The Legendary Pink Dots at Lee's Palace, May 29. Tickets:$20. Attendance: 200. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
I'm not sure how long Lee's has been doing it, but the Saturday-night policy of booking established bands with niche audiences to play early shows without opening acts so the club can double its biz by putting on British dance orgy Blow Up afterwards is a smart one. Arriving early, I thought long-lasting, ever-changing 80s electro-psychedelic group the Legendary Pink Dots would draw very few, but the place was soon fairly full of relaxed black-clad folk, many wearing T-shirts bearing the band's name.
With the hefty price tag, the show was designed to attract super-fans, or perhaps millionaires randomly going somewhere on a lark.
I must say that before this show I was hardly able to differentiate the group from regular pink dots, but now I know the difference. The Legendary ones dress funkily and possess only two of their original members, but the ongoing presence of vocalist Edward Ka-Spel and wild-haired keyboardist Phil "Silver Man" Knight has been all their fans have ever asked for.
As the four-piece quietly appeared onstage and launched into Casting The Runes, from 1987's Any Day Now, it was clear this was more of a swaying-oriented show than a headbanging fistfest. The song's sparseness was complicated by the talented guitar work of big black-T-shirted axeman Erik Drost and the horns of Niels VanHoorn , who seemed to be wearing some kind of acid-washed suit.
Ka-Spel, who was dressed in loose garb and loped across the stage, at first confused me with his hushed, almost inaudible vocals, but as the show continued, the subtleties of his voice and tone and his lack of banter or standard rock moves became part of his charm.
Knight's contribution was immediately evident, as the various sounds he reproduced from song to song ranged from orchestral effects and melodious bass lines to electronic clicks and hisses.
He was probably the star of the show, although the only really visceral presence onstage was VanHoorn, who got in the face of all in the front row and blew sax notes in their attentive faces. The crowd was mellow, but the show suited that vibe.