It was from in front of amps draped with Mexican flags and an enormous psychedelic mural, which encompassed the entire back of the stage, that the Mars Volta unleashed their sonic fury on Friday night at Chicago’s Congress Theater. The band stood six members strong on stage, but the brunt of the performance fell on the shoulders of the band’s founders and chief songwriters, guitarist Omar Rodríguez-López and vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala. This was just fine by them.
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There are, of course, lots and lots of hopeful comedians who have put videos up on YouTube. Some of these videos become wildly popular; many more are viewed only by friends, family, and those who stumble upon them accidentally.
Anyone who pays attention to the view counts in the lower right corner of the videos on YouTube has probably wondered why a video like “Charlie bit my finger – again!” has been watched about 120 million times while other equally (or more) entertaining videos go largely unnoticed. Chalk it up to chance.
This post is an attempt to draw attention to the videos of New York-based Pangea 3000, a group of comedians whose carefully-constructed, always original, and, at their best, hilarious videos haven’t quite caught on yet.
Members of the group have enjoyed success contributing to The Onion and appearing on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon; all signs indicate that these guys are ready to explode. Check out the video I’ve posted below (and, if you dig it as much as I do, continue to Pangea 3000’s channel on YouTube), and you’ll be able to say you knew them when.
If weirdness is wonderful, CocoRosie has a handle on being amazing live. Striking in their colorful and unique outfits, Sierra and Bianca Cassidy had an undeniable stage presence. Of course, the true advantage in being eccentric is that you end up putting on a live show that must be seen to be believed and is much different than the vast majority of bands in your genre. You easily become a desired and, sort of, craved spectacle and the crowd can’t help but want more.
As biological sisters, it comes as no surprise how comfortable Sierra and Bianca Cassidy are with each other on stage. While Sierra alternates impressively between harp and piano, Bianca takes control of the strange toys. Juxtaposed with Sierra’s graceful soprano range are Bianca’s strange and twisted vocals. They’re a touch Joanna Newsom but still quite original. It’s like mixing the sour and the sweet together to create a perfect balance of the bizarre and appealing.
In some ways, their performance Friday night at Chicago’s Logan Square Auditorium felt like operatic hip-hop. The two talented sisters had three men playing backup to their own vocals and playing, including an engaging beatboxer who won the crowd over easily. It was difficult to see the support as they stayed in darkness behind the two sisters but nonetheless their presence was felt and only heightened the appeal of CocoRosie’s songs. The setlist alternated naturally between tracks that the crowd could easily dance to and more nostalgic songs that were nonetheless heartfelt throughout the hour and a half show.
With three albums to their name, CocoRosie was a rare treat to see live as they have not toured in quite some time. The capacity crowd, enraptured, stood ready to enjoy songs throughout their career. One of the songs that came off best, however, and put the crowd in a state of awe, was one of their oldest songs: “By Your Side” from 2004’s La maison de mon rêve. Between their stage presence, eloquent sense of grace and playing for the full effect, it wasn’t difficult for CocoRosie to completely win over their audience.
At the Valve, Bill Benzon was wondering about ideology and aesthetics:
I’ve got a question about people’s expressed aesthetic preferences: Does it reflect their sense of immediate satisfaction with the work, a superimposed identity or ideology, or something else?
This is something I’ve thought a lot about, for better or worse. Most of my ideas about it are derived from Bourdieu’s Distinction and Eagleton’s Ideology of the Aesthetic.
First, when tastes become reflexive, consciously curated, they become predominantly signaling mechanisms: we want to project a certain identity through the tastes we choose to advertise and by managing carefully to try to conceal the tastes we think are less flattering to us. That’s almost self-evident, I think. At the point when we are trying to catalog our own tastes, the sense of it being our “real” taste is gone—one can’t know one’s own aesthetic response, for to think it is to destroy its spontaneity. Identity—if there is such a thing that predates our self-fashioning—is probably like that too; we glimpse it only by accident, only while we are trying to see something else. It’s much easier and much more convincing when others tell us who we are and what we are like and even what we seem to enjoy than for us to know ourselves directly—our self-knowledge is too distorted by wishes, secret shame, denial, grandiosity, modesty, and a variety of other expectations we are always in the process of juggling.
Releasing: 27 October
Duo Mike and Elliot have turned Glass Ghost into something more than another hipster band from the New York City scene. After various previous projects, Mike and Elliot have finally found the right formula for their talents in Glass Ghost. The first two singles, “Like a Diamond” and “The Rain” of their new LP Idol Omen offer a lot to the listener; both musically and lyrically. With trancey beats, and bouncing rhythms, this is perfect coffee house music. Supposedly the album’s narrative follows a metamorphosis of the modern business man into….what, exactly?
01 Time Saving Trick
02 Mechanical Life
04 The Same
05 Like a Diamond
07 What I’ve Seen
“Like a Diamond” [MP3]