|Hey, how about those visuals?|
The third and final act of the night (and final act in the official count --- that's Forty, baby) was Ishi. A trancey electronica three-piece, they performed with video screens flashing psychedelic abstract colors behind them. The male singer sported a hat, beard and long braids, while the female singer was dressed in some sort of handkerchief/loincloth combo. N thought the whole thing had a distinctly '70s lounge/porn music vibe.
It was big with the crowd, for sure. Dada often asks patrons who they've come to see when several bands are on, and the great majority tonight answered Ishi. The floor was more crowded than at any time previously. Proving that if you do live dance music in Dallas with even the most modest amount of panache people will come.
They had decent beats, but it was all somehow underplayed. R thought perhaps that Ishi was sitting on the musical fence, unable to decide whether they were dance or indie. They definitely were trying to put on some sort of risque "show," but we felt that they were piling on the effects to little effect. Yes, the crowd dug it, but in a sort of subdued way, nodding and tapping along --- hardly the bacchanalia that some dance bands get going on the floor. Anyway, we remained unimpressed.
It's interesting that almost everyone we spoke to about this band said, "Yeah, but have you seen the visuals?" We didn't give a damn about the visuals, but even granting that there was some entertainment value to be had from them... If the strength of your band is projecting the "sleazy James Bond" effect from Windows Media Player onto a screen, perhaps it's time to turn your attention to the music.
Outside for a bit to smoke, we noticed a girl so inebriated that she took her pants off. After she (or a friend) put them back on again, she approached N out of the blue, and apropos of nothing declared him "an asshole with opinions." But how did she know?
In sum: Isis is a spectacle, but we were unimpressed with the display. We tend to respond to talent, and it was hard to tell if there was any behind all the smoke and mirrors. It seemed like the singer was trying to be a shaman, but if you're not smoking his stuff, what he offers is pretty empty.
Lesson learned: Dallas is hungry for trance music, and this lineup was reversed. El Cento deserved to be the headliner.
Then we headed back to the Barley House where we heard a bit of a jam band called Holding Space, notable for a talented, barefoot female saxophonist.
And with that, this first 2x40x80 Project is complete. That's forty, count 'em forty, different bands seen, reviewed, and blogged. Watch this space for some Final Thoughts.