When: October 23rd, 2016
Where: The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA
More wardrobe changes than the 2015 Grammy’s
It would be fair to say that coming into this show I was expecting a bit of kookiness, a bit of style, and a whole lot of fun and boy did I have absolutely no idea what either of these bands had in store for us. I had never heard of TEEN before but these ladies did not disappoint. The all female band comprised of sisters Kristina (“Teeny”), Katherine, and Lizzie Lieberson along with Boshra AlSaadi really know how to groove. They kicked it off with some psychedelic overtones and lead singer, Kristina, in her broad shouldered skirt suit and ripped tights addressing the crowd in a robot voice which I could only relate to HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey. A great way to get everyone off their heels and onto their toes with anticipation. Their left field sound, funky guitar riffs, synth hooks, and light drums immediately reminded me of The Talking Heads, a high praise as far as I’m concerned. Throughout the set, Kristina and Lizzie switch between lead singer and synth player. In between songs, they played a smooth jazz saxophone track which kept people jiving as they shuffled around prepping for the following song. I can see why these guys are touring with Of Montreal. The set was short but they as well as anyone knew what we were in for. Cannot wait to see where these guys go. Their old school sound and style are truly classic and will play well for some time to come.
After the opener, someone started passing out packs of balloons. I can only imagine this was planned by Of Montreal and a real homage to old school shows with beach balls running wild. The array of colors floating around with the (not so gentle) help from the crowd filled the air with excitement and delight that no emcee announcing the main act could. The lights dimmed and a satanic star shone on the background of the stage. The band came out all dressed in black cloaks that were quickly discarded to reveal front man, Kevin Barnes, dressed in a white lace getup and bright red tights kicking off their first song “It’s Different For Girls” the classic glam rock track off of their newest album “Innocence Reaches”. From here, two women came on the stage to join him, one in all green and the other in all blue spandex, both wearing masks. From this point on everything took off like a screaming rocket leaving the atmosphere. The spandex clad mystery women threw confetti into the crowd as the lights exploded in an array of shapes and colors that only could have been conceived in an acid trip Hunter S. Thompson would have marveled at. I could feel the energy from the stage half way through the audience, drawing me in closer and closer. From here they went into another off of their newest album, “Let’s Relate” which bled into one of their classics, “Wraith Pinned To The Mist”, off of their 2005 mainstay “The Sunlandic Twins”. After this they were onto another from the newest album, “A Sport And A Pastime”. During a lull in music Kevin removed his clothes down to his underwear and ran off stage for what would be his second wardrobe change of the show. While he was off stage, a stage hand dressed in the same full spandex suit as the mystery women from before except this time black, came on to grab the clothes he had left behind. When Kevin came back to the stage, he was dressed in a leather onsie. The vibrant kaleidoscope like backgrounds kept coming, continuing the visual assault on the senses of the audience as “Ambassador Bridge” began. After a few more songs and a few more wardrobe changes, the show got even weirder. The style that Kevin has and the sound and eclectic antics of the entire band can only be compared to that of the late great David Bowie. During a synth solo, the all black stage hand came out with an ostrich puppet on their arm and began to torment everyone along with 2 others, one wearing a rainbow flag and the other an american flag dancing around the stage holding hands seemingly unperturbed by their fowl friend. Nearly continual costume changes with the music left Kevin in only a short blue skirt and wig. He donned a sparkly shirt and a hat that read “GIRL” in big pink letters and continued on to the next song during which a big blowup penis came out and was arrested by 2 police officers wearing masks. While the officers were handling him during the arrest a sperm popped out of his head and started swimming around the stage. After this display, Kevin said he needed to leave and the band departed the stage. The crowd, of course, had not had enough yet and we let them know it. They came back on stage for the encore, playing “Suffer For Fashion”, a cover of Nirvana’s “The Man Who Sold The World”, and another cover of Prince’s “1999” during which the stage became a crazy dance party of all the characters that had appeared throughout the show, exhausting everyone who had energy left and a great way to sum up the night.
I was truly blown away by the performance. The entire show, opener and all were great. Everything was well thought out and played off of each other. Leaving I could not help but think of all the influences that The Talking Heads and David Bowie had on these acts, and our generation as a whole. The show truly captured the flow of music and culture and reminded everyone how ahead of their time those bands were back in their day. Bravo.
TL;DR LEGENDS RELIVED