Kim And The Created, Espresso, The Paranoyds And SadGirl At The Teragram Ballroom, Saturday December 17th 2017
On Saturday, Dirty Laundry TV had a special holiday show at the Teragram Ballroom, and four upcoming bands performed in succession, two of them were unknown to me, while I was already quite familiar with two other ones.
Espresso, a dynamic young trio started the night just when I came in, and their music got really hard to describe as they progressed, they were poppy despite the red Black Flag shirt worn by one of them, but also jazzy and very funky, with a lot of room for the bass, and some abrupt accelerations in ska or reggae-ish departures. They had slow-motion moves then outbursts of energy, but basically they were all over the place in a good way, surprising me at each detour and the biggest surprise of all was probably a trombonist getting on stage for a song. These youngsters seemed to be at ease in every corner of their inventive songs, and if they describe their music as ‘psychedelic skate funk’ or ‘funky ass music’, and draw their inspiration from bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Doors or Sublime, I truly enjoyed the Flea-like moves of their bass player.
Next, the Paranoyds charmed us with their punk pop songs and Christmas garlands for necklaces, as they were an almost all-girl band except for a guy on drums. Below the shouted at unison vocals and the heavy garage rock vibe, they could have a dark psychedelia in the keys going on, and enough rawness and dissonance to be credible. The music was poppy at times, while riding a retro wave, slowing down at the right moments, and keeping a sort of dissonance in the vocal harmonies that reminded me about X’s John Doe-Exene Cervenka signature vocals, done in a more girlie fashion. Talking about fashion, they were real babes, and hadn’t lost any of their femininity in their punk riot grrrl fury, which is not a surprise when you know that one of them, guitar/bass/vocalist Staz Lindes, is Yves Saint Laurent’s new muse.
SadGirl was another eye-and-ear candy, but for girls this time, as this band of boys, fronted by Staz’s brother, Misha Lindes, had an aggressive retro-surf sound that I already had the pleasure to enjoy at Save the Smell fest. They probably were my favorite band of the night, with their punk energy injected into a mix of surf-fuzz-doo-wop sound. With his 50s rockstar look, Lindes started a ferocious mosh pit with a few surf guitar revival instrumentals, then calmed the fire with plenty of emotion in the vocals during tender-languid slow songs, which sounded like 60’s covers – they actually recorded an Elvis Presley cover. He was holding his guitar tight and high during the most ferocious punk-surf-rock outbursts, while he was rocking an occasional curl lip… SadGirl was the ultimate girl group going punk on us.
Then Kim and The Created took the stage, and when Kim takes the stage she really means it. It’s spectacular and violent, it’s a hurricane and a lighting bolt and every time I see her, I almost forgot about the music as I am too absorbed by her wild moves, which go from jumping from the drum set to back rolling on stage with her guitar. She is certainly a restless performer, looking possessed by the ghost of punk rock, making the most acrobatic contortions on stage, giving everything she has each time, struggling with her instrument while looking like a manic fury trying to reinvent glam or hard rock (I am not sure) with furious fuzz and a distorted guitar. May be she is trying a bit too much? May be she should slow down a bit? On record, she sounds tame in comparison, as her live shows are well above the nasal garage rock of her recordings. This time she had brought a few Kim-ettes for a few songs, a few girls in cat suit, but honestly, who can look away from Kim when she is on stage? She is unstoppable, she jumps in the crowd and continues to play in every possible position, like a demented musician high on acid and punk rock history. During a show, there are a lot of chances she will kneel down in front of you and look at you right in the eyes while screaming her rock songs, and it is a stare you can’t forget.