Is it Studio B’s booking, or is there some ghost in the soundboard that reduces all who enter into Philly keyboard- loser-of-yore Atom and his Package? A night of gay Scandinavian disco seemed like a good antidote to some New York problems—sleepy eyes, weak drinks, girls hitting on me all the time—but whether via Bergen (Datarock) or Stockholm (Lo-Fi-Fnk), these cultural ambassadors both ended up looking like Brooklyn’s own Matt & Kim, fingering tinny keyboards and providing the always-fierce SB bouncers with a crowd full of easy prey.
No knock on Datarock, whose red tracksuits and peek-a-boo, hair-encrusted chests at least let you know they want to be loved. “Let’s party like in Scandinavia,” they boast, but they also cover “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” which must move crowds differently back home then it does in the U.S. of A., or possibly yields the same drunken sing-a-long 10-confusing-minutes-lasting slow-dance finale. Their disco-rock, sharp on record, skewed hard toward umpteenth-wave ska in person; their chant-rap songs—yup, raps—stood in for the rock they never quite located. If there is any justice in this world, word will get back to Fishbone that Norway is willing to hear “Party at Ground Zero” as many times as they care to come and play it.
Did I mention this was the final American show for both bands? Lo-Fi-Fnk’s last stateside song admonished the crowd (“You’re crashing the party”), but they were the ones close to bringing us down. The trio wore matching hats with tags still attached, and their kick-drum-on-the- fours, verse-chorus-verse “boylife” disco yielded only the ol’ Brooklyn-trademarked shoulder-dance and ponytail-tie—bottom of the barrel stuff as far as Greenpoint clubs go. They begged for darkness and got the lights killed, and subsequently danced better and sounded better— buoyant, shiny. But man, they needed the help. That night— sure, blame the lights—we all did.