Live: MNDR And Class Actress Dancing With Themselves At Bowery Ballroom
MNDR in action earlier this year.
Wednesday, April 28
Your headliner tonight is actually spazzy Brit retro-soul whosit V.V. Brown, but I find the openers way more fascinating, two budding electro-pop stars carefully balancing the brusque and the bubbly, the icy and the cheesy. They play slightly chilly dance music but actually dance, is what I'm saying. Never underestimate the power of Actually Dancing.
Class Actress' marvelously coiffed Elizabeth Harper likes to relinquish her mic stand entirely and bounce around the stage a bit, trilling sweet high notes and purring warm low ones over synth-pop mini-symphonies that occasionally sound like vintage Cure megahits you somehow just managed not to ever hear until just now. ("Let Me Take You Out," my friends. Find out what fans of The Vampire Diaries already know.) It's less polished and regal than, say, Annie or Little Boots, but better for it, a bedroom mirror/microphone hairbrush situation writ large, triumphant, frivolous but imbued with unexpected gravity.
She could use a psychedelic light show, though, maybe, and for that she may want to speak with MNDR's Amanda Warner, who's got a hell of a mind-bending spectacle going behind her, a mixture of Atari-style blocky stuff and digital Spirograph fantasias synced up to respond to both her voice and, ideally, ours. Crowd participation is important to her, evidently. The bridge to her song about Patty Hearst consists of her singing "Put your hands above your head," repeatedly and steadily more emphatically, until we have complied. Though her muscular, blaring gearhead-techno anthems, with startlingly gooey pop centers, are rousing enough, the mighty "Fade to Black" especially. Oh, and the one about Caligula.
As a physical presence, too, Warner is fascinating, with her blocky white glasses and slightly regal, slightly nerdy air, gripping her mic stand with authority and vogue-ing with aplomb. She casually mentions that she was in the ER last night with a fever of 102; her set actually climaxes between songs, where she tests the whole voice-activated light show thing, wherein we all scream and the screen behind her slowly turns solid white. "Now we're all connected, like string theory," she announces, satisfied. "Even though string theory is kinda fake."