Stars Like Fleas do not play separate songs during their live sets so much as a seamless series of highly-structured, carefully rehearsed fragments (that, yes, people often times call “songs”, but you try to spot when one starts and the next begins). In that same spirit, the video below is just a slice from their criminally short set last Wednesday at Studio B in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. It’s one of a handful of shows for the collective in anticipation of the release of The Ken Burns Effect on Hometapes. We drooled over this song a few days ago, so we figured a little bootleg video of “Karma Hoax” would be appropriate:
Unfortunately, band leader and man behind the acoustic guitar Shannon Fields suffered some connectivity difficulties and contributed a series of massive pops and distorted clips to the otherwise supple mix. This seemed to irk no one more than Fields himself, who, with only two songs left in the set, cut the music short and ushered the latest incarnations of Stars Like Fleas from the stage.
It would have been hard to come up with three acts more different than the three that shared the stage on Wednesday. Stars Like Fleas, Parts and Labor and Yacht look good together on paper, and maybe there was a conceptual strain that intended Parts and Labor’s use of both electronic noise and quirky pop structures to somehow be the tie that bound Fleas to Yacht, but if that’s all we could come up with, Parts and Labor’s blustery set blew any comparisons (and Yacht) out of the water. And on the matter of Yacht, and any other dude with a microphone and an iPod who’s successfully brought his karaoke skillz to the masses: what works for hip hop does not necessarily work for electro-pop. And either way you slice it, performing sans live instruments begs a (sorry) boat-load of charisma.
Shout-singing into a mic about the internet is sort of cute when it’s done by a 17-year old Harlem girl with cute MySpace pics. The irony might be lost if you’re from Portland and you’re wearing sequins. Then again, we’re no fashion experts, and Yacht did have a packed floor of people standing idly as Mr. Jona Bechtolt and his new 23-year old girl-singer (not Khaela Maricich) bounced around the stage. We’ll leave this conversation standing, but let it be noted that it was not New York’s fault that no one was dancing.