Saturday, August 1, 2009

Vivian Girls @Whitney Museum, July 31st

It had been ages since the last time I paid a visit to the Whitney Museum. (I believe it was in 1995 when I saw an exhibit on the Beat Generation which included the 120 foot long scroll on which Jack Kerouac typed On The Road.) On this rainy Friday afternoon, I met Avra and her dad (who at first glance, reminded me a little of Gary Louris of Jayhawks and Golden Smog fame) for a quick jaunt through some great installations (do check out the Dan Graham and Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen ones).

We then headed down to the lower level for a brief respite before lining up with the rest of the museum-goers for the evening's entertainment. It is an odd space situated in the same area as the gift shop and cafe, with large columns awkwardly imposed right in front of where the bands set up. I did like the large window behind, which gave people the option to sit outside behind the band, or even for passersby on the street level to have a glimpse at the action.

The opener was this experimental music trio named These Are Powers. Even though we were in a contemporary art museum setting, I was not particularly in the mood for this sort of music, which lacked any sort of traditional melodic/harmonic structure. The lead singer, with her yelps and spoken singing, reminded me at times of Karen O from the YYYs, with a little Peaches and Marilyn Manson mixed in. There were certain elements of their songs I did like, but I probably would have enjoyed them more had there been a little more distance between me and one of the speakers. If they were in a proper venue with a raised platform, I think it would have felt a little less haphazard as though we were in someone's basement or rec room.

Next up was our primary reason for shlepping to the UES -- the recently much buzzed about all girl trio, Vivian Girls, of whom prior to yesterday I only knew of the origin of their name as being from a Henry Darger work. I really dug the raw freshness of these ladies, who moved through their songs swiftly and modestly. Their music has elements of '60s girl group harmonies, with a punk/surf rhythm and shoegaze fuzz to it. If I had to make quick comparisons, I'd say I was definitely reminded of the Raveonettes, Lush and The Breeders at times. I am quite pleased Avra suggested checking Vivian Girls out. I bought their self-titled first album after the show and look forward to their upcoming release.

Overall, a satisfying experience despite the dreary rain.

Thanks to the blog 50 Shows in 50 Days For Free for the linkage.

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