Sunday, January 22, 2006

Serena-Maneesh 1.21.06 and a night with Pica

by Charlotte Deaver

After racing down Avenue A to make the 12 am show at the Mercury Lounge, I waited another half an hour before the band began to play. I was late (or, so it turned out, not) because of an amazing dinner with friends. Although plagued with a bit of "double-book" anxiety, I was mighty sad to leave them.

But the band finally started playing -- a simple kick-drum pulse and single, throbbing eight-notes on guitar and bass, which built up nicely in volume and pressure -- and we all forgot how long it took them to begin. This was rock and roll, the two-generations-ago kind, replete with psychedelics, pirate (gypsy?) costumes, and a tattooed Twiggy.

The band looked so cool. Too cool, you'd think, but for some reason they weren't. Twiggy thumped her bass (strapped hip-hugger low), transmitted not a word or smile from her beautiful stone-face, and only occasionally moved her hair away from her forehead. Usually someone like that would annoy the heck out of me. When I moved in closer to get pictures I had to push ahead of many-a-gawker. "I just want to get one shot of her," I said to this one guy, who just smiled and said wistfully, "Yeah. Me too." She was sexy, I have to admit, in that kind of inapproachable, passive way. And I loved it. See some great pics of the entire band at Brooklyn Vegan.

The leader of the band, though, was the true attraction. (And he's short.) He writes and plays just about everything on the record, and was so excited to be here, playing live to a sold out crowd in NYC, that he could hardly speak. For all the band's "affect," he seemed wholly invested in its music (as retro, in a way, as it is), as well as in its style and effect. His muteness was captivating, and his shyness endearing, not distancing. Yes, he was inarticulate, and he and his sister's vocals were practically indiscernible (just wisps of air and breath), but they are, in fact, simply Norwegian. This is a Norwegian, family affair.

So, as Norwegians, as guests in this country of war and hypocrisy, as far as I'm concerned, they can do whatever the F#@k they want and it'll be okay by me.

It will, and it was.

And did I say that the dinner was amazing? xo


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