Glasser + Twin Shadow + YAWN at Lincoln Hall

November 17th, 2010: As seen on Time Out Chicago (PDF)

A nice little coast-to-coast trio of rising indie acts comprised the Lincoln Hall bill on Saturday, November 13th. Chicago’s hotly tipped YAWN opened the curtain with fresh digital clangery from a self-titled debut EP, amping the sting and gleam of guitar jabs more aggressively than ever, shaking the Animal Collective cloud that’s been looming over it since their Wicker Park basement beginnings.

Shaking early tags was the theme of the evening, as NYC’s Twin Shadow, a.k.a., George Lewis Jr., turned his bedroom new-wave gem, Forget,—initially conceived with a drum machine and a heavy heart that wails something eerily Morrissey—into a speed punk and soul live show, gyrating his hips so feverishly in step to his touring drummer’s cymbal crashes that a female in the audience demanded she get to dance on stage with him. She did, complete with awkward “Walk Like an Egyptian” hand signals.

Twin Shadow pushed his James Dean in Bollywood threads a step further, dangling a dog tag about his neck instead of his trademark triple-rabbit foot voodoo chain, taunting a pocket of glam hipsterettes with between song banter like “Do you like muscle cars?” It was all drenched in planned irony as Lewis slung that line into single “Slow,” which has aNSFW porn casting-couch parody video. He grated out its otherwise fragile howl in the chorus (“I don’t wanna, believe, or be, in love”) with a frothing sense of urgency. He hoisted the body of his guitar up to his heart to beam out a glistening solo that otherwise rings hollow on the record.

Photos: Laura M. Gray

Los Angeles-based Glasser, a.k.a. Cameron Mesirow, minus the irony, emerged as closer with a thunderous bass drum of a séance boost to the Joni Mitchell-meets-Bjork soundscapes of her September debut, Ring. She went apocalyptic and tribal, blasting fog over her crew of robed laptop-and-congo drum players. It wafted about the stage with cryptically beautiful opener “Apply.” The fog and the reverb swallowed the line “If the walls were too thin, you would break right in” right up whole.

She lifted the mystique shroud with an endearing a cappella take on an British folk ballad, “Sprig of Thyme,” showcasing the songbird seed that lies at the core of her craft, only because she doesn’t “have that many songs,” she teased. But the meditative way her dance fans responded to her 9-track set, delivered at ritual pace, tells us her future contributions to the ethereal pop canon won’t go unnoticed.

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