“What might have happened if Kate Bush and Roxy Music combined forces for a night? Went on a date and let us eavesdrop?”
These questions will be answered at Kate Loves Bryan, a music event seducing the crowd at the Bowery Electric this weekend. Roxy Music, a band known for its style as much as its music, and Kate Bush—who recently returned to the stage after a 35 year absence, and whose style seems to have practically invented an entire genre of music, will be treated to a grand mash-up.
Joanna Choy, the impresario behind the show, told us via email that she first conceived the idea three years ago. “I’d liked both artists as a kid from their MTV rotation and radio play on KROQ (LA radio) back in the day,” she says, “but didn’t investigate deeper until I became a genuine grownup. I do remember clearly, though, being struck by the visuals of both artists back then—sensual, dreamy, romantic.”
It’s fitting to put these acts together featuring music, theatricality, and dance. Kate Bush was an early popularizer of the headset microphone so that she could dance while singing, and Roxy Music always brought a vibrant electricity to their live shows, even after Brian Eno left the band and took his “alien-in-drag stage presence” with him.
Choy says, “When I heard [Bush’s] ‘Violin,’ I thought it sounded like an ode to Roxy Music. So I started listing a bunch of my favorite songs by both artists and drawing parallels, just to see what would come up. It started off with songs that had similar driving beats (like ‘Violin’ and [Roxy Music’s] ‘Remake/Remodel’— this made it into the show.” Both songs, from 1980 and 1972, respectively, do have a steady clip, as well as psychedelic-worthy, aria-like solos, and one can easily imagine Marc Bolan — or even Dr. Frank-N-Furter — tapping a foot appreciatively to either track.
The Losers Lounge recently did a Roxy Music/Brian Eno tribute, and Choy concurs that there must have been “something in the air,” but Kate Loves Brian came first, back in July. Choy adds that “the group I put together for this show worship and adore Kate and Roxy — some of them [are] part of the Losers community, as we’re all like-minded misfits.”
Both Roxy Music and Kate Bush, and their “spirit of self-production and experimental music,” have an influence on today’s artists, Choy notes. “Especially [in that] female artists are dominating music these days, which is awesome! I guess you could say the spirit of Kate and Roxy is about creating worlds and telling the stories within, or abstracting the depths of one’s emotion into something bigger than the self. Teen, tUnE-yArDs, FKA Twigs, Dirty Projectors, Evil Arrows, all have my attention.”
The show features the house band, The Kick Outside, with a pair of dancers, and performances by Joanna Choy herself, Michael T of Michael T and the Vanities, Seth Berkowitz of Lucky Ghost, Victoria Liedtke of Hey! Hello!, Blythe Gruda of Murder Ballads, and Darren O’Brien of Wildly.
If July’s iteration is any indication, this weekend’s show should be a good time. Choy noted, “Definitely witnessed some making out in the crowd and I’m pretty sure at least one child was conceived that night.”
“Kate Loves Bryan: The Music of Kate Bush and Roxy Music,” Nov. 22 at 8pm at Bowery Electric, 327 Bowery, East Village; tickets $10 advance/$12 door
Bradley Spinelli (@13_Spinelli) is the author of “Killing Williamsburg.”