Words and Pictures by Steve Stirling
Most of the artists involved in the Panache Showcase, which took over the Knitting Factory on Friday night, tended to emphasize style over substance (see: An Albatross). But in this respect, Los Angeles foursome The Mae Shi represented the exception to the rule -- they turn style into substance. The Mae Shi are a gigantic ball of energy and enthusiasm, marrying No Age-like showmanship and intensity to their anthemic spazz-punk musical catalogue. Though they supplemented their set with a few props, such as performing part of the show beneath a gigantic rainbow parachute that they unfurled over the crowd, it never seemed like a plea for attention and it worked well with the Day-Glo madness the group personifies. Floating on a sea of major key guitar melodies, a packed house easily bought into The Mae Shi's half-inaudible speed punk, half drunken sing-along. The foursome brought everyone along for a 45-minute ride, and by the end, few seemed eager to get off the bus -- myself included.