Ill Ease at ease
Word started spreading late last week that one-woman Brooklyn indie blues band Ill Ease would be the special live guest at Friday night's No T.O. party at the Beaver , which is something of an odd fit for an event supposedly about punk-funk and no wave.
Using a couple of looping effects pedals, Elizabeth Sharp built up her laid-back but edgy grooves while moving around from the guitar to the bass to the drums, grabbing riffs and singing her wry lyrics while Will Munro and promoter Mikey Apples moved the mic stand around for her. It's an interesting way to perform, but you couldn't help but think it must be a pain in the ass to load and unload the gear for a full band when you're only one person.
Lust for Kicks
Stopped in at 751 Saturday night for the weekly Lust For Kicks shindig, an eclectic night where you can hear everything from electro and classic rock to hiphop, mash-ups, indie and pretty much everything else. This week, the cheekily named MRSKRFT 1979 were playing upstairs, and no, they're not a MSTRKRFT alias -- they're very much female and definitely don't have moustaches, and word is that they're being forced to stop using the name and will now be known as Cease & Desist.
When I commented on a Pat Benatar song they'd just played, they surprised me by actually asking if I had any requests. Most DJs look like they're trying not to roll their eyes if you ask for a song.
Downstairs, I was surprised a second time while checking out the resident DJs, Famous Players . The room was packed, the crowd was going off, and the mixing sounded better than you'd expect at this kind of event.
After squeezing through the crowd to the DJ booth, I was amazed to see that the mixes were happening without either DJ touching the mixing board. Neither would answer my questions seriously. It turns out they sometimes make their mixes at home and just dance around while the pre-recorded session plays.
Back in the 90s, certain big-name DJs were frequently accused of faking their mixes, but this is the first time I've ever seen anyone actually pretend. Speaking as a DJ, let me say that it's incredibly disheartening to see a room of kids going crazy for the mixing equivalent of lip-synching. On the other hand, the party was happening, and chances are the transitions sounded better than if they'd been done in real time.
Still, if this is tolerated, how long before we get rid of the DJs altogether and just put on a mix CD?
Later on Saturday night, we checked out the Bassbin Twins at Footwork , who were in town playing a makeup gig for their last cancelled performance. Though they often get classified under the breaks heading, it's a bit of a misnomer since it's only a small part of what they do. During their set, you heard bits of techno, house, some rock remixes and, of course, a smattering of breakbeats. The crowd seemed really into it, following them as they changed up tempos and moved from well-known anthems to less obvious tunes. Some of it suffered from a bit of cheesy, dated rave baggage, but as long as you didn't take it too seriously it was quite enjoyable.