No Context: Bonde do Role, Plastic Little in Williamsburg
Music Hall of Williamsburg photo by www.madaes.com
Plastic Little, "Brooklyn (sample)"
by Zach Baron
Plastic Little + Bonde Do Role
Music Hall of Williamsburg
September 15, 2007
The Music Hall of Williamsburg is built like an Ikea, which is to say that it is set up so that you travel through every square foot it of before you reach either an exit or a stage on which music is being performed. To wit: you slip down into a banquette-padded and low-lit grotto and have to take a lap around a three-sided bar before you can go back up to street level, and then from the street level lobby, which doubles as another bar/merchandise area, you ascend another half-staircase and finally arrive at the back of the room you were looking for the whole time. This process easily garners double the bar sales, since novices will need a drink at one point or another just to calm down and realize that although they seem lost, they’re not. Anyway if it’s Saturday night, September 15th, 2007, when you finally make it to the two-tiered room with the bands in it, Plastic Little is on stage.
“Yo Jon, get rid of that white skin and let’s do this.”
Too many other jokes to requote, plus I already got to say my peace about these guys here (and here, I guess). I had a bit of a riff on PL being out of context in Brooklyn, yuk yuk, but I’ll save that one too, since you could predict it anyway—downtown guys not downtown, etc. (They were also down two members—word was Kurt was at a wedding.) Anyway they were ahead of me on this particular point: Jayson Musson sang, to cheers, their mock-paean to the borough, “Brooklyn.”
Bonde do Role are also a bit like an Ikea, now that I think about it, in that they build a kinda flimsy but recognizable aesthetic out of low-grade material. Low-grade material that includes all three of their voices, samples from “Final Countdown,” “Eruption,” and “Man in the Box,” trashcan snares, keyboard-triggered guitars, and wracked spandex leggings, among other things. Last time I saw them, in Chicago, frontwoman/MC Marina Vello shattered her arm on a steel stage divider and had to be carried out.
BDR are punk rock in a way that would be impossible for any actual punk or hardcore band—because whatever music they play, whatever genre, is hasn’t yet undergone the hardening process where the tropes become inescapable. For instance: anybody remember Jerome’s Dream, the ’97-’01 CT basement hardcore band whose singer played out of a full stack and still didn’t use a microphone? Onstage Bonde’s thing is genuine chaos: dry humping, floor humping, mic humping, crowd humping, monitor humping, shouting, screaming, blaring laptop noise, etc. There’s still that possibility of the whole thing going bad and someone’s arm getting broken.
They can also seem punk in how democratic their act is—since they can’t really rap, and can’t really dance, and can’t really sing, and their best hooks come from their samples, it’s the kind of thing it seems like anyone could do. This probably isn’t true. But it certainly makes them magnetic—if exhausting, since there’s no mystery either—to watch.