Don’t Buy: Tobacco CMJ Performance

03Nov08

I am taking the format from my other blog and applying it to here, so please just bear with it.

Tobacco: Listen to this first… “Street Trash

Great? right? It’s electro-heavcy, not annoying and not scary. It’s groovin. So, it was only natural i wanted to see these guys get down. So I went to their performance at the Mercury Lounge (where they played before Fugiya and Miyagi). And…

It was the greatest upset since last year’s Superbowl (actually I should hold off on that reference until after election day, but eh, I just can’t). Think about it.

Note: I am not bashing their sound, music or anything else except the live performance and show. In fact, I went and was as dissapointed as I am because their sound and music is so good.

Tobacco is made up of the one guy who is an ex-member of  Black Moth Super Rainbow, even though for this performance he was accompanied by a female. The scene was this: the flickering light from a projection to the 2 dark hooded figures hovering over switch boards surrounded in photographers.

You’d think, hey, that’s pretty artsy, but on that screen were clips of things circa 1970 til about 1985. These clips were, I’m guessing, supposed to be the focus of their performance. However, these clips were not created for their live performance, but rather they have been up on YouTube for the past 3 months and featured in a DVD. These clips are their music videos and knowing that made the performance feel even that less special. As you can see in the videos below, they are awkward mash-ups of bubble gum chewing porn, with mouth stretching exercises. Tobacco wore a clear plastic mask and would only look up when he would check the projection, to make sure it was on cue with what the music.

Now, I thought I knew what they were doing. I was wrong.

I thought they were staying hidden so the audience would only watch their half hour long bizzaro music video instead of their non-present stage performance. And I would have been right! But the fact that Tobacco would also “sing” into a hot pink dildo-covered microphone with a somewhat costume of a plastic-clear face mask drew some attention to Tobacco. (Get it? He’s like playing into being gay! Ha-ha…err… womp womp.) The “antics” of the microphone and mask lacked any follow up, and left a very dissappointing, unentertained audience member.

I also couldn’t tell if the beats were being made in real time or were prerecorded. The reason why that is a huge problem for me is that it sounded exactly like the album. Yes, the album I loved, but if I wanted to listen to the album, I would have. There was no alteration. And I know with electro and techno it can be hard to differentiate between live and recorded tracks,  but Girl Talk can do it, and I believe in you, Tobacco! You can do it too!

Another thing that often bothers me at live shows, is that lack of audience connection. Not once did they talk to the audience, or even look at the audience. Granted, if they did their YouTube mash-up would be thrown off. But still, I’m here for you, I’d like a little crowd/fan appreciation.

The next night, I went to see another showcase at Pianos (featuring: Bell, Au, and Crystal Stilts), and unannounced Tobacco was to come on to finish out the showcase. I left, while people crowded to the front. I just don’t get it sometimes. People loved their performance. I hated it.

If I ever wanted to attend a Tobacco performance, I would pump up the volume on my headphones, power up YouTube and wear a black hoodie, and that should accurately simulate that event.

Let me know if you think I am being too harsh, I hardly found these videos compelling enough to take away or draw more attention to the show.

Videos:


Image Sources and other show reviews: Brooklyn Vegan, Stereogum

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2 Responses to “Don’t Buy: Tobacco CMJ Performance”

  1. 1 anon

    little does most of the crowd know that literally 90% of the music that you were hearing, other than the basic synth overlay and the vocals were coming from that video, coming directly from the laptop he played the video from. i was standing behind them at the Cake Shop show and he accidentally dropped something on the mousepad, pausing the video/all the music. after a few akward, frantic seconds he started the music back up again and kept “performing”. love the music, just saying this show was barely enough to be considered “live”. just saying, i wouldn’t pay money to see them.
    BMSR, on the other hand, is awesome and mostly (if not completely) instrumental and worth seeing live. a good portion of these videos were played at their show as well when i saw them last year.

    • That’s what I’m saying!! Everyone was in all about it. I saw them the night at Mercury Lounge. Later that week I was at Cake Shop, when I heard they were playing again, I left.


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