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Review Fri Feb 13 2015

Kaki King and Celine Neon Enthralled Lincoln Hall

Kaki King has been creating beautifully intricate songs for years. Her work is mostly wordless, letting her guitar work to speak for itself save for a few lovely lyrics in songs here and there. Recently she has taken this instrumental focus to a marvelous extreme with her multimedia art piece The Neck Is A Bridge To The Body, which King performed this past Wednesday at Lincoln Hall. The art piece is a collaboration between King's complex guitar work and Glowing Pictures' visual artists including Beth Wexler who was in control of the visuals. The whole production centers around King's white guitar as it transforms itself into a unique canvas for the ever evolving video art. The kaleidoscope of imagery was as strange and wonderful as it sounded coming through King's guitar.

Initially, there was no opening band announced for this show. Surely there would be one, but I was not prepared for them to be as astoundingly fun as Celine Neon. Within moments of the lights dimming, the band's DJ came to his station wearing a gem encrusted face mask not unlike a that of a welder's. CELINE NEON flashed of the screen shifting through fonts as Maggie Kubley and Emily Nejad emerged in lacy see-through black gowns and matching bejeweled crowns ready to pour their grime pop all over Lincoln Hall. Their songs are instantly catchy, I'm sure a dance would have erupted had it not been for the seating arrangements.

"Vacation Time" started off the set with an ecstatic pulsing beat that honestly couldn't quit. I'm sure everyone who didn't know them became instant fans. Celine Neon have boisterous attitude that really shines through their songs, even when dealing with the lower ends of life. I couldn't help but bob along to the depression anthem "Depresh" or going through the "Cycle" of endless relationships. Celine Neon feels like a band that Abbi and Ilana from Broad City would start, only way fiercer. Kubley and Nejad belt out these songs with unbelievable confidence and a scandalous amount of swagger. Watching them throw down their choreographed dance moves as they chanted "You gave me drugs" made me feel dirty in the best way possible. They capped off their set with the exuberant "Getcha Good," leaving me huge fan feeling the symptoms of withdrawal kicking in.

The Neck Is A Bridge To The Body starts off as twirling rays of light curling around each other and the stationary guitar on stage. The circular lights spin within a controlled chaos that enveloped the stage. It looked like a tunnel of pure ecstasy from which Kaki King made her way out, head to toe in white, with no one making a sound. There was no applause, no cheering. The crowd was enthralled and mesmerized by the opening sounds and images, lulling them into a quiet awe. The show is so impressively immersive that hypnotized reverence is the only thing that made sense in that moment.

It wasn't until after a few songs that the audience's enthusiasm for the work finally erupted. King had taken the already unique amalgamation and had her guitar pick up percussion duties. She scratched and vigorously tapped on her guitar, making it boom with all the urgency of her motions. This was one of many times where King put her inventiveness on display. She ran through so many guitar playing techniques, moving her hands so quickly across the frets that the images could barely keep pace.

Every song had its own accompanying imagery representing King's songs. The videos ranged from these beautifully rendered geometric designs to live action shots of city life. Some of my favorites included the rapidly evolving guitar shedding its previous skins and the Tron-esque tube lighting that lined the guitar. However the most entertaining segment came towards the middle of the piece where an interruption from the guitar itself popped up. The Guitar guitar conversed in dramatic wah-wahs with audience, making sure we were having a good time and asking if it could tell us a story. Obviously the crowd obliged and we were treated to a hilarious and introspective trip down the life of a socially awkward white guitar.

The final passage of the piece was an erratic but purposefully arranged clash of noise. As it came to an end, King stood up from her seat and motioned to the guitar, letting the crowd's adulation come through on last time. She then spoke with the crowd with an accomplished cadence, soaking in Lincoln Hall's appreciation. King explained her piece as "written by the guitar, about the guitar, for the guitar." Her humor and wonderful personality resonated through joking about her merch, lauding Celine Neon for their fun performance, and her own future as a stand up. She even hinted at doing another version of the piece with other artists and songs. But it was King's candidness in speaking of her wife and newborn child and the surge of emotions she had while holding her baby and reading about the Rosetta lander that drew the most attention. She finished off her set with a short ode to the lander, a majesty of modern technology with her own majestic audio visual performance.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


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