Half the joy of catching a Blonde Redhead show is watching the band expertly occupy two modes. With frontwoman Kazu Makino in the driver’s seat, the trio is an experiment in dreamy atmospherics and lilting vocals, and when guitarist/vocalist Amedeo Pace takes the reigns, the whole thing morphs into a noisier, trippier, more psych-leaning exercise.
On Thursday night at SOhO, the New York-based trio hit the stage following a poorly matched opening set from Brooklyners The Mast, who prepared a mini show of beat-heavy electronica that would have sounded better in a dubstep club than a Blonde Redhead concert. Supporting act notwithstanding, though, the night went off without a hitch. Alongside twins Amedeo (guitars/vocals) and Simone (drums), Makino was utterly captivating, posturing and contorting in between guitar solos and turns at the keyboards. Perhaps more surprising, Amedeo’s vocal contributions in the form of opening number “Falling Man” and “Spring and By Summer Fall” were delightfully pummeling affairs, complete with revved up guitars and a decidedly post-punk-channeling attitude. For her part, Makino was at her best on the dance-y “Not Getting There” and the bratty “Equus,” which found her oscillating between breathy chanteuse and fired-up ball of fury. Later in the set, her simmering presence paired nicely with the tension-filled guitars of “In Particular,” threatening to boil over with every vocal pass. Better still, watching these three wrestle sounds, bend notes, and get weird to a rapt audience was a welcome sight to behold.