Kevin Blechdom – Lanfranchi’ Memorial Discoteque (Sydney 16/9/06)


Kevin Blechdom – Eats Out Australia Tour
LanFranchi’ Memorial Discoteque
Saturday, Sept 16 2006

Veering from the helium-aided vocal delivery of self-help clichés to almost tender-hearted love songs interspersed with fearfully neurotic delusions, Kevin Blechdom’ performance presented a veritable feast of personality disorders, with the narcissistic to the histrionic all taking to the stage.
Born in the USA as Kristin Erickson, Blechdom combines a laptop, keyboard and banjo in her one-woman show, which lurches clumsily from cheesy optimism to persecution fantasies punctuated by absurdist narratives about goldfish and porcupines. This tour, sponsored by Sydney label Dual Plover, marks Blechdom’ second visit to Australia and the first since the 2005 release of her album Eat My Heart Out by Chicks on Speed Records.

In an all ages gig, peopled by a good number of drunk teens and goon bags, Blechdom took to the stage to present a dizzying cacophony of themes, from pedophilia to heartbreak, via both seductive pop melodies and defiant fits of screaming, Lyrically her work moves rapidly from the banal to the psychotic. She begins the track “Love you from the heart’, for example, with a stock standard breathy almost orgasmic “I love you”, abruptly followed by a sobbing fit, various references to nitrous and holding her breath, and the lyrics “I’m not convinced, you still have to prove it to me” which are repeated until the song ends with “I hate you”.

Other tracks, such as Torture Chamber, begin with dreamy strings, and the vocal “You are my torture, and I am your chamber” accompanied by the sound of a church organ, while “Invisible Rock’ begins like an exercise tape, and then launches from a triumphalist introduction proclaiming “I hung up on my hang up today”, into a Christian choir type chorus of “I love you” which Blechdom intones while pointing at herself.

This talent for subverting and recombining generic conventions culminates spectacularly in Blechdom’ final song: a never-ending rendition of Whitney Houston’ version of “I will always love you’, which she loops from the final chorus. This song seems to combine all the most affecting aspects of Blechdom’ repertoire, at once ridiculous, hilarious and poignant – both a celebration and a critique of the power and excesses of pop and human emotion.

Kate Carr


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