Gang Gang Dance at Crescent Ballroom, 10/5/2011

Gang Gang Dance, Prince Rama
Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Last night was weird. Really weird -- but it wasn't a bum-pissing-on-the-light-rail kinda weird. It was an interesting sense of "exciting confusion" weird. On screen psychedelic videos accentuated by dim red and blue lighting set the tone for what was an evocative, seemingly drug-infused night. Well, I didn't see any drugs, at least.

Having seen Gang Gang in the past, I had a good idea of what was bound to happen. The 15-minute jam sessions, the extended songs, the overall strangeness of lead singer Lizzi Bougatsos. But I wasn't quite expecting to be completely floored by the exceptional musicianship of such a well-structured band.

The musical execution was spot on -- the two guitarists, seemingly apathetic at the start of the show, got a little more animated as their set drew on. Buogatsos was well in, walking in with a half-full (empty?) glass of wine and her characteristic infectious enthusiasm.

The crowd wasn't half bad either, everyone seemingly entrapped within a deep trance of musical surrealism. Perhaps the mysterious smell seeping out of the men's bathroom contributed to this...

Gang Gang Dance seem to have perfected the art of loosening up a tough crowd. Directly reproducing their fantastic 2011 record, Eye Contact with no change-ups could have easily fulfilled this daunting task, but their overall playfulness, improvisation and the addition of a brand new song, made the night a heck of a lot more special. It takes a lot of charisma to move a Wednesday night Phoenix crowd, but somehow they pulled it off.

It'll be a shame to not mention the random dude (band member?), who's job apparently was to dance around and wave a make-shift flag. Oh, there was also the seemingly stoned bassist of openers, Prince Rama, sitting on the far left of the stage, fiddling with his guitar. Speaking of which, Prince Rama's set was quite a thrill to watch, it was in a realm of it's own - Just look at this photo.

Yeah, it was a really strange night.

Set list (incomplete & out of order):

"Glass Jar"
"Chinese High"
"Adult Goth"
"Thru and Thru"

Critic's Notebook:

Last Night: Gang Gang Dance, and Prince Rama at Crescent Ballroom.

The Crowd: Decent mix of hipsters + space nerds.

Recommended If you like: 15 minute+ instrumental jam sessions, oh and dance parties... definitely, dance parties.

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Ade Kassim
Contact: Ade Kassim