Mt. Gigantic and friends
Sunday, Jan. 22 Bloomington-based Mt. Gigantic, during a particularly screamy sequence of their set When I showed up at the Duplex there were people in the living room doing Pilates in time with a video while the musicians tuned up downstairs. As best I could tell, the Pilates was being carried out in an entirely non-ironic manner. Odd things like this are why I’ve always ad a thing for basement concerts and house parties, quirky slabs of culture far outside the mainstream, the latter-day equivalent of an Antonioni film.
The Duplex Basement is becoming a regular destination for shows, right in the heart of Musician’s Row. Can’t tell you any more than that about its location, though if you’re savvy enough to know where I mean by Musician’s Row, you can probably get the hookup to figure it out.
First up was acoustic singer/ songwriter Ramona Cordova, from Philadelphia. He’s not a bad musician at all, but he affects a high falsetto that gets very old very fast. When he drops into more standard ranges, he’s quite good in a 1970s Cat Stevens kind of way.
NYC’s Kiss Kiss was the highlight of the show. Their sound is pure 1960s experimentalism, the soundtrack to a 1960s indie Brit film about mods. Imagine a more pissed-off Scissor Sisters with all the androgyny removed, the lead singer standing and pounding the keyboards while the rhythms are driven by violin chords. The intense syncopation gives them the sound of the off-the-wall Kansas material that never makes it to the radio, like “Magnum Opus.”
And at the last, the local guys: Bloomington’s Mt. Gigantic. Their heavily bass-driven rhythms were strongly reminiscent of the Pixies or the Breeders, with throbbing bass and shrieking vocals gliding into deceptively gentle melodies before the grand slabs of sound descend again. We’re talking great screamy epic musical breakdowns here.
The whole evening had a haunting feel to it, an echo of something that maybe never quite existed, like the soundtrack to the version of Heavy Metal that is much cooler in your memory than it is in real life.