THE EPHEMERAL RETURN OF NATALIE PORTMAN'S SHAVED HEAD
On one overcast September day in 2009, I saw a band called Natalie Portman's Shaved Head at Bumbershoot. I didn't want to stay for their set, but my companion insisted because a guy in the (now nautically-clad) band "hit on her at the beach one time." The crowd was a mess of teens wearing neon spandex and Kanye sunglasses. Soon enough, there was an inflatable dolphin in my face and the teens went wild, crowdsurfing on inflatable turtles. And there was a bubblegum pop explosion onstage of '80s keyboard dance music with the sass to charm the pants off of pigment-deprived Seattleites, even this one.
Luke Smith and Shaun Libman, who met in film class, started the band in 2005 at a lunch table at the Center School, a Seattle arts high school. Their first focus as songwriters was "fruit snacks and partying" and they cite "getting girlfriends" as their primary motivation. After recruiting two friends from their high school and Liam Downey Jr., who they found through Myspace, NPSH's self-described "punk rock ABBA disco Osmonds with chain saws" was complete. On their first sorta-hit, "Me + Yr Daughter," they cheekily croon: "Me and your daughter/Hotter and hotter/Suspended in sweet, sweet summer love." Their sugary pop sheen, punchy nu-disco electronic beats, and playful lyrics earned them supporting spots for CSS, the Faint, and Weezer. Following a dispute with the actress about their name, NPSH became Brite Futures in 2010.
In a note on their Facebook page after the May 15 announcement of their amicable breakup, the band reminisces on some of their best times: sipping champagne in "tiny plastic cups" after getting signed to Warner Bros. in 2009, Lily Allen dressed as Obi-Wan Kenobi attacking them onstage with a plastic lightsaber, and the "talking testicles" skit from their first show at the opening of Greenwood Space Travel Supply Co., to name a few. After seven years as a band, they have unanimously agreed to call it quits, but this Saturday, they have one last party for the city of Seattle. The Vera Project, 7:30 pm, $10/$9 with club card, tickets available online only at www.theveraproject.org.