Home

It’s a somewhat familiar story: if Perfect Pussy’s name was different, they’d be unavoidable. Everyone from the elder statesmen at NPR Music to the pulse-followers at [name your favorite music blog] has been swept up with the pace, aggression and attitude these punks deliver while managing to maintain a melody. Even their mere four-song, 12-minute EP made best-of lists in 2013.This year they have a full album—10 songs, 30 minutes total.

But bands like Perfect Pussy have an inherent ceiling based on nothing more than surface-level semantics. Certain labels, bands, venues and/or media outlets won’t (or have to bend over backwards to kinda, sorta) work with an act no matter how much cats have been referenced in interviews. For Perfect Pussy and its growing audience, it’s not all bad—the band’s live show ethos is tailor made for smaller venues anyway. So a recent trip to NOLA found them at Uptown’s tiny Gasa Gasa, just a month after Perfect Pussy played a black box theater on the west side of town.

As you’d expect, Perfect Pussy is simply (and crudely) punk as fuck. Now, NPR’s Bob Boilen has attended multiple Perfect Pussy shows without bodily harm. This is not an OBN III, 80s scene homage situation. But Perfect Pussy is extremely business-like in its pursuits. The band nonchalantly strolls in, sets up their equipment quickly, and plows through a blistering set just as fast. The motion never stops. The noise never stops. Songs seem to flow right into each other, and before you know it the set has blown on by. It takes longer to process what was observed than it does to experience it the first time. The band’s performance started a little after 11 p.m., hearing didn’t return to pre-show ability levels until 12:36 a.m.

There’s an extremely basic question on the minds of fans idling around wondering what just happened after a Perfect Pussy set. Did I like that? Was that “good?”  Well, can you technically review a show where the music largely cannot be interpreted? Perfect Pussy in this sense is an inkblot. An audience member takes away whatever it is they enter the show with to an extent—if you like the album (and it’s fast, fun, edgy), anticipate high energy (check, 17 minutes of fury) and seek out a true “punk experience” (the band has middle fingers raised and no concern for levels), then it’s easy to walk away satisfied, perhaps even stunned. But Perfect Pussy’s reputation isn’t merely their live antics. The band’s two recordings earned hype for a reason; they’re both excellent. In this light, it’s disappointing to recognize the background twitches of “Driver” without being able to truly make out any of the song’s other individual components.

Even kids who proudly declare they’ve been on the band since their demo admit vocals were absent on this night; you could say everything beyond drums and synth were too but clearly the performance was loud because of multiple sounds. Ultimately, when discussing whether this was the fault of the venue (Gasa Gasa has a slight reputation for this) or if it’s the band’s intent, the answer was unanimous from the crowd—probably both, a split down the middle.

UseIt3

It’s a show you can’t handle every night (without plugs at least), and most probably wouldn’t like to. However, getting swept up in the whirlwind that is Perfect Pussy 2013-2014 is worth the price of admission. And while they remain named as is and perform without any caution for the semantics, admission will stay affordable ($10 for all this? Yes, please.)

UseIt1

 

Intended performance art: If Perfect Pussy live can be appreciated on a non-music level, it’s still not the band’s original intent. The openers at Gasa Gasa however—Canada’s Yamantaka // Sonic Titan (YT//ST)—turned out to be very focused on the performance being as artful as the sounds.

If seeing YT//ST cold, their initial appearance and sound-checking gives you a false impression. They’re all in black with Kabuki-style white face paint accented by lightning bolt-ish stripes. Double-bass is littered throughout the microphone checks. But while YT//ST is undoubtedly heavy, there is nothing resembling death metal throughout the set. This is a riff-oriented, gothic styled heavy rock band that can verge on trance. It’s the kind of area a band like Black Sabbath or Alice Cooper may have explored if they were born and raised in the Internet age of music. (For what it’s worth, YT//ST self-describe as “psych-metal.”)

UseIt2

 

YT//ST plays for nearly an hour, much longer than the night’s headliners. While there are a number of interesting high points—the single “Lamia” feels like it could be a Secret Machines track with a booming drum beat and soaring guitar leading the way; the band shows flairs of classical music competence through keys solos or operatic vocals—they could a bit learn from Perfect Pussy’s no-filler creed. YT//ST end the night with what feels like a 10-min plus song heavily reliant on dissonance, including a seemingly improvised jam-ending led by an organ solo. It’s like Ray Manzarek on drugs, though not in a way that lovingly reflects on The Doors. If the set was only 45-minutes, YT//ST’s night would be looked upon entirely as a positive for all its quirks and committed performance art.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s