Teengirl Fantasy Shines Through the Smoke

photo by Rebekah Gusway

I headed to the Waldorf early on Friday night so I was able to check out their fab night market, the Chosen Ones, a very unique concept that crops up at the Waldorf on a variety of occasions. It boasts some of the top pieces from vintage collectors in the city like Hey Jude Shop and C’est la Vie, all made available to dedicated hunters under one roof; well, actually there’s no roof but there is a large sand pit. My favourite find was a pair of men’s antique, neon, tighty-swim trunks but sadly I could not encourage anyone to buy them.

Finally Gatekeeper was inside spinning tracks from their latest LP Exo, released in July. When listening to the music, the first thing I thought was that it would make a great soundtrack to a dark sci-fi film, so it came as no surprise when I discovered that it has an accompanying video that places you inside the world of a first-person gamer. Created by Tabor Robak, the effect is mesmerizing and a perfect compliment to Matthew Arkell and Aaron David Ross’s compilation. The duo’s music is throbbing and insistent; drippy electro-beats surrounding cathedral-like chants; disturbing techno pulses that create a new phase of music people have dubbed “vaporwave”. The science fiction nerd in me loves the sound and I seriously think they should look into working with the Soska Twins. That being said, the sound and light show at the Waldorf did not do it justice, the crazy flash, pulse lighting was painful to look at and proved to be more of a distraction then an accentuation, often forcing me to close my eyes and plug at least one ear. There was so much smoke that you could hardly even make out anyone on stage. Others around me also thought the presentation was very aggressive and a little too intense, a shame really, because they have some amazing tracks.

Between the sets, DJ Cherchez la Femme spun some excellent tunes but the heat and excess smoke in the basement was cloying so most of us wound up outside at the very entertaining Runit beach party. DJs Rhek and Arems played classic hip-hop, dancehall, reggae mash-ups complete with sand!

Teengirl Fantasy has been talked about like crazy lately because of their hot new LP Tracer that will officially be released on August 21 courtesy of True Panther Sounds. I myself just finished reviewing and loving it (you can read it here) so I was very excited to be able to see them live. Logan Takahashi and Nick Weiss are energetic performers that have been on tour with the likes of Animal Collective and Crystal Castles. They are definitely focused when playing live as they do all the mixing right there and then, on the fly, choosing to rarely use any samples and subsequently giving a fantastic live performance. Between the different synthesizers, sequencers, keyboards, etc., this can be a tricky feat but the boys were crushin’ it.

For Golden Wheelz and AZN Thunda (please check out their website, it’s hilariously awesome!) the music levels were balanced very well, which made it possible to actually enjoy the music. Teengirl Fantasy focuses on producing a percussive electronic sound that seeps into soul and throngs of fans came from all over the club as soon as the curtain pulled back to reveal the dynamic duo! The boys played a variety of tracks from Tracer but the highlight of the night was when Kelela joined them on stage. Vocal tracks in electronica = awesome; live Kelela vocal tracks = outstanding!! Beautiful, expressive and sweetly modest, all three were pleased as punch that the crowd new the words to “EFX”, one of the first singles from the LP. I was definitely living out my teen girl fantasies on the dance floor and everyone around me was just as entranced by their musical ways.

People have tried to put Teengirl Fantasy into some kind of box – dreamy, trance, future-pop, house – but with so many rich tones and intricate rhythms, call it what you will… I’ll call it wonderful!