Author: Madeline Thomas
Photo taken from TV Girl’s Bandcamp
Guess who has an inside joke with George Clanton? Read it and weep cyber goths, it’s me, Madi. I promised to keep the secret safe, and in exchange he gave me a cheeky grin that was well worth the, perhaps embarrassing, banter which led to my pledge of silence. Here’s how it happened…
I’m standing in front of George Clanton, waving a twenty and a ten in the air. What am I supposed to do with my hands? What does my body language say about me? The fan in front of me just gave him a hug – is he that sort of guy? I don’t even like hugs, but I love George Clanton. I love his music, his stage persona, and his tendency to head bob in tune with conversation. Now he’s looking at me with alert, perky eyes, waiting for words to come out of my mouth. Thankfully they do, and we’re discussing my merch options given budget limitations. I attempt to finagle a discount in exchange for a good review, and hence, the banter begins.
That night at Barboza I learned two things:
One – George Clanton is just as funny as he seems online.
Two – He has really bad hearing.
I bought the white 100% electronica shirt, which he told me to keep stain free by getting a Tide stick, and a Slide cassette. The album sounds like a dream – it’s lush like computer generated ocean waves and sparkling water. Hearing George Clanton live was a dream. I can’t say I saw much of him live – the show sold out within two weeks of tickets being released, which he was pleased to announce and thanked us (the crowd at Barboza) for. But, those glimpses of thrashing, flailing arms I was able to catch were absolutely beautiful.
The Brooklyn based artist, whose age I can’t seem to find despite an extensive social media deep dive, is a killer performer. His work translates well into a live setting given its pop heavy beats and harsh noise build ups. As the music slows and the lyrics echo, he would reach his arms up towards the ceiling or clutch the microphone into his chest. The whole performance was sort of like watching Dragon Ball, if electronic music was a spirit bomb.
The crowd ate it up. People in the front didn’t stop jumping until he stopped moving or started talking. He was obviously appreciative of their dedication and dropped to his knees to sing directly into their wildly oscillating faces. Clanton, too, jumped about while performing. His dynamic stage presence really made the show for me; the music inspires movement, so watching him move just as manically as us fans was, for lack of a better term, really *cool.*
He played some oldies, like “It Makes the Babies Want to Cry” off of 100% Electronica. The tracks he played from Slide inspired the best response from the crowd. A close second was the spontaneous cover of Third Eye Blind’s “Semi-Charmed Life,” which sounds uncannily similar to the backing track of a few songs off of his LP. But, hey, I’ll let it slide.
I came for the opener, so once Clanton had bid us adieu, I made my way to his merch table. TV Girl’s set began with a track I didn’t recognize from their latest release Death of a Party Girl. “Pantyhose” followed, then “Cigarettes Out the Window” and some witty stage banter.
Honestly… I didn’t stay past the first few songs. His voice (lead singer Brad Petering) just does not sound like their recordings, which I could have anticipated, but didn’t. TV Girl’s studio work is bright and bouncy. Petering sings with a nasal voice on the tracks, but the high pitch of his voice is definitely edited. Listening to the songs live, I felt that their music didn’t sound *right* with a voice that is much lower, yet obviously straining to be as high and piercing as possible.
Listen to this recording (above), then compare to the live version (below). It’s not objectively bad, the sound is just… different.
Blame it on the men bumping into me at the bar, or the political culture I am immersed in, but while they played, I became irritated by the lyrics I once found humorous and comforting. Petering is writing about love and lust, but really he’s just romanticizing all the girls who either broke up with him or broke his heart. Sure, most musicians do the same, but that night I was feeling especially aggressively feminist. I didn’t want to listen to a group of dudes smash the same keyboard buttons again and again as if repeating a sound effect that usually only occurs once in a song makes the performance a spin-off.
I realized I just wanted TV Girl to actually be girls. The music flows nicely with the feminine-toned auto-tune (say that four times fast) and the lyrics are relatable. I’ll stick to my Spotify jam sessions and shut my mouth.
MADELINE THOMAS | watch out, she’s over analyzing again! | KXSU Music Reporter