was my own personal definition of hell.
Luckily, she was wrong, although watching hot people dance poorly (which was all a non-dancer could do, since it's impossible to converse when Ride The White Horse is blaring, natch) made even the brief wait seem gruelling. But then, like a bolt of lightning, the Kids came.
They dashed out in elaborate costumes of 45 records strapped across their arms and backs like angels' wings. Frontman John Caffery asked if everyone was ready to burn up the dance floor. Check. Then the creative collective got right to it, kicking hardcore, rap and punk shit (much of it in the Mike D, Ad Rock and MCA vein) over beats bigger and shinier than Tyra Banks's forehead.
The trendily fauxhawked Caffery's burlesque roots have built him into an ideal frontman, but Kids on TV work best as the sum of their constituents, when drummer Minus Smile bangs it out over the punching beat machine manned by Roxanne Luchak , and Chris Mills fortifies the vocals. Once or twice, Smile, the band's biggest member, came up to sing lead, and his strong but goofily smooth voice, reminiscent of that of Mike Flowers (of the Mike Flowers Pops Orchestra), made that a treat.
One big moment was a track written about and dedicated to Jeremy Laing, founder of Parkdale rap night Big Primpin' (which cracks off next Saturday at Stones Place, FYI). The song set an oddball fashion show in motion.
The only things amiss were Luchak's limited involvement and the guitars played near the end, which seemed more decorative than anything else.
In the end, Kids on TV's ingenuity and over-the-top fabulousness made me truly believe for the only time that night that I was in a NYC club circa 83.