Hercules and Love Affair’s Kim Ann Foxman (left), Andy Butler and Nomi Ruiz work it Saturday at the Opera House.
Thu, Oct 16
Clap your Big Hands
Matthew Dear has produced and performed under a number of aliases over the years, swerving from glitchy techno to catchy electro pop depending on his mood. For his gig at Wrongbar, he was in full-on pop mode, performing with his Big Hands band and spending more time crooning into the mic than playing with his laptop.
There were still techno elements, but the overall mood was closer to the quirkier side of early-80s new wave and post-punk. Most of it worked exceptionally well, despite some weaker points toward the end of the set when the electronic aspects took over and the live energy suffered.
Overall a strong performance, but it still needs a bit of fine-tuning, or at least more material written specifically for the band format.
Fri, Oct 17
Let's get RTRD'D
Checked out the RTRD'D party at Augusta House, which is one of the many events loosely associated with the Friends Explode crew (others include Room Party, Family Affair, Lost Cats and Lisp). As you might guess from the vowel-hating name, the music and crowd tend toward the electro and indie dance scene, and pull in a lot of art school kids.
This time around, resident DJs Hi Mom and Hard Dough were joined by Famous Players, who've come a long way as DJs since their early days of jumping around while a pre-mixed set played. Now their mixing is fairly tight and creative, and they have a knack for getting this kind of crowd bouncing.
Sat, Oct 18
There was a ton of buzz for the first local appearance of the full-band version of Hercules and Love Affair at the Opera House, but also some trepidation. Many worried how the recorded tracks featuring Antony Hegarty (of Antony and the Johnsons fame, who has yet to perform live with Hercules) would translate live without his unique and arresting voice. Turns out there was nothing to worry about, since dual-threat vocalists Nomi Ruiz and Kim Ann Foxman are a formidable weapon on their own. And as strong a presence as Hegarty is, it's hard to picture him jumping around for an hour in front of a disco band, whereas Ruiz and Foxman clearly excelled at that kind of thing.
When we first wrote about Andy Butler's Hercules and Love Affair project, the album had yet to come out (neither had the single Blind).
Over the last year, the band has blown up large. Running counter to the hard and noisy sound dominating the indie dance world, theirs is unashamedly rooted in classic house music and disco, and proudly gay in a time when that aspect of the music's history is largely buried.
It was vindicating to see a packed club of hipsters going off to a band fronted by a gorgeous transgendered diva and a button-cute dyke, performing songs clearly inspired by a genuine love of dance music and its history.