In Review: Blood Orange @ The Saltair, 10/8
Mark Burgess of ChameleonsVox
Seeing Blood Orange has long been a dream of mine, the mastermind of it, Dev Hynes being one of my favorite artists and producers; he’s collaborated with Carly Rae Jepson, and his work with Sky Ferreira just made Pitchfork’s decade-ranker “Best 200 Songs of the 2010s.” And so I was kicking myself when I found out a day before his show that he’d be opening for Tyler, the Creator at The Great Saltair. A friend asked if I could get us in, and so I did just that, and we arrived at Saltair just in time for his set to start. The crowd was massive, full of mostly Zoomers clad in neon orange GOLFING gear and merch for Tyler, but I noticed a few older, seasoned millennials like myself arching their necks as the screen behind the stage began to swirl with sultry, blown-up images of Hynes himself (as the real Hynes leaned over his keyboard), other elegant, dancing bodies, snapshots of life in what is probably Hynes’ muse of a city, New York. The set was a short one, as Hynes moved with ease through stuff mostly off his most recent releases—2019’s Angel’s Pulse
and 2018’s Negro Swan
—with guest vocals from rising pop R&B artist Ian Isiah. Hynes did, however, make some obligatory visits to his hits: the upbeat and euphorically self-effacing “Best to You,” from 2016’s Freetown Sound
, and his most well-known, well-beloved song, “You’re Not Good Enough,” from the 2013 breakout album Cupid Deluxe
(and which also just nabbed a spot on that Pitchfork list). Though he closed out pretty quickly, getting to see that Hynes truly delivers a flawless performance live—bringing in singers and collaborators to sing the places of his song’s many guest spots—was a treat that I hope heartily to experience again soon.
ChameleonsVox, Theater of Hate, Jay Aston
It’s heartening and intriguing to consider that bands from back in the day who were part of scenes that yielded established genres—such as the post-punk of the late ‘70s and ‘80s—are still kicking around, writing and playing songs, often in unlikely places. This show slipped right under my nose until I did some snooping, and found that ChameleonsVox are in fact the 2019 iteration of The Chameleons, of creepy, ooey-gooey, atmospheric post-punk fame, who also hail from a special place in any post-punk lover’s heart. Songs like “Swamp Thing,” which soars into some kind of glam territory, are forever classics, and their discography—whose most famous releases, Script of the Bridge
and Strange Times
, came from their short-lived original tenure as a cult-followed Manchester band ca. 1983 - 1987, after which their beloved manager died and they disbanded—is perfect for the season of Halloween. The band remained somewhat active after their disbanding, releasing an EP in 1990 dedicated to their manager, and working on music again starting in 2000 to release Why Call it Anything
and This Never Ending Now.
They broke up again in 2003 and reunited again in ‘09, with original members Dave Fielding and Mark Burgess at the core. Though they’ve had a history of releasing albums as soon as they re-form, this legendary performance will take place on a rare U.S. tour. With new songs that hold up to the evergreen ones from the early ‘80s, this is truly not a show to miss. Theater of Hate, Jay Aston (of fellow cult ‘80s dark wave act Gene Loves Jezebel) and locals Big Face open. Liquid Joe’s, 1249 E. 3300 South, 7 p.m., $20, 21+, liquidjoes.net