(photo credit: ORIT PNINI)
Barby, Tel Aviv
Barby Club concertgoers always seem pretty bloody pleased with themselves. They’re prepared to sing not only the lyrics, but the instrumental bits too.
Who better then to pour an endless flood of love reciprocity right back over them than Blonde Redhead, a band whose musical output – for over 22 years, mind you – has consistently kept a firm arm wrapped around their fans.
On Saturday night, they treated the spirited crowd at Tel Aviv’s premier indie hangout to (mostly) a taste of their latest studio offering, the atmospheric Barragán
Given the extensive nature of the band’s catalogue, it might have been expected that the band would ply a heritage approach, but there was hardly anything backward- looking in the way Blonde Redhead actually sounded.
The opener was a statement of intent, a two-minute version of “Barragán
” (the opening track on the exotically titled ninth album of the same name). The sound drifting forward with hypnotic intensity covered the venue like a fog. Ambient noise seeped from the stage – the sounds of typewriters, birds, rustling leaves – and punctuated the empty spaces in the audience.
The gathering of Japanese lead singer Kazu Makino’s ghostly vocals, Amedeo Pace’s unbridled My Bloody Valentine-like guitar handling and Simone Pace’s feeling for filmic percussion textures was a perfect match for the crowd’s taste. It’s a genuine pleasure to watch three musicians share an effortless musical conversation. They remained utterly transfixing, as exemplified on songs such as “Mind To Be Had.”
The most entrancing part of the entire performance was how spontaneous it all felt: songs seemed to appear, coalesce and then crescendo all by themselves. You’re swaying, you’re standing still, and then you’re banging your feet in time with Simone’s beat. This is music for getting in touch, for knowing yourself better. “Doll is Mine” conjured an animalistic roar from the crowd.
Bursting through the synth stabs of “Dripping,” arguably the best track on Barragán
, Makino and her angelic coo oozed across the stage toward her real-life partner Amedeo: “I saw you dripping sunlight/I saw you dripping moonlight,” and it became clear that they’re connected to each another with an invisible tether and find every excuse to tug at it so as to draw closer.
The closing encore “23” proved a vibrant, sticky beast; the sound inside the heads of Blonde Redhead. It left Makino scrambling down to hug those at the front of the crowd. Then, when it ended, the famously introverted frontwoman said goodbye. She looked almost relieved.