Who can resist the allure of a band festooned in black masquerade ball masks and biohazard red protective face shields? Or hold out against the seductiveness of spirited singers/rappers, who resemble the anarchic cheerleaders on Nirvana's “Smells LIke Teen Spirit” video, dressed in red and black skirts, tank tops and just below-the-knee triple striped tube socks who at times, when they aren't dancing au-go-go as if to satisfy their satanic majesties requests, whirl nunchucks haphazardly about then bounce frenziedly on trampolines?
Enter B4Skin, on special show benefiting Downtown Radio (KTDT 99.1 FM) last Saturday at the Lathe Cave art space on Stone Ave. They kicked alongside local support Deschtuco and New York City’s Sound of Urchin. B4Skin’s appeal is more than aesthetic. Described by one of its members as “high school musical inspired by Satan,” B4Skin are a pop band, for real.
Beneath layers of vocals, their core instrumental sound is generated by just two musicians. The face-shield wearing guitarist—whose sharp-cut guitar lines sometimes recall rhythm-master Keith Strickland work with the B-52s, then it shifts into high-gain propulsion where the tone is
aggressive, metallic and driving, like riffs nipped from a Fast and the Furious soundtrack—is all the while triggering loops and samples, laying down a foundation for B4Skin’s hard-hitting drummer to play on top of, fattening the sound and creating infectious grooves that’d
do Dr. Dre proud. The kind of ass-clapping, in-the-pocket grooves in which the use of anything more than the most bare-bones of kits—snare drum, kick drum, hi-hat, cymbal—would be superfluous.