Concert Review: Dooms De Pop, Astari Nite, and Confused as Ever at Artserve Fort Lauderdale, July 24

confusedasever.jpg
via myspace.com/confusedaseverrocks
Fort Lauderdale quartet Confused As Ever
Redeye '09
With Dooms De Pop, Astari Nite, and Confused as Ever
Artserve Fort Lauderdale
Friday, July 24, 2009

Better Than:
Guy Harvey paintings and seashell collections

The Review:

Fort Lauderdale is perhaps better known for its nickel slots and three-for-one drink specials than its cultural pursuits. But you could have fooled the hundreds of people who attended Friday night's kickoff party for the multimedia extravaganza that was the Red Eye exhibition, held at Broward County's ArtServe space. (It's just a block west from the Hustler emporium on Sunrise.) 

In its fourth year, the annual Red Eye show has become the 954's underground art tour de force, showcasing a diverse range of work from lo-brow to surrealistic. There was a film room reeling movies about wastoid ducks getting high on weed and spoken word hosted by the omnipresent open mike host Renda Writer. There was live graffiti and a full-on mariachi band complete with its own troupe of flolkloric backup dancers. There was even a "zen room" with live music from Yanni-style new age players.

But our focus is on the bands set to perform in the auditorium -- local acts Dooms De Pop, Astari Nite, and Confused as Ever were slated to provide the music for a fashion show by local designers. This could have been either intriguing, or profoundly revolting.
Ft. Lauderdale's own Dooms De Pop kicked things off with a boisterous set of spunky power-punk as models donning colorful botanical fashions strutted their stuff down the catwalk. The trio unveiled a new track called "When I'm Bona Fide," and its gallivanting drums and crunchy guitar licks provided a dramatic contrast to the ladies strutting by who resembled floral arrangements.

The center of attraction however, was not the model with the banana leaf blouse, but rather the band's mustachioed bass player Barnaby Wile. Every band needs a showboat, and on "Tackle that Baboon," Wile was up to the task, hippity-hopping across the catwalk with his bass. Lead vocalist and guitarist Garo Gallo did an excellent job in the background, straining his guitar licks through various foot pedals. Dude's a wizard with the wah-wahs, that's for sure.  

North Miami Beach's Astari Nite was the ideal fashionista choice to take the stage next. The band's androgynous lead singer, Mychael Ghost, filled the room with just enough melodrama as models now paraded around in creations like a wedding dress made of Hefty plastic garbage bags. Ghost's delivery is uniquely Anglophilic, and taking cues from Madonna's faux-Brit style, he ends verses with a particular British snark. 

Bass player R.Furey, the quartet's female answer to Interpol's Carlos D, did an adequate job holding down the bass rhythms. But on songs "Prayer for Lovers" and "Forever Yours, Forever Mine" it was guitarist Albert Grey who dazzled, demonstrating a deft ability at nailing those darker chords that make post-punk so satisfying.

With appearances at yesterday's St. Petersburg date of the Warped Tour, and a slated gig at the Hot Topic store in Aventura, we'll fess up to making presumptions about Fort Lauderdale quartet Confused As Ever. (Teeny-bopper emo-punk, oh no!) Much to our surprise, the final group of the evening dished out a cohesive set of poppy, metal-tinged rock that impressed the remaining audience members.

The band's pint-size lead vocalist, Elana Meair, demonstrated a remarkable range -- think Evanescence's Amy Lee but more raw -- on the shifting thrash-to-ballad song "Technical Trainer."  When Meair struck one impossible octave on the bombastic "Subtle Difference," we overheard one discerning art connoisseur whisper to another, "I'm sold." And so were we.
More engaging evenings like these and Broward County might begin to lose its drunk-frat-guy- playground reputation. Well done, Red Eye!

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: I think Fort Lauderdale is in dire need of its own Basquiat.

Random Detail: Even though the promoters shook us down for some beans to get through the door, the afterparty across the way at multimedia center/warehouse the Bubble had even more fantastic local art to showcase. It was like a slice of Wynwood right in Ft. Laudy.
 
By the Way: You still have time to catch the Red Eye "multi-media phenomena" as the show runs at Artserve until August 6.

-- Alex Rendon
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