Saturday, April 2, 2011

Reker's "People Get Ready"

Tonight’s your last chance to see People Get Ready, a performance named for Steven Reker’s tribe of indie musician/dancers, at The Kitchen. So listen up.

Musically, Reker’s mixtape certainly has appeal. What starts off with Reker’s very low-key singing and plinking guitar notes and the gang stomping out the rhythm like trained horses counting with their hooves quickly expands into this primal heartbeat--full-force, deliciously melodic, deeply layered rock. One drawback to totally loving it is, at least in this setting, the indecipherable lyrics. (”a Squandering,” sung very deliberately and clearly, is the exception.) It’s all quite danceable, although the group’s collective and often whimsical choreography and awkward, ineffectual way with video and props--usually manipulating unorthodox light sources--shows no evidence of confidence in the overall design.

But, dance-wise, People Get Ready has high points. The energetic Reker, a well-loved stalwart of “downtown” performance, provides some of that interest in Red Skeleton where he performs a kind of meditative, stop-motion hip hop while plastered against the back wall, a white hipster suspended against its charcoal bricks as if stuck by Velcro. And there’s that boyish smile. Microphone’s dance--a swinging-corded-microphones-like-lassos number choreographed by Reker and his drummer Luke Fasano--has strong, uncomplicated visual impact but wastes it by going on too long and abusing people's tolerance for grating noise. Side Saddle brings together the kickass women of the troupe--Jen Goma, Jessica Cook and Megan Byrne as Reker’s backup singers, perhaps deliberately arranged in line with him, not behind him, for chorus moves that, for the first time, happily align with the pumping, pounding, expansive waves of Reker’s music.

Other members of the troupe include musicians James Rickman and Eddie Crichton who, though generally integrated into the flow of things, mostly stick to making music on the sidelines.

People Get Ready concludes its run tonight at 8pm. For tickets, click here.

Sample songs by People Get Ready on Myspace.

Sample a 2009 performance of People Get Ready at The Kitchen.

The Kitchen
512 West 19th Street (between 10th and 11th Avenues), Manhattan
(directions)

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