White Light + Frank A.M.

Music seen at Strange Maine, November 10, 2007
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  November 20, 2007

Relaxation was the theme of the night’s Strange Maine performance, in concept if not in execution.

The show’s openers were Frank A.M., better known to Portland’s indie subcultural concertgoers as Visitations. Frank is a looser side project to the admired and elusive DIY group, ghoulishly fronted by Strange Maine manager Brendan Evans, as much band as playfully creepy performance art.

The band shut down all of the house lights and set up black lights on the store’s wall of VHS tapes, resulting in a neon radiance off of the group’s spunkily dressed female dancer. Her pelvic thrusts and hypnotically repeated aerobic movements touched a nice balance of being suggestive but not too invasive or aggressive, and the music behind her (lots of knobs and pedals filtered through a huge Korg synthesizer) was something like electro-pop as heard from the bottom of a swamp. Evans's vocals sounded much the same, deadpan bar-napkin and suicide poetry howled through a portable amp, with garage blues ad-libs (“baby,” mainly) to heighten the sense of theater.

White Light’s fleeting, awesome set was part of the L’Animaux Tryst family’s new “the more the merrier!” live gig initiative, wherein one-night-only lineups, no more than two practices, and an emphasis on fun are the only rules. The setup was Phoenix scribe Ian Paige (the band’s lone constant, on banjo), Emily Johnson (of Lightning Strike Lightning and Fat Baxter’s, on tambourine and kid’s accordion), Colin Joyner (no band affiliation I’m aware of, but he plays a good bucket drum), and Josh Loring (Portland’s James Dean, of Cult Maze, on guitar). The group rollicked through two short and sweet ones to keep the energy up. The Paige-penned “Restless” (as in, “I GET RESTLESS!!”) is a sweet, sexy jug-band rave-up, and a cover of Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs’ “Lil’ Red Riding Hood” was as sly and crafty as the original, complete with emphatic howls.

Buy White Light’s For Your Leaves at Strange Maine. See Visitations with Cursillistas and the amazing Big Blood at the Meg Perry Center on December 8.

  Topics: New England Music News , James Dean, Strange Maine, Josh Loring,  More more >
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