Posted in music | pictures on November 4, 2010

words and photos by Chris Gersbeck

Blonde Redhead

Blonde Redhead played their first of two shows at Webster Hall last night (11/3) with Pantha Du Prince. The party continues tonight (11/4) with Rain Machine (and not Taken by Trees or Pantha Du Prince). Tickets are still available.

There was a line outside of Webster Hall before doors opened shortly after 7pm that nearly reached the movie theater on Third Ave. Though I had read there were still tickets available on my way to the venue, I heard murmurs that it was sold out from people being turned away at the box office. Clearly, Blonde Redhead's two night stay in New York City, their first official show in the area since playing Prospect Park in '09 (they played private shows at 92Y Tribeca in August and Tribeca Grand after that), has been greeted with much anticipation following the release of Penny Sparkle.

Despite the line, the crowd was sparse all the way up until the beginning of Pantha Du Prince's set. I was somewhat familiar with the German musician's latest album Black Noise, but as usual I never know what to expect from a one-man act/producer whose primary instruments are electronic. Pantha took the stage right at 8pm, cloaked in his hoodie on a dimly lit stage, and quickly began tapping various pads and adjusting knobs creating an atmospheric layer of sound. Though he did have a laptop on stage, nothing about it seemed pre-recorded or staged. I've seen his music described as "minimalist", but as the set went on and his sounds became deeper and blanketed, his performance was anything but minimal. While there would often be a four-on-the-floor beat, on top of that would be a complex layer of synth and percussion, and occasionally a looped pre-recorded vocal track. Oddly enough, as his set was coming to a close and his wall of sound was hanging on a note, something abruptly happened and his sound was shut off, leaving a bit of an awkward silence followed by an enthusiastic response from the crowd. By this point, Webster Hall was completely full, and everyone was anxiously awaiting the arrival of the headliner. It's worth noting that when Radiohead's Myxomatosis was played on the P.A., the crowd let out a collective cheer. Note to Radiohead: new album and tour please...

The audience didn't have to wait long for the main act, as Blonde Redhead stuck to the set times and took the stage shortly after 9pm. Hidden behind a long white mask burgeoning with tufts of long blonde hair, Kazu Makino set the tone for the rest of their set: mysterious, somber, calculated and beautiful. The band started off slow, as Amedeo and Simone Pace, both incredible musicians in their own right, passionately tore through openers (and new songs) "Black Guitar" and "Here Sometimes" while Kazu enigmatically danced around on stage. Joined by a fourth multi-instrumentalist member, their songs stayed true to their studio counterparts; Blonde Redhead sounded as tight as ever.

There were some pauses in between the first few songs that I think made everyone a little nervous. The band quickly tried to switch from keyboard to guitar, from guitar to keyboard, from mask to no mask, but that's what happens when a band takes itself this seriously and doesn't exactly acknowledge the audience. Not that anyone seemed to care. As soon as Amedeo teased the audience with the guitar riff from "Falling Man" the crowd responded enthusiastically before being pummeled with some of the tightest rhythm work I've heard from a band in a while.

Simone Pace' sdrums can sometimes sound sequenced on recording, but not a song passed where I didn't recognize how integral a part he plays in this band's sound. It also became apparent as the set went on how seamlessly the band can go from a beautifully arranged synth-heavy song like "23" with Kazu solely on vocals, then watch her strap on a guitar and suddenly, they're a punk band. After two(!) encores, the band left for good. I'm quite certain tonight's audience will consist of many repeat fans.

Blonde Redhead are touring in support of their new LP, Penny Sparkle, out now via 4AD. If you are on the West Coast/Southwest, catch 'em on tour with Olof Arnolds.

More pictures, the setlist and video from Webster Hall last night, below...

Pantha Du Prince

Pantha Du Prince

Pantha Du Prince

Pantha Du Prince

Pantha Du Prince

Pantha Du Prince

Pantha Du Prince

Pantha Du Prince

Pantha Du Prince

Pantha Du Prince

Pantha Du Prince

Pantha Du Prince

Pantha Du Prince

Pantha Du Prince

Pantha Du Prince

Pantha Du Prince

Pantha Du Prince

Pantha Du Prince

Blonde Redhead

Blonde Redhead

Blonde Redhead

Blonde Redhead

Blonde Redhead

Blonde Redhead

Blonde Redhead

Blonde Redhead

Blonde Redhead

Blonde Redhead

Blonde Redhead

Blonde Redhead

Blonde Redhead

Blonde Redhead

Blonde Redhead

Blonde Redhead

Blonde Redhead

Blonde Redhead

Blonde Redhead

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Blonde Redhead

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Blonde Redhead - 23 @ Webster Hall NYC 11/3/10

Blonde Redhead @ Webster Hall NYC 11/3/10

BLONDE REDHEAD - SETLIST 11/3/10
Black Guitar
Here Sometimes
Dr. Strangeluv
Spring and by Summer Fall
Oslo
In Particular
SW
Spain
Will There Be Stars
Not Getting There
Falling Man
23
===
Melody of Certain Three
My Plants Are Dead
Penny Sparkle
Silently
Love or Prison

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Comments (23)

great show, great pics! not so into the new album but it sounded better live. too bad they didn't play anything pre-Melody, though.

Posted by Anonymous | November 4, 2010 12:58 PM

That light display behind them in the third-to-last photo looks amazing.

Posted by Anonymous | November 4, 2010 1:25 PM

it was amazing... it was 9 gold umbrellas that would light up and slowly dim.

Posted by Anonymous | November 4, 2010 1:27 PM

dude you should write for your school newspaper

Posted by Anonymous | November 4, 2010 1:36 PM

haha thanks! missed out on that opportunity unfortunately.

Posted by chris | November 4, 2010 1:42 PM

dude you should eat shit^

Posted by Anonymous | November 4, 2010 1:44 PM

Great writing!

Posted by Anonymous | November 4, 2010 2:04 PM

It was amazing, indeed. The stage design was fantastix!

That was the perfect set list. And if they play it again tonight, I'm cool with that..

Excellent Show ! ! ! !

Posted by The Accidental G | November 4, 2010 2:22 PM

Simone Pace - best drummer around.

Posted by Anonymous | November 4, 2010 2:26 PM

I thought this was my school newspaper.

Posted by Anonymous | November 4, 2010 2:33 PM

LOVED last night's show. Both Pantha Du Prince and Blonde Redhead were fantasic. Although I listen to both artists, I've never enjoyed either more than I did last night.

I would say more, but Chris' review says it all. Great writing and photos, Chris.

Posted by Dan | November 4, 2010 2:35 PM

Oh my, look it's becky at the merch counter!

Posted by Tyler | November 4, 2010 4:25 PM

who's becky?

Posted by Anonymous | November 4, 2010 4:38 PM

she's the chick at the merch counter.

Posted by Anonymous | November 4, 2010 5:27 PM

KAZOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Posted by Anonymous | November 4, 2010 5:38 PM

Great writing and pics. Really captured the evening.

Posted by Anonymous | November 4, 2010 6:19 PM

Last night ruled. seriously.

Posted by Anonymous | November 4, 2010 8:03 PM

Great drummer yo

Posted by Anonymous | November 4, 2010 8:06 PM

9 Umbrellas!!!

Posted by Anonymous | November 5, 2010 12:01 AM

Becky knows her merch like the back of her hand.

Posted by Anonymous | November 5, 2010 12:24 AM

that one's not becky, it's patricia. becky doesnt work wednesdays.

Posted by Anonymous | November 5, 2010 2:30 AM

well it's a good thing Refinance Mortgage Rates couldn't attend. would've been a real downer...

Posted by Anonymous | November 5, 2010 8:21 AM

I prefer Rebecca... and I do work Wednesdays if we have a show... Thanks everyone for supporting Blond Redhead by purchasing their merchandise...

Posted by Rebecca | November 5, 2010 3:24 PM

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