Demander/the Gay Blades – Mercury Lounge – April 7, 2009

April 8th, 2009
Dave Heilman (Demander)

Dave Kurutz (Demander)

At first glance, Demander, a trio, and the Gay Blades, a duo, looked like an almost boring fit for Mercury Lounge. Each band contains unassuming-looking members who keep their instruments and musical accessories to a minimum. But then each band erupted with a crackle of distorted guitar and rhythmic explosions that filled the room.

Demander’s explosion detonated first, shaking the walls of the venue with Sivan Harlap’s brilliant and brash drumming. Dave Kurutz layered speedy, melodic guitar over Harlap’s drums, while lead singer and bassist Karen Correa added her charming, powerful voice to round out the band’s already big sound. They whipped through a nearly 40-minute set while playing songs reminiscent of the Strokes and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Their balance of percussive thrash and sweetly catchy melodies helped draw in the crowd, which began the night scattered around the room.

the Gay Blades

The Gay Blades

The Gay Blades, led by the boisterous Clark Westfield, followed Demander’s dynamics. From the outset, however, the Gay Blades had nagging instrument issues. As he dealt with his guitar, Westfield made light of an ironic conversation he had just had with Demander’s Correa. One of them had said, “People love a train wreck because they feel like they’re inside.” Luckily for Westfield and his lone bandmate, “Puppy” Mills, the crowd was more than pleased to be along for the ride with the band’s self-proclaimed “trash-pop” sound, extreme energy and stage theatrics (accents, stories, trips into the crowd and even pointing fingers at a couple making out), which helped them power through other snags like a broken guitar strap and a broken bass pedal during the popular (and even radio-ready) “NHDN.” —Sean O’Kane

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane |