Monday, November 15, 2010

Show review: The Blow, Blair at Empty Bottle, 11/13

Posted by Andrew

Khaela Maricich, 'The Blow' (photo:

Following their monthly Handmade Market, the Empty Bottle continued with the artistic theme Saturday night, turning the already intimate venue into a performance arts space.

Blair kicked things off with a set of primarily comfortable and pleasant-enough indie rock. For roots deep in New Orleans and self-proclaimed influence of Neil Young, neither the Bourbon St. swagger nor free-world-rocking translated well into the live show. Rather, flashes of a more decorative Mirah or a female-led Boy Least Likely To came to my mind. The shyly performed vocals hide the clever lyrics heard more clearly recorded but I have to admit set closer "Hello Halo" remained stuck in my head for quite a bit.

Once you think everything’s been done with pop music, along comes an artist like Khaela Maricich, under current stage name the Blow, whose live performance is as interesting to watch as her name is difficult to pronounce. And I choose the words "artist" and "performance" not by accident. This was not a conventional rock show in any sense. Many in the crowd couldn’t hold back their ‘less talk, more rock’ hoots and hollers when Maricich went into one of her trademark monologues between songs, or at least until she called them out on it. Although generally recognized as a solo outing, the Blow’s recent performances have been aided by artist Melissa Dyne, who controls the music and lighting from offstage while Khaela handles the singing and dancing front and center. The only musical accompaniment she created was a finger tapping on the microphone to an otherwise a capella set opener. The entire premise of the show, which Khaela first premiered almost a year ago, details her supposed collaboration and relationship with Lindsay Lohan (although she is never mentioned by name). But beware; for all of the avant-garde concepts the Blow pursue, there are quite a few infectious pop gems along the way, and the crowd was more prone to dancing/head-bobbing than aesthetic critique or pretentious discourse. Tracks like "Parenthesis," "True Affection" and the Police referencing pseudo-rap "Come On Petunia" show the playful manner that Maricich contrasts with the highly personal and passionate nature of her lyrics. Always a paradox and never predictable, it is more appropriate for the Blow to continue to alter and enhance the live performance rather than release another recorded collection of songs.

For more from Khaela Maricich’s own mind, check out a recent interview with the Trib here.

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