Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Branx is a venue known for a crazy angle on a good show. Nothing is ever typical, and rarely anything mutable. Diamond Tentacles is the same. Doors opened at 9pm, Saturday the 13th. On the small Branx basement stage, Tentacles let out their first Portland show.
Seeing Diamond Tentacles was like being all the magic of being eleven, and all the dark magic. They would be like any Brooklyn psych-rock outfit were it for there additionally unsettling use of humor and generational kitsch. Obsessive over preteen relics and imagery, they transport an audience to a dimension of synth and syndication. Embracing an obvious pop approach, which is more apparent in their more radio-ready dance pieces as $and Dollars and Capri Sons also tells us who they are. Like any vintage dance operation but relentless with trashy, acid-disco ridiculousness.
Tentacles surprised us with however with their jaw-dropping opener. They took a tender approach to ballads that decimated audiences. Opening with the track "Raceme", the crowd's attention is captive. Booming synth suggestive of something ripping off the 'Top Gun' soundtrack, if that were its template. Tentacles in fact is founded in a sort of comfortably old VHS copy. It's beats fragile and mechanical in construction, lyrics of magic and adolescents fall together into something beautiful.
Diamond Tentacles is the face of three very strange and excited young New Yorkers. Two are brothers, Michael and Elliot. They say they grew up middle class and things were fairly quiet. They are responsible for the every oblique, electronic riddle and reference. Their friend Emily Sands is their voice. She is the madness and the mage that excercises thier spells. Hers is the voice that is truest in more dark pop ballads, Braided Moons, Paladin and again Raceme. Her innocent and sincere visitations on new age as vintage is a lovely adhesive in Tentacles.
Then there is the dance. Serious dance. Fried and frantic is Diamond Tentacles strong suit. "Magic Wands" is evil its so infectiously moving. "Party or I'll Fucking Kill You" speaks for itself. We danced and we gasped for air as the Tentacles three controlled every breath with every outrageous number.
See Diamond Tentacles next time. Deal with the brain damage later.