Pictureplane, Josephine and the Mousepeople, Hideous Men Rhinoceropolis August 28, 2009 Better Than: Getting high at a planetarium. Not that I would know.
This sort of feels like Travis Egedy's shot. As Pictureplane, he's got the national press (from Fader and Pitchfork) and a new album, Dark Rift, with some really, really good music on it, music that makes me think he truly believes the revolution is coming in one form or another. He takes the album and the attention on tour with him starting now, and he'll soon have America's cool kids dancing late into the night. Dancing and, just maybe, believing right along with him.
Friday's tour kick-off/CD release at Rhinoceropolis went off with a hitch or two. By the time Pictureplane ended the show with 45-odd minutes of colossal hum and blinding melody, it was 2:30 in the morning, too late to care about faulty mixers or imperfect levels, too late to care about anything but the beat, which was holding people upright who under any other circumstances would have succumbed to tall boys of PBR, greasy pizza and a nearby couch several hours ago.
Egedy was in orbit, calling the scene "the new real," and proclaiming this spot the epicenter of something big. He's home here, literally -- Egedy is one of several artists with a few square feet of plywood privacy in the back of the Rhinoceropolis warehouse.
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He wrestled with the aforementioned faulty mixer for a while at the start of the set, resorting to the house lights for a minute before clearing his synth of popcorn and ripping through what qualifies as a hit single in "Goth Star." It's a fractured, raw, enormous song, and he broke it even further on Friday, spacing the Fleetwood Mac sample beyond the rhythm of the song, cutting the synth melody in and out erratically, leaving the song less consuming than on the album but properly righteous anyway. This was the sort of set you tell your friends about, less because it's so good than because leaving the venue was akin to touching down after an hour of swimming through an outer space filled with so much smoke and noise and sweat you can feel it all in your temples.
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Josephine and the Mousepeople will accompany Pictureplane on tour and they played immediately before him on Friday. They didn't exactly upstage Egedy on his special night, but they definitely got close. Danny Shyman added primal clicks and thwacks to the electronic track as Avi Sherbill cried mantras through a microphone that may as well have been a megaphone he'd ripped from the hands of some future fascist, saying "Everything is not alright," over and over. He was wide-eyed and the crowd was in a minor frenzy, howling.
"His only one desire," sang Sherbill. "Was to be held, was to be held, was to be held, was to be held, was to be held...."
Critic's Notebook Personal Bias: I'm not the only one who was digging the sweet sounds of a synthesizer and a drum track this summer. Egedy's music is busy and often hard, but it's still got that feeling that the best is yet to come. Random Detail: Is that a Zamboni right against the fence of the junkyard behind Rhinoceropolis? Anyone? By the way: Hideous Men played as well, and that guy can warm the crap out of a crowd.