Pogo in Togo Series at Cake Shop

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With Noveller, Electric Tickle Machine, Jordan and Glossy Wheel

On the screen, bare limbs twitch in unsettling symmetric unison while unfamiliar international pseudo-pop spins out of the DJ booth. As the audience mills about the sloping Cake Shop basement, noise-pedal arrays are linked up behind the screen, across which mirrored and overlayed bits of nonetheless familiar film are now flitting. In a moment, the screen will go up and Noveller (Sarah Lipstate, as of spring the new guitarist for Parts & Labor, whose BJ Warshaw and Dan Friel have turned up in support) will crackle intricate static from a heap of electronics and her signature double-neck guitar, laid out flat on a keyboard stand for ease of manipulation. Just before, there was jangly pop-leaning punk in a vaguely Q and Not U-like vein, but with French accents, from visiting Parisians Jordan. Retuning for the only slower, quieter song of the set they had commented on the audience of three they'd played for at Pianos the night before (all three of whom, however, were “very nice”). They brought this up, presumably, in contrast to the Cake Shop audience, already at least 10 times that number by then, and growing to fill the stage area by the last couple acts, Electric Tickle Machine's more conventional country twang (albeit with some occasional prog arrangement inclinations) and Atlas Sound-invoking practitioners of the loop, layer, and echo school of full sounding two-pieces, Glossy Wheel.

Pogo in Togo is a monthly (or more) night of diverse curation ranging from arcane to accessible. A bit over a year old, Pogo has lived in Cake Shop since last winter, and was recently outed (by none other than R. Stevie Moore) as having drawn its name from an obscure track by now largely unremembered post-punks United Balls. The name originally referenced (beyond the song) the worldwide sourcing of many of the selections, though this has lately become less essential to the evening. More essential, at least to the atmosphere, are founder Your Friend Matthew's free-association video collages, still new each show and primed as exceedingly strange and entertaining between-set distraction, like a more hypnotic TV Carnage. As far as the actual selections on my sole PiT stop, I suppose they could have been seen as eclectic or erratic depending on the sympathies of the audience, but for my part I can generally get behind anything that'll hit an unsuspecting crowd with a serious (and accomplished) noise set between two rock bands.