Jay-Z: Most Absent Röyksopp Concert-Goer Ever?



Not pictured: the dead chick from My Chemical Romance’s “Helena” video

Röyksopp + Annie
Webster Hall
September 21, 2005

Kudu + G. rizo
September 21, 2005

Enough re: Annie from me, but the Anniemal rock vibing is getting a bit transparent. Guitars on the big Annie banner, token live drummer (no bass drum, just a snare and a cowbell), a re-recorded version of “Chewing Gum” with splashes of arena rock guitar–marketing is what it is, fine, but I’d be bummed if the girl had to start holding a bass or pouring beer on herself, just because.

Incidentally, the “live drummer only” shtick exists in bar mitzvah land too. My dad started picking up gigs in Philly where he plays congas along with whatever record the DJ’s working; apparently the booking dude can get double-cash for the mere visual. Forget how pathetic it is that pops has to find a way to work congas into such staple gems as “Honky Tonk Woman,” “Unforgettable,” and “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore.” I’m curious to see when this jig ups and sample-based musicians and DJs turn to full-band holograms or a back-up band consisting entirely of animatronic U.S. presidents.

Röyksopp, outfitted in red shirts and black ties like Mensch-Maschine (or the dudes from My Chemical Romance), fake-drummed, vocoded, wore no shoes. I had heard these guys sold over a million copies of their debut Melody A.M., but always wondered who bought them exactly. No particular deme I could pin down, but Webster was packed and into it, unlikely for mostly static stage shows, in such a big space.

I stand by my claim that the Norwegian duo’s new one The Understanding is M.O.R. shite, new-age beyond recognition of their former icy forlorn. But to be fair, the record’s another case of where/how you listen to music greatly affects your take. Songs from The Understanding were meant to fill up Webster with their soapy new-age b-movie sex scene music.

The discovery comes just hours after my rare drive to Webster, when I realized that most Down South shit goes right by me because I’m listening to it on headphones, not in a moving car with several of loud dudes in the back screaming outside the window at old people. Same thing with free jazz; if I want to get Brötzmann, I have to be committing some sort of violent crime. All other crimes: Tori Amos.

The Repellent Zine party afterwards: a/k/a watch as NYC makes a go at post-trip-hop. G. rizo I caught first. Less d+b and more hip-pop (Fannypack, Avenue D on “Eye Wanna C U”), less noisy and more Moroder-ish, mutant disco (re: “Bang Bang”, who sang on Arthur Russell’s “Go Bang” again?) and euro-house (I’m feeling Spiller, Ellis-Baxtor on G. rizo’s Trio Exklusiv guest spot “Time To Feel“) and the slower jams, while mantric, still feel obliged to be songs. Beats make good records, but unless they’re loud enough, and unless the singer can actually sing, man does this singer-laptop shit flop.

Some songs sounds like bad Sneaker Pimps covers, oh well, but damn she can sing. The best was called “Voodoo Doll,” a disco-house Salsoul-flavored jam that, naturally, will never be released. From G. rizo, here’s why:

The voodoo doll track doesn't exist beyond the live show, it is in actuality a karaoke mashup--a combination of 2 different songs, neither of which are mine. The music is from "The Voodoo Rhythm EP" on a mysterious label called MONADS, the song name is "Hot Jungle Drums." I think this is a white label cuz I couldn't find anything on net for it. The lyrics are extracted from a song called "voodoo doll" by a French producer called Gilles Riberolle. The original was slow, dubby and chanson that I recorded vocals for in '97 when I lived in Paris, not sure if my version was ever released, but I thought the lyrics freely re-mixed, fit perfectly with the track. I am going to record my live version and put it on a dj mix cd, but I don't imagine this will ever be released. Will let you know when its ready.

After that, Kudu, billed the hottest live act in the city right now, toed a similar post-trip-hop line. Honestly though the duo (performed as a trio last night–yep, live drummer) is more kitchen-sink, more bizarre than creepy, and their voxist Sylvia G just has better fun, more the sexy red-blooded woman thing than the heroin heroine thing going on. Maybe I’m totally wrong here about NYC post-trip-hop then. The song I liked most is really just a house song anyway, “Bar Star,” and the In Flagranti City Mix the label’s streaming right now–at this very second–is worth a listen too. Kudu don’t make claims to genres so much as particular artists (the Debbie Harry vibes on “King Kong” are hi-fi), but check, most of the artists they like never made claims to genre themselves. Lots of neat stuff going on, but considering above, let’s see what happens when a major inevitably grabs them.

Weren’t expecting a photo down here, were you

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 22, 2005

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