On The Radar: The Blow

TWJ’s On The Radar series is devoted to previewing upcoming shows. This edition is by our guest contributor Allison. She recently saw The Blow at CMJ in New York, and here she lets you know what to expect if you attend The Blow’s upcoming show in Columbus on Friday. Or any of them, for that matter.

Performance artist?

Musician?

In the end, if it’s a good show, does it matter? This was my conclusion when The Blow performed a showcase at CMJ. And while that show is long gone, those in the Cap-City have the privilege of seeing her in the very intimate Wexner Center on November 12.

Khaela Maricich aka The Blow makes it fairly apparent that her musical talent is on par with her acting skills. The show opens with one spotlight beaming on the lithe blonde standing at center stage. She looks somewhat unsure as she rhythmically tap the mic. What appears to be testing the sound turns out to be an a cappella opening song. Here she unhooks the mic and launches into story telling where everything from her love life to the audience is up for review.

But The Blow isn’t a solo act. Jona Bechtolt (from YACHT) served as the behind the scenes brainchild for the catchy electro-pop sound. Though no longer part of The Blow, Bechtolt’s simplistic beats augment the story being told in lyrics. Music cues from the sound board the result in a minimalist performance where all eyes are on Maricich sashaying across the stage in jerky, robotic movements.

The set focuses primarily on the 2006 album Paper Television with Maricich singing crowd favorites “Parentheses” and “True Affection.” My favorite song hands down is “Hey Boy” from 2004’s Poor Aim: Love Songs. It’s a simple story: girl-meets-boys, girl-talks-to-boy, girl-gives-phone-number, boy-never calls. We’ve all been through it but with her playful musings make light of her insecurities, “A. You’re gay/ B. You’ve got a girlfriend/ C. You kind thought I came on too strong or /D. I just wasn’t your thing/ No ring.” We’ve all had the same thoughts, right?

All boy-stands-up-girl aside, Maricich intermittently weaves a tale as the ghostwriter for Lindsay Lohan’s never released album. After talking in vague detail about “a certain celebrity” with “a certain DJ girlfriend,” Maricich pulls out gold studded platforms, readjusts her blousy top to be cinched at the waist and takes on the mannerisms of the supposed celebrity train wreck. For a few songs she tells the story of meeting with Lohan to craft an album about her love life with Samantha Ronson. After little set up, the crowd is priviledged to hear her demo “Up” which is supposedly penned after a candid conversation between LiLo and her mother. The song shows all marks of a catchy number one hit.

Maricich interacts with the crowd the way comedians do, pacing from one end of the stage to the other, asking questions and feeding off of the reaction from the crowd. There is an intimacy that while you’re convinced it’s an act, her immediate charm is impressive. She’s comfortable on stage but at the same time very willing to talk to the audience like it’s a one-on-one conversation.

So here’s what to expect should you (and you should) go see The Blow on Friday. Be ready to be wooed. Her slightly self-deprecating artistic humor makes her vulnerable while her sharp wit will make you realize that she knows exactly what she’s doing. She’s making you fall in love.

[MySpace]

[Khaela Maricich]

[Tickets for Columbus show at The Wexner Center]

Allison

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