Fischerspooner | 05.14.09

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live_fischerspooner_sm.jpgComing out between the dull sides of four mini-monolithic mobile mirrors, Casey Spooner and Warren Fischer instantly grabbed attention.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 live-fischerspooner.jpg

The Pageant, St. Louis

I've always liked The Pageant. People complain about how expensive the bar is, or that the dance floor is too deep (I don't get that one but I've heard it for years), but the sound and stage are excellent and, true to its design, there is hardly a bad view in the place. Aside from the dance floor being off limits to minors for The Black Keys back in 2005 (which led to an empty floor except for four neo-bohemian dudes nodding their heads off beat), I've never had a complaint myself. It's exciting to walk in knowing you're going to see a good show; but it's something different altogether when you know you're going to see acts that use the venue's strengths to their full advantage.

Things started off with oraganicArma, a three-piece Florida techno group. With people still floating into The Pageant and the fact that two of the members were glued to their laptop fixtures, it was a tough sell in such a large venue. They seemed like they'd benefit from a smaller venue or a larger crowd. However, the band members seemed to be enjoying themselves, and their enthusiasm saved their set from falling flat.

I could tell that there was a measurable percentage of SSION virgins in the crowd. There's a sort of innocence you lose seeing them live for the first time. It's like remembering some traumatic childhood experience and overcoming it instantly, then realizing you're eating out of a bowl filled with the most awesome ice cream ever. Cody Crithceloe set out to make the Fool's Gold live show something that fucks with your head, something that makes you question your own values (if you were raised in the Midwest, at least) and makes you want to dance and laugh while doing so. He's the perfect gender-bender tramp, moving and singing on a stage that looks like it came from a high school comic book. The music, best described as a punky worship to discarded bits of pop culture, comes off a little highbrow and lowbrow, because that's exactly what it is and trying to explain the spectacle proves to be rather hard at times. Let's just say Chuck Berry never had the wit to write a song called "Street Jizz."

Fisherspooner's latest album, Entertainment, has gotten somewhat mixed reviews, but regardless of critical reception, the live show for this tour is something to see. Coming out between the dull sides of four mini-monolithic mobile mirrors, Casey Spooner and Warren Fischer instantly grabbed attention. With Fischer holding what appeared to be a futuristic manhole cover and Spooner with what can be best described something worn by a barbershop quartet "carnie's hat," they danced in beat with four dancers dressed in silver, reflective tops. The two items held by the duo soon became the now-iconic headpiece shown in most of their promotional materials; seeing the light from its underside create a halo around Casey's stone face as he slowly paced his way to the microphone in near-darkness easily sent shivers down my spine.

The show would be filled with similar moments of deliberate divinity. Later, he would dress in a matador's jacket, one of the few things he would wear without even a vague Asian aesthetic. At one point, Spooner pointed out the action of a female dancer and everything came to a halt. Something wasn't placed correctly, a mirror maybe; problem corrected, and everything returned to motion. It all happened so off-the-cuff and with calm that you wonder if there had even been a problem to begin with, or if it was all just a put on. Given the accounts of Spooner's personality and the Kabuki-inspired dramatics of the band's performance, it was hard to tell. (There were two other momentary halts during the set with a similar beginning and end.)

"Do you really want to hear this song?" asked Spooner, catching his breath as the opening synth riff of "Emerge" began and the crowd erupted. "It's so old!" he said with a twist of humor in his voice that had already colored the evening's performance. The crowd didn't come out of hibernation for one of Fischerspooner's biggest songs, but they were definitely waiting and feeding off that energy made for one of the best moments of the night. Before the mandatory encore, the stage was set back with the four spaced mirrors and Fischer eventually returned, placing himself between the two centered and poking his head out. He spoke openly about how they put this tour together without a label, without a lot of backing money. While it seemed odd (maybe a bit uncomfortable) at first to hear, it was inspiring once you realized what they were able to accomplish -- the creativity and visual punch -- without huge corporate push.

The multiple costume changes and videos playing in the background showed passion and not fabrication. What could have been off-putting became a focal point to really appreciate what they were doing. After the crowd promised to spread the word, the mirrors were rolled aside, the lights dimmed, and Casey and Co. rocked a two-song encore in massive wigs and ferocity. Something I had said in jest before the show had taken on a new level during the evening: "I can't believe I'm doing this sober." | Bryan J. Sutter

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