John Maus, Boy Harsher, Katie Gately & more played Outline: Winter @ Knockdown Center (pics)
The inaugural edition of Knockdown Center's seasonal Outline series happened on Saturday, bringing together synth-heavy lineup of disparate acts under one big roof. Knockdown Center's main hall held both stages, with the smaller "installation stage" directly behind the main stage. Aya Rodriguez-Izumi's glittery curtains hung over the installation stage -- they reminded me of closed Williamsburg club Cameo Gallery, and made for a psychedelic backdrop for the main stage acts.
Knockdown Center was pretty packed by the time the one-two punch of gothy electro acts John Maus and Boy Harsher took the stage. Maus is back to playing solo, after a few tours with a backing band, and his intense, hyped-up style had the crowd going as he jumped around the stage that was, more often than not, entirely enveloped in smoke machine haze. Boy Harsher may have had just as a big a crowd, and their icy, pounding synth-noir sound sounded great in a big room like Knockdown Center.
Also on the main stage: Patience, the synthpop solo project of former Veronica Falls singer/guitarist Roxanne Clifford, played a fun set with a band that included former Flesh World's Jess Scott, while Ben LaMar Gay played a jazzy, experimental, noise-inflected set that featured flute and bicycle wheel percussion.
Over at the installation stage, Katie Gately headlined with a set that served as a record release show for her terrific new album, Loom. (Her family were there cheering her on.) Her arty, orchestral vibe and intense performance style sounded great though it's probably more suited to a smaller, more attentive room. Making best use of the installation's stage and it's ribbony, shiny curtains was cult new age artist Don Sleepian, whose set mixed euphoric, ethereal soundscapes with lounge-ier moments that had him covering "When You Wish Upon a Star" and other soundtrack nods. Surreal. Sound sculpturist Rena Anakwe opened Outline with a ‘Water activation’ performance which also sounded lovely under Aya Rodriguez-Izumi's shimmering artwork.
Pictures from the night are in the gallery above.
photos by Ellen Qbertplaya