[Photo by PAVLA KOPECNA]
BY DIANCA POTTS & KYLEE MESSNER New Yorkers Za Za took the stage of a sold out Barbary Wednesday night with the intention to hypnotize the crowd with marching band drumbeats and eerie pop vocals. Deeming their current tour “awesome,” the band started off their set with “Sooner or Later,” a tune overpowered by lead guitar distortion and a carefree bassist. Echoing from one song to the next, the band’s message was clear—play loud, look aloof, and make sure the crowd knows you are the best at what you do. (It doesn’t hurt when the much-anticipated headliner’s drummer — aka Kurt Feldman of The Pains At Being Pure At Heart — is filling in for your inexplicably absent percussionist, either.) What felt like six songs blended into one, the band’s set was reminiscent of a Mogwai record circa1995. Ending their set with the percussion driven track “Repetition,” the band thanked the crowd, promptly making their exit in order to catch the next Chinatown bus.
Then it was finally time for everyone’s favorite slumberland four-piece, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, fronted by Philly extract Kip Berman. The Pains kicked off their set with a track from their debut EP, “Doing All the That Wouldn’t Make Your Parents Proud,” played out flawlessly with part-time ZaZa drummer and full-time POBPAH percussionist Kurt Feldman banging out beats reminiscent of the Jesus and Mary Chain’s ’85 Psychocandy. Without further ado, Brooklyn’s latest indie sensation jumped into the upbeat convictions of “This Love Is Fucking Right,” with Berman’s heartfelt vocals sounding out with Peggy Wang on backup.
The crowd, all demonstrably fans of thick frames and cardigans, swayed and lost themselves in what felt like a new New Wave manifesto for the ears. Politely thanking their fans for showing up and being “awesome,” Berman took the time to gush about his affections for Philly’s one and only r5, recalling all the shows he attended as a teen prior to his days of indie stardom. “Young Adult Friction,” recently released as the band’s second video via music blogs and myspace, got showgoers rocking out like Ian Curtis rose from the dead. Lyrically alluring and audibly contagious, the Pains’ “Young Adult Friction” seemed to last forever in a suspended moment of upcycled throwbacks to the 1980s underground, ending with the repeated mantra of “Don’t check me out.”
“Come Saturday” felt bright and like the sort of epic that goes hand in hand with a first kiss, while “The Tenure Itch,” with its jangly guitar intro mellowed-out the venue’s attentive audience, followed by a flawless transition into a wouldbe springtime anthem “Stay Alive.” Geeking-out about his favorite radio station while growing up, Berman and the Pains unveiled “103”, a brand new tune inspired by Princeton’s WPRB. Smiling throughout its duration, fellow fans of the station cheered at the songs start and clapped in accordance to its ethos upon its conclusion. Then came the band’s first fantastic single, “Everything With You,” before the Pains of Being Pure At Heart ended their set with their namesake track, complete with bubbles floating dreamily above the crowd’s heads.
[Kip Berman Balloon Photo by kirstiecat]