Our First Guest Post!
Listen up, kids! It’s our first guest post by none other than Patrick Bowman. He might be just another name to you, but if you read the City Paper, chances are you’ve read something of his recently. He’s the author of this week’s cover story on Mac Miller. That’s big balls! We’re happy and fortunate to have him as a contributor. While we’re on the subject, we’re always seeking new writers. If you or someone you know is interested in contributing to the NakYouOut flav, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Patrick attended last week’s Small Black/Wise Blood show at Stage AE. He chose to focus on Wise Blood. I personally enjoyed his performance and share a similar mindset with Patrick. Without further adieu, here you have it:
I don’t know what I expected. It my first show ever at the mini-venue that is The Club at Stage AE, and my first time seeing/hearing bedroom soul-smith Wise Blood, who opened for Small Black on March 24th.
I was excited about the former’s potential to provide yet another mid-size venue for Pittsburgh to utilize, aiding in the great fight to get more, quality live acts to visit the Steel City with a little more regularity. Of course, that remains to be seen and it wasn’t something I can necessarily glean from one concert.
On the other hand, I’ve been obsessing over Wise Blood since he first appeared in Pittsburgh last summer, seemingly out of nowhere, with an unusually magnetic and exciting collection of lo-fi R&B tracks that comprised his first EP â€œ+.â€
â€œ+â€ melted down soul, pop, hip-hop and chillwave into a simmering pot of androgynous sexuality and spiked it with John Bonham-sized drum breaks. For anyone familiar with Pittsburgh’s music scene, this sounded nothing like anything being produced around town. I was hooked.
Since last year, Wise Blood (or Central Catholic Grad Chris Laufman) has been steadily building steam with multiple nods from RCRD LBL and Pitchfork, a record deal on Dovecote, and a handful of supposedly stunning live sets at this month’s South by Southwest Festival in Austin, TX. Granted, the distance between the bedroom and the stage is bigger than most people first imagine and I seriously doubted the hyper-sexual, adolescent energy that reverberated from tracks like â€œSTRT SRNSâ€ and â€œB.I.G. E.G.O.â€ could remain intact in a normal performance setting.
With a live drummer present to take care of those earth shattering break beats he seems to favor so strongly and a lone man covering the keyboard and laptop, Laufman (all 5’5” of him) took the stage beaming with happiness and chatting about how pumped he was to be back in his home town, finally making his live debut.
After the first few snare splashes, the set snapped into focus immediately and Laufman suddenly seemed possessed. He belted out his hazily seductive lyrics in an aggressive, sing-rap rap style, switching his posture back and forth between a young, focused Slim Shady and an un-tethered Iggy Pop circa 1970. Laufman stalked into the crowd for â€œBig E.G.O.â€ weaving between quiet couples and eventually falling to his knees and pleading â€œthese drugs are kicking in, I hope you understandâ€ to an obviously uncomfortable high school kid, while the smaller crowd seemed to be wrapping their heads around what was really happening.
The song ended, he hopped back up and made his way to the stage, snaking his mic chord around the small clumps of people that littered the floor. A1000-watt smile never left his face and he continued to profusely thank everyone for coming out to this, again, his first show in Pittsburgh.
Laufman’s performance was hilarious, over the top, kind of amazing, utterly sincere and completely earned. His stage presence was intensely developed and he had no problem pushing his small collection of bedroom soul symphonies to their absolute breaking pointâ€¦ all for a show that consisted of maybe 50 people.
The whole package isn’t quite there yet, but it will be. And when Chris Laufman comes back to Pittsburgh, firing on all cylinders with a full album under his belt probably playing a much bigger crowd, you better make sure you bear witness.