Wednesday night’s show at the Wonder Ballroom featured eclectic indie music + film from Sarah Shapiro, the Gay Deceivers, Pash(ly), and BARR (Brendan Fowler).
Sarah Shapiro’s two music videos, for her original music, are exhibits in low-fi filmmaking, elementary art, and wry humor. The first video, featuring cutouts of animals and trees, follows an animal love story, including a bear or raccoon drinking at a bar. The second video, which looks like it was filmed in a primary school cafeteria, includes BARR (Brendan Fowler) as an earth mother figure who befriends Shapiro. Both are whimsical movies that compliment Shapiro’s quiet indie folkpop.
The Gay Deceivers, two ladies who play raucous bass and guitar, with a guest drummer, ramped up the evening with heavy rock and punk music. I got the sense from the picture in the TBA guide that this was dance music; few people danced and the music was more abrasive than rhythmic. Of course you can dance to anything, and they were jumping on stage a bit, enthusiastic but mostly stationary. Low tech video footage of girls smoking, people dancing in streets, and space recordings projected on the screen behind them. One of the final songs, called “Metal,” involved screaming and thunderous guitar. The audience seemed happy.
Pash(ly) began with a sultry number, with Pash(ly)’s sensuous nonchalant movement. Behind her, a projection of live video of her dancing magnified the sensuality of the performance. Subsequent songs similarly featured video and music and dancing, and included rope rigging from a ship, among other props. The music was more danceable and yet forgettable than The Gay Deceivers, and the changes between songs took attention away from the performance.
BARR, aka Brendan Fowler, began by telling us the long story of how he came to TBA without a band (except for a bassist) and without a flawless recording of his new record. He was going to come and play the new record, song for song, with his band. But then they broke up. So he was going to bring the master recording of his new disc and just play that (for piano and percussion, etc.), but the digital copy had computer difficulties resulting in audible glitches. So he decided to just go with it and use the broken recording. BARR pressed play on the stereo and began talk-singing over his bassist’s live accompaniment. He sang indistinctly mostly, so it was hard to make out the lyrics for his songs of love, loss, and Gen X musings. The audience had dwindled quiet a bit, and the Wonder Ballroom was nowhere near the near-capacity crowd I saw the previous night.
Posted by Dusty Hoesly