Blonde Redhead (w/ Nosaj Thing)

Went to a Blonde Redhead concert last night at The New Parish in Oakland.

I was running late but was able to catch a few songs of the opening DJ act Nosaj Thing (Jason spelled backwards).

I’m usually not a huge fan of DJs. I always felt like they were just living off the music made by other people and exerting less creative power. However, while I was listening to Nosaj, I was really impressed with how he overlaid different rhythms and melodies and made me feel like a bigot.

What’s the difference between a traditional musician, say a pianist, vs a DJ? 

It’s just the instrument. The pianist has the piano, with pre-tuned interior strings that are hammered to produce specific notes. The DJ has the turntables and records that are manipulated to create specific sounds. The DJ’s instrument is music.

After a restless intermission, Blonde Redhead came out. They were really good.  When Kazu Makino (the female lead singer) sings, she moves as if she’s communing with the gods.

The twins (Simone and Amedeo Pace) were extremely on point w/ the guitar and drums.

Listening to them produce their wall of sound, it got me thinking, somehow this sound exists inside of them before they were able to express it externally.

Painters express themselves visually, a collage of images behind their eyes, waiting to be channeled to canvas. The musician is the same, except her palette consists of different tones of sound instead of color.

Blonde Redhead ended their show with a song where Kazu’s voice was the main instrument. I found it very pretty.

Footnote 1: The concert itself is a great convergence of audio and visual art, being able to see the artists in the flesh, hear their music, and also maybe see some cool lighting.