After concert hopping for the majority of my college career, I have come to realize the importance of performance space to a show’s success. This was on my mind Monday night, when I went to see a KDVS presents show at the John Natsoulas Gallery.
Having gotten there early, I stood in the middle of the main showroom. How unfavorable the gallery setting is for live performances, I thought. The barren, concrete floor and the high ceilings made me wish for the intimacy of small clubs and house shows. Before the show even begun, I had convinced myself that the conditions of the setting couldn’t allow for a satisfactory experience.
And then I was proven wrong. As the cold and wretched audience began to filter in, Mama Buries – comprised of KDVS deejays Sharmi Basu and Julia Litman-Cleper – took to the floor. Their set began inconspicuously; the two intermittently jabbed at their instrument producing unusual notes and timbres. Not long after, using loopers and delays, they began stacking noise – slowly creating a dense, cascading wash. But just as the throb of the music began to really draw me in, technical difficulties forced the set to be cut short.
Sacramento’s Fancie performed next. Adorning a baseball cap and Aladdin pants, Fancie commanded the audience’s attention before she uttered a note. Strangely, she took her mic and stood in the furthest corner of the gallery. Prerecorded music began blasting and an accompanying video projected onto the gallery walls. The audience stared in awe at the sublimity of Fancie’s silhouette being dwarfed by the giant projections.
Monday night’s show was peculiar, but struck an agreeable balance between the abstract and the conventional. The noise portions were soothing and accessible, while the more pop-oriented compositions had enough weirdness to still remain interesting. Grandmother Ham and Poppet closed the night with outstanding performances.
BORIS FREYMAN can be reached at email@example.com.