Blonde Redhead: New York Bowery Ballroom

There's vintage clothing and geometric haircuts everywhere...

The Bowery Ballroom tonight looks like an art school lobby. There’s vintage clothing and geometric haircuts everywhere, and smoking seems to be a prerequisite for entry. It’s the kind of crowd you’d expect to turn out for a band like Blonde Redhead, a New York-based art/punk-rock trio consisting of two Italian identical twins and their Japanese muse.

The group steps out fashionably late (but of course) and assumes their positions with little fanfare. Proving to be a true goddess-at-a-glance, vocalist/guitarist Kazu Makino is sexy in a very cool way, and that’s before she displays her significant musical muster. Guitarist/vocalist Amedeo Pace joins her at a mic on the front lines, while his brother, Simone Pace, sits behind them on drums.

Blonde Redhead jump right into a set that is stirring, intense and strangely titillating. Starting with ‘Melody Of Certain Three’ followed by ‘Bipolar’, the group immediately demonstrate that they take their vocation very seriously. They never smile and it isn’t until after the eighth song, ‘Missile++’, that one of them speaks to the crowd. Makino’s tiny voice is unexpected after hearing her Bjork-like yelp so confidently jockey back and forth with Amedeo throughout the set. “Is it loud enough?” Makino asks timidly, commenting that she wished she could hear the crowd more.

The scene gets even more intense in the first encore. ‘For The Damaged’ appears to make Makino emotionally unstable, and in the next song, ‘(I Am Taking Out My Eurotrash) I Still Get My Rocks Off’, she screeches like a dolphin and ever so lightly touches Amedeo on the shoulder. A second encore brings more agonized tones from Makino and has her grabbing Amedeo’s ear and holding on for what feels like forever. The moment is uncomfortable, and beautiful, and it’s impossible to look away.

Mia Quagliarello