[Photos and words by Rez Avissar]
This show should have happened long ago, November to be exact. I happened to add Glass Candy to my MySpace friends around that time, and attached one of those notes to the friend request expressing confusion as to their scheduled date's disappearance. It didn't necessarily call for a response, but a few hours later I received a message from producer/programmer Johnny Jewel, explaining, "we had to cancel the trip to finish our new 12" and mix a new 12-track CD [presumably Deep Gems]... we're gonna throw a huge party in the Spring out there, and bring out Farah and Chromatics to make up for it!!"
Chromatics and Farah were swapped for Italians Do It Better pals Twisted Wires and Nite Jewel, but throw a huge party they did. It's apt that he billed it as a party, as the atmosphere was leaning as much if not more toward that than a show (one reviewer called it "[Jewel's] own private loft party"), with many a hand being thrown in the air, swigs of Maker's Mark on stage and shared with all, vocoder-laced exclamations by singer Ida No ("we did ecstasy before the show!"), encouragement of fans to rock with the band on-stage, loads of t-shirts and CDs lobbed into the dancefloor, and Johnny and Ida generally showering us with good vibes (and huge balloon orbs).
When asked in an interview how Animal Collective approaches their music, Panda Bear said "it's our own form of soul music" and to me, Glass Candy's approach to Italo disco is powered by that same drive. It's somewhere between the depth of No's voice when she tries to sing (see "Beatific") and the spontaneous nature of all of their actions and much of their work (don't forget, they are rooted in punk). It's what inspired their fans to flip out on Saturday and to form the longest line I've seen at Poisson Rouge.
Candy has emerged as one of the leaders of their brand, despite that their output has yet to match up to their promise. But what G/C doesn't show in its discography (yet!) is made up for by their presence, infectious energy, and command of their sound. Beneath the dark inspiration and icy synth waves lies a deep soul. It's why I didn't feel awkward drunkenly stumbling up to No as she greeted fans by the stage after the show. She was approachable and sincere. Fearing JOOSE's effect on compromising my memory, I asked for a setlist. She told me to email Johnny and he'll send it to me. And for some reason, I knew he would.
In his message, Johnny wrote "it was such a special night for us. It really meant a lot. Thanks for being part of it." I'm glad I was a part of it, too.
Glass Candy's setlist, from Johnny:
The Game Goes On
Poison or Remedy
The Beat's Alive
Feeling Without Touching
Life After Sundown
Before Glass Candy, Twisted Wires and Nite Jewel performed, but Nite Jewel shined even brighter than high expectations set off by a recent flurry of praise. They played their most well-known songs, including "What Did He Say" and "Weak 4 Me," pretty faithfully to the recordings. The girls looked like "glowing 70s angels" (as my friend put it) under the lights, and the tape-hiss harmonies and dark new-noirish atmosphere were all good looks.