Shira E., Glass Popcorn, Straight Straws - Trunk Space - 8/9/2013
Wednesday night, I watched three sets of fully fleshed-out pop music performed solo, augmented by samplers, laptops, and pedals. It was something that probably couldn't have happened a century ago and probably has some implications on technological development contributing to an egalitarian artistic landscape but also having some unintended consequences. But neither Utopia nor Skynet happened Wednesday night, so I'd rather talk about what did happen.
Benjamin Leatherman Glass Popcorn at The Real Coachella
Opening up the night was Glass Popcorn, who has had a pretty good run in the media recently with a piece on this blog, on Vice's Noisey blog, and an essay about art and the institution, so I don't feel compelled to explain what he's all about since he has done a really good job of that himself.
Wednesday night marked his first performance since dropping his recent Tw!nk Privilege mixtape, and the new stuff feels really focused and flows well. There was a confrontational energy to his set, as he was jocularly pushing people around, but I assumed they were all members of the real-life equivalent of his Google+ circle and were okay with it. I am actually really happy that, as someone outside this group of people, none of this hostility was directed toward me, because I really do not want to be put in the bizarre situation of being rough-housed by a 17-year-old. There are boundaries to everyone's circles, and it seems Mr. Popcorn respects that.
Following Glass Popcorn was Straight Straws. This band is the project of a person who is in my circle, Ben Nandin, so I do have some kind of unstated license to push him around in my critique of his performance, but for the most part I thought it was pretty good. He did a short solo set of sort of noodly guitar pop with live sampling and looping.
One of the songs had lyrics about "making it in Cottonwood", which I assume is about that one town to the north of here in the Verde River basin. With folksy geographical references and intricate, but not too baroque of guitar work, I think Straight Straws will probably be an interesting local band to watch develop.