Sunday, August 26, 2007

Queens shenanigans

It's incredibly difficult to pull off classic disco live, but Escort was up to the task at PS 1's Warm Up yesterday afternoon. The Brooklyn band has an intricate sound that incorporates both strings and horns, and I was wondering how it'd come across in a concrete courtyard. Sure enough the mix was rather muddy, but Escort overcame it to deliver a set whose old-school convinction made me teary at times. How they pull it off is obvious: They don't skimp. Not only were there 15 of them onstage, but the music sounded like something it really does require take 15 people to pull off.

Compare and contrast with sprawling indie-rock outfits like Architecture in Helsinki or I'm from Barcelona, who may have band members in the double digits but still produce a thin sound. It's as if they needed a separate person to play the triangle on one song—and then they'd absolutely need to bring that person along on tour as well, of course. It's an utter waste of resources.

Back to Warm Up for a sec: The crowd yesterday was the most mixed—in racial, gender, orientation and even age terms—I've seen in a long time, and it looked as if everybody was actually having fun. I wasn't overly impressed by the DJ (whose name I didn't catch) who was spinning right before Escort, however. Playing a rather long mix of "Supernature" is excusable if obvious, but Paul Simon's "Late in the Evening" is a bore, no matter how much you tart it up with a dance remix. Playing Hair's "Age of Aquarius" was fine but there was no need to follow it up with "Let the Sun Shine." Similarly, one ESG song is cool; two in a row is lazy. Come on, if you have an hour, don't waste our time by repeating acts!

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