The bill for Manimal Vinyl's showcase at the Echo last night had the label's self-proclaimed "Bolshevik disco" duo The Polyamorous Affair (ever-cooing couple Eddie Chacon and Sissy Sainte-Marie) as headliners. They did draw the bigger crowd, but they did not close the show. It's unclear whether they were following the small-club tradition of playing second to last, or else the industry-savvy Chacon realized the obvious -- the currently ascending missile that is Tearist is a really, really tough act to follow.
Next to the maelstrom of Yasmine Kittles' stage mojo (improving with every performance, by the way) fronting the understated beats of her synth player William Strangeland-Menchaca, The Polyamorous Affair and their "Afternoon Delight" jams look fit for a weeknight at The Dresden. (Memo to Marty and Elaine: you can go to Florida now--your 21st century replacements have arrived!).
The evening was bookended by the two strongest acts, both featuring unemotional synth boffin dudes backing screaming chicks with a fondness for distortion pedals and exposed brassieres. Opening act Laco$te's punk edge was credible, with singer X jumping, emoting, altering her voice, and going through the usual motions of stage abandon in front of her immutable rhythm providers (could it be that while more conventional 80s kids wanted to be Eddie Van Halen, a number of lankier types took Vince Clarke as their role model?). Laco$te's last number unsuccessfully attempted to start some moshing in the not-very-packed Echo, but the music was satisfying and way better than what was to follow.
Which was Zaza. Their MySpace claims they are from Brooklyn and you might think that given our still-on beef with the Borin' Borough we'd be biased against them. We're trying not to be, so we'll just say that, you know how in Bret Easton Ellis' Glamorama there are all these slightly-past-their-sell-by-date fashion models who reinvent themselves as nihilistic terrorists? Well, think "neo-shoegazing minstrels" instead of "nihilistic terrorists" and you'll get the idea. Also, the drummer (who is a very pretty boy) can't drum. This is a problem when you're trying to gaze at your shoes. It's distracting.
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Then Tearist was supposed to go up, but, as we just said, we got The Polyamorous Affair instead, who are very much in love with each other and want to tell the world about it. This is more endearing than the actual show they put on, which sounds like a Psychic TV rehearsal from 1986 where Genesis took too much ketamine and decided to half-ass everything. There are videos, borrowed synth beats (all in the same tempo--not a good idea unless your middle name is Bloody and your last Valentine), and the ever-lasting love of Eddie and Sissy, who might not be the best singers ever but we bet they're a lot of fun in a jacuzzi.
Half of the crowd (the older half) left after their set, which was silly because they missed Tearist and in a couple of years they're gonna be lying to their friends and telling them "Oh, yeah, I saw Tearist at the Echo when Yasmine Kittles was a nobody." But it will be a lie cause there were maybe 30 people there to witness the Divine Ms. Y and her sidekick in all their mad, thriftstore-Bjork glory. The duo has been in a studio recently and we really hope they captured their current live energy on record for people who don't get out much. Still, you should come out and catch them onstage for the full experience--those jerky dances, the Iron Age percussion, the torn leggings, the weirdo felt chicken suit, all of it. You won't regret it.