By Chaz Kangas
By Katherine Turman
By Phillip Mlynar
By Harley Oliver Brown
By Abdullah "T Kid" Saeed
By Matt Caputo
By Devon Maloney
By Chris Chafin
Clues to the lurking presence of Lansing-Dreidentheoretical authors of the evening's art show and late-night concert, though they wouldn't quite participate in eitherwere, pointedly, everywhere. At the gallery opening beforehand, tiny white triangle signatures hid alongside elemental penciled-in shapes, just across from a nearby white trapezoid; both were sly references to the geometric figure that graces the band's cover art. Into the crowd somewhere blended the three or so phantom members of Lansing-Dreiden, evidently, making a spectacle out of not really being present at all.
Later, L-D Section II climbed onto an Annex stage, as carefully collaged and colored as the earlier art on the walls. On view: a three-piece, all-white backing band, along with two frontmen, both black, one clad in all white, the other in a white top and black bottom, holding black and white tambourines respectively. These five guysand no one from Lansing-Dreiden properwould take the audience's gaze instead, paid and polished in the name of art to stand in for the music's real creators.
The songs, off The Dividing Island, Lansing-Dreiden's new record and the one certainty of the night (we were there to celebrate its release), cast their own difficult spell. Impossibly allusive, their grinding shimmer of a single, "A Line You Can Cross," was a better cover of "Cruel Summer" than the one that shipped (Canadian) gold for Ace of Base; elsewhere, their New Order drums-and-keyboards wrecked Culture Club, the Fixx, or Roxy Music with the same twisted faith. Derivative to the point of originality, their music made Reagan-era familiar sonics strange.
So who was responsible for what? With the actual creators out of the frame, our attention was up for grabs; some took the opportunity to instead point cameras away from the stage and into the good-looking crowd; others wailed like the starstruck kids they used to be, hot for the eerily precise Milli Vanilli act worked by the two guys up front. Lansing-Dreiden gave commands from wherever, and the band onstage followed the script, but it sounded right anyway: Who could doubt that the sweat soaking the five white shirts onstage by the set's end was real?