Blonde Redhead @ Webster Hall, 11/03/10

Last Wednesday, November 3rd, Blonde Redhead returned to the stage for their first of two performances at Webster Hall since playing at Brooklyn’s Prospect Park in the summer of ’09. This was our first chance to hear songs off their latest release, Penny Sparkle.

The opening act, Pantha du Prince, warmed us up with music that was both atmospheric and mysterious. Beginning his set in a very intriguing way, he used his contact microphone and a glass of water to coax rich, multidimensional sounds, which was the most interesting part of his performance.
[all photos by Christine Thelen]

Then Blonde Redhead took to the stage. Shrouded in low lighting of blues, pinks, and oranges, the stage flickered with light from orange carbon filament bulbs. Kazu Makino entered the stage wearing a horse’s head mask, complete with long horse hair, and performed the first song, “Black Guitar,” with husband and guitarist Amedeo Pace. She’d later take it off, but then put it back on again for the end of the show.

Perhaps it was the crowd, a possible head cold Makino was fighting, or just the overall calamity that can be found on Penny Sparkle, but the atmosphere was extremely low-key. The most animated shouts and screams came when the band played songs off of older albums like 23, Misery Is a Butterfly, and Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons.

Whether or not Kazu had a head cold that night, I was happy to see her dancing because I’m a big fan of her stylistically hypnotic and sometimes frantic movements. It was also lovely to watch the subtly romantic way Kazu and Amedeo interacted with each other while performing onstage. At certain moments, Makino would utter sweet “thank-yous” and make tiny dedications to people she knew in the audience.

Some of my favorite performances of the evening included many songs of Penny Sparkle, like “Here Sometimes,” “Oslo,” and “Spain” because they matched the mood of the night. Additionally, Kazu, Amedeo, and brother Simone Pace showed us why it makes sense to love the song “Spring and by Summer Fall.” Perhaps the most satisfying part of seeing them live that night, however, was the rare double encore, a special treat that may have contributed to that really peaceful end-of-show vibe I got. The plethora of kisses Kazu blew at the audience when exiting the stage showed us that Blonde Redhead truly has a special place in their hearts for New York, where they first started seventeen years ago.

Set List:
Black Guitar
Here Sometimes
Dr. Strangeluv
Spring and by Summer Fall
In Particular
Will There Be Stars
Not Getting There
Falling Man

first encore:
Melody of Certain Three
My Plants Are Dead
Penny Sparkle

second encore:
Love or Prison

Check out my video of Blonde Redhead’s live performance of “23”

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About Christine Thelen

Christine is a music writer, photographer, and English teacher living in New York. She's been writing for Short and Sweet since 2008 but writing about music since 1999. She loves photographing and interviewing bands most of all. Notable interviews include Underworld (England), Supergrass (England), Gorky's Zygotic Mynci (Wales), Hefner (England), Zero 7 (England), Nylon Union (Slovakia), Clinic (England), Hundreds (Germany), Nive Nielsen (Greenland), Alcoholic Faith Mission (Denmark), Captain Fufanu (Iceland), and the Postelles (NYC). Watch her on the ShortandSweetNYC Youtube Channel.
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