Live Review

Midnight Movies at Orange Crush at the Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, Thursday, Aug. 17

I liked Midnight Movies better when they were a trio—when singer Gena Olivier was still the drummer, and her heavy baritone voice would seep slowly from the back of the stage to where the audience stood, transfixed. But now? Now there's a new female drummer, and Olivier's moved to the front of the stage, perched behind a keyboard with all the beauty and talent of a modern-day Grace Slick but, well, stuck behind a keyboard. At the front of the stage. There's no more room for seepage, no space for a slow dance between Olivier's mouth and my eyes, and, well, that kinda kills it. Even the songs seem different: before, it was all Blonde-Redhead-but-better, songs with sparse instrumentation that contained mystery in every gap, a sense of something foreboding filling in for (what the band obviously felt was) a missing fourth member. Now the music's all there for the taking, and I found myself longing for some guesswork. It's too easy to describe how Midnight Movies sound—like Jefferson Airplane run through today's new-new wave cycle—and, okay, I guess that's cool, that's their thing, whatever. I just wish it was more like the old days.

 
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