Last Thursday, Painted Face opened for New York’s geek-chic pop stars Darwin Deez at the Black Cat’s main stage. The show was initially set to be held at the smaller backstage, but was moved to the main stage last minute.
This was a good move. The main stage was packed with energetic teenagers as soon as Darwin Deez started playing. The crowd for the opening band, however, was smaller, but supportive. Their glam electro-pop synth-heavy songs were as delightful and dreamy as I remember they were in January, but the crowd didn’t seem too familiar with them. Their last concert at the Velvet Lounge was a veritable dance floor, but most people seemed to be saving their energy for Darwin Deez at the Black Cat.
For those who aren’t familiar with the openers: Painted Face is the moniker of Allie Alvarado, a D.C. based singer and songwriter originating from the Brooklyn art rock scene. She is a former member of the bands Telepathe and Blood Lines. She was accompanied by two other female members, one playing the bass, the other on the keyboards. All three were dressed in hip, 80-style outfits complementing their fun, 80s-inspired indie-pop songs, singing songs called “Girls in Love” and “Undreamt.”
Performance-wise, Allie was captivating with her odd, yet graceful movements completely in-sync with her music. You can really feel her passion. Too bad her other band members decided to stand stoically still during the performance. As one concert go-er commented, “They’re hot, but they need to be more energetic on stage.”
Darwin Deez started off with a bang with the very energetic, yet pretty-pop sounding, “Up in the Clouds.” The rather young crowd cheered loudly as they performed wacky choreographed dance routines before jamming into a song. I admit that while these little dances were very gimmicky, I found myself giggling at their innocent silliness.
Silly fun would be the best way to describe Darwin Deez’s performance. And I mean that as a compliment. While they’re a strictly indie-pop band dressed on Thursday like they were walking out of an American Apparel ad, these guys know how to seriously rock a show. In fact, they were rocking out so hard that the tambourine broke mid-way through the concert. This was promptly followed by a burial ritual that involved another silly little dance routine for the late tambourine.
They closed out with fan favorite “Radar Detector” and played two more songs for the encore. Overall, it was a pop-infused night of teeny-bopping fun at the Black Cat. It actually made me feel a bit old.
– Soo Suh