Words and Pictures by Thomas Hauner
There’s something to be said about spending over 20 minutes to set up a set of flashing L.E.D. lights for a five-song set, one that was squeezed into an already tight lineup at that. Some artists, however, rely more heavily than others on a well-crafted image and persona to present their music and themselves. The two are, in fact, symbiotic. Thus it was appropriate that Cory Nitta, producer and vocalist, had possibly the most contrived outfit imaginable while still trying to pass for exactly that: An outfit, not a costume. All spandex and Mickey & Minnie tees aside, his music matched the already contrived tone set forth by being pretty much entirely pre-recorded. Just hit play.
Adding a live drummer and guitarist to enhance his electro-pop sound was a good move. The drummer was relatively in sync with Nitta’s post-programming execution, and the guitarist’s Cornflake-crunchy distortion added a much-needed tactile layer to the sound. A backup singer also flanked Nitta onstage, but looked noticeably out of place, as if his friend had signed him up for a talent show performance he did not entirely condone. Nitta himself was the eccentric stage-personality needed to match his eccentric image and sound. He jumped all over the tiny stage, pulled at his face and was constantly immersed in flashbulbs while singing “Hey Alligator”, among other songs. All this energy led to an anticlimactic end when he realized he had already performed his last song. I guess everything wasn’t programmed ahead of time.