There’s a difference between being awesomely weird and being completely and heart-wrenchingly awkward. Lady Gaga, whose terrifying and amazing stage presence had us believing that someone really did eat her brain, is one example. And then there’s last night’s show at Santos’ Party House.
We walked in around 9 p.m. (it started at 7) with the hopes that we had missed the first few acts. The show included a handful of LES performers showcasing their talents–Narcissister, Bad Brilliance, Cherie Lily, Andrew W.K., and Roxy Cottontail included–and a clear star attraction: Jonte, more commonly known as Beyonce’s choreographer. Unfortunately, we were right on time. Let’s just say that Roxy Cottontail’s outfit (yellow snakeskin leggings and a sequined bra) was much more memorable than her actual electro-rap performance. Her closing “Thank you” flurry was drowned out by a surprisingly pleasant mix from DJ Anton Glamb; the pounding bass that ran under a mix of baile, house, and club was a little much for that early in the night, but we’ll shout out the Baltimore Club remix of Mujava’s “Township Funk” because, well, it was rad.
Girls in glittery spandex roamed the crowd, as did a plate of Dante’s Fried
Chicken tenders (they sponsored the night). Those who had never heard of Bad Brilliance quickly spotted him onstage–the man dressed in a bright red suit buttoned up over his head, with a huge beach ball of a balloon floating above. He started his performance (if you want to call it that) by screaming a handful of encouraging phrases to the crowd: “Holy shit!” “It’s going down!” “We did it baby!” (Encouraging one onlooker to scream back, “What exactly did we do?!”) That went on for about 15 minutes before the yelling picked up from a different part of stage–oh look, it’s Andrew W.K., here to yell at you. Party party party, blah blah blah, shut up. I have a headache.
The bright-eyed Cherie Lily (Andrew’s wife) took the stage next with a posse of leotard-wearing workout girls (Think Eric Prydz’ “Call on Me”) and led them through a kind of cute dance-fitness routine. Cherie has a glowing smile and that certain endearing aerobic-instructor vibe necessary to convince strangers to do what you tell them to do.
By 10:30, the crowd had nearly tripled and pushed up against the stage to see the mind behind Beyonce’s “Freakum Dress” booty-dance. When Jonte finally strutted onstage, the show finally, officially began: Backed by amazingly sequined dancers, he ran through some of his own singles (including “Ya! Who?”) while rumbling through a perfect (seriously, perfect) dance routine that can only be described as “fierce.” Though we didn’t get any of Beyonce’s signature moves–not even the hand-flip from “Single Ladies”–we were begrudgingly impressed with the catchiness of his own original music. The ten-minute performance seemed to end as soon as it started, but it was probably worth the two hours we spent there, if only for the theatrics alone. “This party is filled with people who tried way too hard,” said a friend as we left. Cries of “This is a party! This is New York City! We like to party!” echoed behind us. Seriously, Andrew W.K., shut up.