The exaggerated stage show of the Ssion—the art-punk music collective that's been hailed as the Next Big Thing off and on for nearly five years now—manifests perfectly the hierarchy within the group. Mustachioed frontman and queer visionary Cody Critcheloe sings the group's high-energy dance tracks from an elevated platform center stage, prancing atop a huge cardboard mouth. J. Ashley Miller bangs out keyboard melodies off to one side, as befitting Critcheloe's right-hand man. Two svelte look-alikes with noses painted black like cats strut at the front of the stage with choreographed moves matching those of their leader. And then there's The Woman, popping up here and there when she so desires in her cleavage-bearing power suit, moaning and strutting and looking generally unimpressed but totally in control. Video flashes behind the spectacle, and those graphic elements repeat in the costumes and the set; the whole thing often feels like live animation. It's all meticulously planned and admirably executed—much to the delight of the packed house at the Annex's Ruff Club party Friday night. Even I was singing along. And... More >>>