Concert Review and Photos: Anamanaguchi, Kitty Pryde, and Best Fwends at Club Dada; OBN III’s at Bryan Street Tavern

Here’s something you don’t see very often in 2013 Deep Ellum: A line of teenagers waiting outside of a club while there’s still some sunlight out. On a Wednesday. That’s who I had for company while I was waiting in a separate line for Anamanaguchi and Kitty Pryde at Club Dada, and the guilt of not suffering along with them will probably never fade, since I was once in those shoes, waiting for two hours outside of Trees in order to meet Kim Deal. But I just saw Kim Deal’s clothes in a Seattle museum last week, so let’s stay in the present.

Unfortunately, I missed Best Fwends’ set, but it appears that they still have a cast of North Texans assisting them, judging by Andi Harman’s photos below. That would be Jared Lawson on drums, Daniel Ziegler on guitar, and Payton Green on bass.

I asked two particular individuals fronting the line, who were being playfully harassed by some twenty-somethings about being sixteen (“You have your whole life ahead of you!”), who they were there to see. That’s a dreaded cliche to me, but they lit up immediately. “Anamanaguchi,” they said, practically in unison. “But I guess a lot of people are here for Kitty Pryde.”

That’s debatable, though I assumed that Kitty Pryde was probably the draw, due to both the sensation that her music has caused online and also through her associations with both Riff Raff and Danny Brown. But ultimately the headlining band did appear to be the main attraction, since Anamanaguchi has strong ties to an endlessly thriving video game culture. Their wordless music is attempting to be an homage to the 8-bit video game era, while mostly coming off like pop punk instrumentals for people who weren’t even alive to suffer through such low-tech times. But that’s a moot and often-made point, since there were neo-hippies in the 1990s, and Fonzie-esque greasers ten years before that. (Come to think of it, that’s all still around today.) Though 8-bit gaming was comparably primitive, the sophistication of composers such as Nintendo’s Koji Kondo, remains unmatched by the rock bands attempting to ape his sounds. It’s almost surprising that the novelty of “chiptune” music survived the aughts.

Rapper Kitty Pryde’s set was a very timely and entertaining snapshot of modern hip hop that describes life online more than life in the streets.  Her between-song banter was an endless mix of willfully uncool celebrity references (Kardashian and Bieber, of course) along with minor life details about who next-day un-followed her on Twitter (Skrillex). In a highly decipherable voice she manages to keep up with her often giant-sounding backing tracks, with in-joke after in-joke that everyone in the crowd gets. She kept urging the sound-person to make sure her voice was loud enough to hear her “real sick burns,” but also chided the crowd for their lack of movement. “That was the least bouncing I’ve ever seen,” complained Kitty. “Do you feel self-conscious bouncing? You shouldn’t.”

Later in the evening, we rush over to East Dallas to catch the remainder of Austin’s OBN III’s at Bryan Street Tavern, along with just a moment from a band called the Dead Mockingbirds. Ex-Denton resident Orville Neeley is trashing the room and the crowd with equal disregard for both. Or was he? Sure, he bullied me physically for taking notes, and threw a beer can at the head of a random blogger, and he even put on a motorcycle helmet that I doubt belonged to him. But he also did something in particular for which he deserves no small amount of praise. In his lighthearted helicoptering of disrespect toward the patrons in the room, he came up to a woman in a wheelchair and gave her a little jab, the same one he was doling out for everyone else. She returned the poke with a beaming smile. More often than not, those in wheelchairs are treated as if they are transparent, often as a result of well-meaning overcompensation. And yet, Neeley had her along for the same abusive reindeer games to which he was subjecting the rest of the crowd. Whether he meant it to be or not, it was a beautifully inclusive moment.

All photos by Andi Harman