New York is back. I’m not just talking about AWK andThe Strokes. I’m talking about electroclash; the best thing to happen to New York since punk rock.
That sentiment has been repeated here so many times it’s already getting on people’s nerves. Promoter Larry
Tee’s posters for his electroclash festival were bombarded with stickers that said “Electroclash” could be the next
grunge – don’t let buzzwords and marketing exploit and destroy the
music you love!”
No matter how vigilant the backlash, never before have so many stylish people (a cross between fashionistas, ‘0s punks and French new-wavers)
from so many different scenes (gay, straight, girls, boys) gotten so turned
on and danced so hard for one kind of music in one place at the same time. When you see a really good show like Radiohead or Mogwai you enjoy the show and everything, but you don’t
feel like you’re part of something.
When you see old footage of Generation X or Eater you think, “Wow, that was more than a show. They were part of something big – a movement.”
The movement is this. We are no longer satisfied with MTV providing pretty people making heavy pop songs. We are no longer satisfied with British technophiles providing us with beats we’ve never heard before. European electro minimalism is good and we’re not totally sure why Stereo Total, Mr Velcro Fastener and International DeeJay Gigolo records is not enough, but what we want is strictly New York.
We want a tumultuous clash of the most daring fashion, the most mind-blowing stage shows, cutting edge choreography, hot, pretentious and sexy people with a sense of humour and we want the music to be a futuristic, irresistible and accessible fucking party. High demands to be sure but the pressure cooker of Giuliani oppression
(a now totally unfashionable term) and
a severe musical drought has forced it
It’s hard to get into the specifics of a five-day festival. At its worst you had bands like Peaches and WIT (Whatever It Takes) singing along, karaoke-style to CDs until you felt like you were at their house for a sleepover. At its best it was more culturally relevant than Woodstock and rawer than CBGBs.
Its best was the October 11 show at a fancy uptown club called Exit. The club has four gigantic floors of back rooms and lounges, so if you weren’t into the headliners you could burrow into some side-stage and check out a band you’ve never heard before, like Soviet. A five-piece, new wave, electro pop collective that sound like Roxy Music meets Suicide but with more Duran Duran in there. Crossover were another undiscovered stroke of genius. With only a few beats and some monotone vocal sassiness, two models in black leather facetiously tell us, [I]”Handle me with care/It’s controversial but I’m not Prince”[/I].
Of course every scene needs its demigods, and that’s where the $10,000 (poor Larry Tee) grand finale of Fischerspooner came in. The
songs are as ingeniously catchy as
an electro Queen, but the show is like (high-camp illusionists) Sigfried & Roy meets a drunken Cirque de Soleil. They blew people’s minds and then stopped and restarted and had to change onstage. It’s a Vegas show with the honesty and unprofessionalism of a punk soundcheck. Jaws dropped and girls screamed and there were so many people dancing
I lost my leather tie. It was beyond a show. It was a happening. The only
way to describe it is to say it was indescribable. Sorry but that’s why it’s
so good. Finally, something new.