ARCHIVE of District of Cacophony

March 15, 2010 | REVIEWS

Midnight Kids & Casper Bangs @ Black Cat, 3/13/10

Saturday night I was excited to go check out Midnight Kids for the first time. They are a local band that I don’t know much about, but the City Paper linked to their free EP and I listened to it a bunch. I am only mildly familiar with The Apes who were a kind of a predecessor band… I know they were around but I probably never saw them (I always mixed them up with the Black Eyes and I wasn’t all that crazy about either). Anyway the Midnight Kids EP is an excellent mix of rock and electronics, smothered in disco glitter haze.

I wasn’t sure how it would sound live, or whether it would even be interesting live. And I’d say the results were mixed. There was a problem with the sound for the first part of their backstage set, most obviously in that the vocals were too low in the mix. About halfway through the sound got fixed up and it helped quite a bit.

Even taking into consideration the sound difficulties, I am not sure how well the Midnight Kids sound translates live. Like a lot of these electronic rock bands today, I find it better to listen to than to watch, though the Kids were playing real instruments and everything, and playing them well. It’s the electronic sheen layered over the whole sound that makes it just seem like a fake performance. They did their best to make a show of it, too, with lasers shining from the floor, weirdly shooting out between singer LouLou Ghelichkhani’s legs.

It all felt very early-’80s, late-disco era. One of my friends thought they could have been opening for Blondie. I don’t disagree.

Anyways I liked them live, but I just think the record is way cooler. Less demanding fans might disagree. Either way you should TOTALLY download the EP, I highly recommend it, and I hope they can play live just to get their music out there. I’d go see them again, if only to support them.

The openers were Casper Bangs which is another local project that I knew vaguely. I don’t think I’d ever seen them before but I had heard a little of their music somewhere. Apparently they are a one-man project but the band was pretty tight, and sounded good. It was total pop, but with noise and style. I liked it. It reminded me of Guided by Voices which is kind of weird, apparently GBV have been on my brain a lot lately.

So this was classic noise pop or “indie pop” in the ’90s sense. They even did a song where I was thinking, “this reminds me of Beat Happening” and lo and behold, I think the singer said “that was a little Beat Happening for you.” It was like magic.

So today I downloaded Casper Bangs’ EP from bandcamp but, sadly, I don’t like it as much as I liked their live show. The recorded songs don’t have the same energy that the band brought on Saturday night. This is kind of the inverse of the Midnight Kids performance.

Summary: Midnight Kids EP = awesome. Midnight Kids live = ok. Casper Bangs EP = ok. Casper Bangs live = energetic fun pop. Not bad! Everyone wins one way or another.