w/the 90 Day Men, the Sick Bees, the High Strung
Thurs Dec 5, Crocodile, $8.
During a recent Glass Candy show in Portland, one fan hollered, "Do you know how sexy you are?"
Lead singer Ida No answered calmly and matter-of-factly, "No. Why don't you tell me how sexy I am?"
The audience member refrained that night, but I'll tell you: No's photo is the screensaver for every underground fanboy I know. She's the Debbie Harry of basement shows--probably the most objectified singer around, in a scene that prides itself on not objectifying anybody. Then again, Ida is a tall goddess who's been known to wear extra-short skirts, only to bend over and expose silver lamé underwear while singing like she might bite off your head.
Portland's Glass Candy and the Shattered Theatre, a band whose name is currently whispered with reverence in art-punk circles nationwide, consists of Ms. No on vocals, John David V on guitar, and drummer Ginger Peach. They play dark, minimal, early-'80s-New York-worshiping art-punk, traveling a path forged by Suicide and the New York Dolls; their most recent release, a seven-inch on Troubleman Unlimited, has them covering Josie Cotton's great Valley Girl anthem "Johnny, Are You Queer?" with a razor-sharp, deadly serious tone.
Glass Candy sounds better on wax than amped through a PA, though (and rumor has it the major labels have been all up in their grilles). Whereas their East Coast counterparts, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, have a massive sound that's more than the sum of its parts, Glass Candy's guitar and drums are simple (though improving), so the band relies on Ida's magnetism. Luckily, that's not difficult. Aside from her near-confrontational stage presence--strutting around, rolling on the floor, twitching, and making eye contact, a sort of evil, stoic counterpart to Karen O--her voice has a reverb-drenched vibrato that blankets the audience like the crushed velvet of David Bowie's stretch pants. Flanking the loud, classic-rock drone of Mr. V's low guitar and Peach's modern-primitive dance-drumming, Ida's guttural, cascading screams sound like the rock-star dreams of a '70s art-school student: mysterious, compelling, and strangely imprisoned. If you like living in a glamour-thick, nihilistic moment, Glass Candy is all about creating that rock 'n' roll feeling.