Sunday, April 24

My Camera Phone Will Not Be Denied: Zola Jesus at the Bowery Ballroom

Jimmy and I went to the Zola Jesus show Saturday night and it was awesome, obviously, because Zola Jesus is a crazy platinum-blonde goth bitch. (I've previously mentioned Ms. Jesus on this blog here.) I must say, though, that we were disappointed at the lack of goth pageantry among audience members.

Now, every time we've been to a show by, say, Siouxsie, we've been guaranteed to share a room with a gaggle of Aquanetted goons wearing veils, fishnet hose, stilettos, pirate trousers, capes, studded leather accessories, tight lacy corsets, tattooed-on teardrops, velvet vests, frilly blouses, and lots and lots of operatic face paint. And, at least in DC, we've also been guaranteed tables stocked with ridiculous goth lifestyle fanzines featuring innumerable photos of dreary folks hanging out at the cemetery and advice columns answering readers' questions about how to be goth and also have a real job, in an office. But there was none of this to be had at the Bowery Ballroom Saturday night. I did see one Asian girl wearing a pinafore, but that's it. I mean, there were a shocking number of hoodies. Hoodies, people. At a goth show. And they weren't even black or velvet magenta. They were, like red, blue, and other shocking colors. WTF, NYC? I expected more of you.

We missed the first band but caught the second one, Naked on the Vague, from Sidney, Australia. They were kind of awesome. Lots of sparkly 80s guitar lines and droney keyboards and vocals. The lady lead singer/keyboardist had long blonde hair, defiant bangs, and a monotone voice that she obviously came up with while vacuuming when she was a teenager. As an added bonus, the bearded guitarist was dressed like an Amish guy, complete with flat hat. (At one point, Jimmy tapped me on the shoulder and whispered in my ear, "He's got a nice big juicy butt," which is such a disrespectful thing to say about an Amish guy. I was more into the bassist anyway.)

When Ms. Jesus walked on, she was surely no taller than 5 feet tall. (Well, she was no taller than 5 feet throughout the show, not just when she walked on.) And--shocker--she herself was wearing a hoodie. Except this hoodie was the kind that those Jawa traders wore in the original Star Wars. And it was orange. Anyway, she may be 5 feet but her voice is taller than 30 Rock, and she was Not. Holding. Back. God, this show was awesome. And on one of the songs (my favorite, "Poor Animal"), she even brought on a goth lady violinist, which means extra points.

So the question becomes, why does my Droid phone insist on taking such shitty concert photos? Perhaps because I haven't been able to figure out how to activate the zoom. But I refuse to accept responsibility for that. Anyway, I did what I could, and I even took a short film of Ms. Jesus hopping off the stage and zipping through the crowd. You can't see shit and the audio is offensively bad, but you sort of get the idea, kind of, in a way (but not really).