Witch and Hare, Central Standard, The Ssion. Thursday, April 24, at the Brick
Concert Review by Megan Metzger
Thursday night I pulled up to a reasonably crowded Brick to check out art punk and danceparty sensation, the Ssion [this week's cover --Ed.]. I feared there would be too many younger kids sporting cut-offs and body odor, but I was lucky to find an even mix of “that type” and plain ol’ normalish people like me.
Now, I have nothing against the kids. They’re an integral part of the music scene. If it weren’t for them, acts like Glass Candy and Lightning Bolt would probably never show their faces in this town. But that unabashed vigor and devil-may-care attitude towards personal hygiene makes me feel like some unhip dissaproving grandma. It’s totally my L-7 square cross to bear.
But I digress.
The Ssion: Critcheloe (left) and Miller
Witch and Hare was first. Lead singer Amy Hastings, in a very fetching shortpant-and-suspenders combo, bounced around the stage as her mates played a sound that sidled between gypsy blues and disco punk. Her long brunette bangs flitted about her face as she danced, making her resemble Ally Sheedy’s character from the Breakfast Club doing the Molly Ringwald dance. Hastings began each song with a quick explanation as to what they were about, with content ranging from the BTK murderer to Caligula. As charming as Hastings was onstage, most of the lyrics were unintelligible yowls, and I told my friend and Witch and Hare enthusiast, Madeline, that I wished Hastings would annunciate more.
“Do you ask Marianne Faithfull to bring it up a register?” Madeline asked.
“No,” I said.
Such is Witch and Hare.
Next came Minneapolis traditional hardcore band Central Standard, fronted by a burly and androgynous mohawked female. The group churned out high-energy anthems about things like recycling and unhealthy relationships and even a punked-up yet faithful rendition of Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5.” They played in front of a video backdrop that showed cool bikes, past Central Standard live performances, and an honest-to-God vagina blowing a bubble--which wasn’t as gross as I thought it would be, but gross nontheless.
Finally, the Ssion got ready to turn the Brick into a thriving, sweaty danceteria. It took awhile for frontman Cody Critcheloe to be satisfied with the bar’s fuzzy feedback issues, which seems to be an ongoing issue at the Brick for a lot of acts.
The Mighty Critcheloe
Comprised of a backing track, Ashley Miller on drums and Critcheloe’s video art displayed on a screen behind them, the Ssion began with Miller’s slow and sticky remix of “Street Jizz,” from the Ssion’s forthcoming release Shopped and Crewed. What was once a bubbly happy number about scoring sex in the park now sounded desperate and sad, like that scene in Silence of the Lambs when transgendered lunatic Jame Gumb tucked his junk between his legs and made love to the camera.
It was fucking awesome.
After a few more hits from Crewed, the Ssion sped things up a bit with tracks like Fool's Gold opener “Clown” and “Warm Glove,” the video for which showed Critcheloe’s mustachioed mug mouthing the words in perfect sync. It was super hot. Two female friends of the Ssion dolled up in angel costumes stood on either side of the stage as Critcheloe and Miller ended things with Fool's closer “Heaven,” an infectios disco jam that sent a roomful of Ssion worshippers dancing and singing their little hearts out amid some heavy fog machine action.
But of course, no one would be satisfied seeing the Ssion perform “Street Jizz” only once at a live show, so they encored with the original, pepped-up version.
The Ssion isn’t one of those bands where one can say, “ah if you’ve seen ‘em once, you’ve seen ‘em a million times.” Critcheloe often employs several different musicians, friends and hangers-on to be a part of his wicked collective. I’ve seen all kinds of different incarnations of the band, and some have worked like gangbusters (opening for Peaches at the Granada) or total bullshit (the Leslie and the LY’s show at the Record Bar).
Although part of me longed for Mark Southerland’s sax and a legion of queens and nearly-nekkid go-go boys (there were only, like, two this time), I liked it just being Critcheloe and Miller. Critcheloe is a captivating performer himself — he cops his moves from Lucky Star-era Madonna -- but with better facial hair and vocal chops.
Critcheloe ended the show on his terms, by screaming the “Tally me Banana” ["Day-O" --Ed.] song in a heap on the stage, and it really wasn’t as obnoxious as it could’ve been. All in all, it was an eclectic and satisfying show, and this grandma would’ve stuck around for a night cap, but it was getting kind of late and she wanted to go home and catch up on her stories.