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New Young Pony Club & Muscles at The Echo 10/30/07

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If you weren't at The Echo last night, then you missed out on an overdue Modular People extravaganza. Aussie one-man band Muscles and London's own New Young Pony Club rocked the house with their dance-laden equations. With Halloween costumes in full effect and drinks a flowin', the sold out house was full of bopping NYPC-a-holics intent on getting their fix. Well, I believe that we all got more than we bargained for.

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Muscles opened up the show, shelling out as much unrequited love as humanly possible. With the exception of a select few, it seemed as though the crowd was virtually unaware of who he was. Muscles made a point of this by stating, "The only two people who are dancing in here are these two guys!" Of course, they were sporting their "Ice cream is gonna save the day" tee shirts. I'm a huge fan of his latest album Guns Babes Lemonade and thus I took the lukewarm welcome he received personally.I thrashed about and sang along despite the overwhelmingly negative, cold front behind me. People certainly were not abiding by the credo set forth by such anthemic songs like "Ice Cream". No one was "dancing with their shirt off", to quote Muscles. Yet he persisted, apprehensively reinforcing his presence after every song with, "I'm Muscles, this next song is on my album!"

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I felt like people really didn't quite "get" Muscles. He is a peculiar Aussie with nonsensical, excessively layered techno jams. The juxtaposition of mellifluous and abrasive elements within his songs is extremely polarizing, but I find the man behind Muscles irrefutably endearing. I will admit that his minimal live performance, consisting of two keyboards and a computer-induced backing, was less impacting than his debut album. Guns Babes Lemonade is a phenomenal piece of work, but I'd like to see him perform with a full band. Muscles' set included songs like "Ice Cream", "Sweaty, "Chocolate Rasberry Lemon and Lime", "One Inch Badge Pin", "Marshmallow", and "The Lake". One particular line from his album comes to mind when I recall the experience: "I'm going home with a big smile for the first time/for the first time/for the first time".

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I'd never seen The Echo this packed, brimming with utmost anticipation. To say that the crowd was into it is a complete understatement. We were all ecstatic. An equally exuberant NYPC took stage and got the dance floor started. At one point, front woman Tahita Bulmer was handed a pair of sunglasses by an adoring fan. She snagged them, put them upon her face with a smile, and continued to rock out. There were some great moments of synergy between artist and fan. The crowd engaged in a song-by-song sing a long, dancing and flailing about as if there was no tomorrow. If you read my CMJ posts, then you would have expected NYPC to cover Technotronic's "Pump Up the Jam" again. People flipped out when Bulmer started belting their thumping rendition. Other highlights from their set included: "Get Lucky", "Hiding On The Staircase", "Ice Cream", "The Bomb", "Jerk Me", "The Get Go", "Grey", and "Tight Fit".

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The last time NYPC came through LA they played The Stone Bar. There was some reference to this during their set, but I thought nothing of it until I had left the venue. I heard a few people talking about the distinction between the two shows. It went something like this: "Blah blah blah, I liked their show at The Stone Bar last December more. Blah blah blah, like no one knew who they were then." Truth be told, most people didn't have a clue who NYPC was before they saw an Intel commercial blasting "Ice Cream". Regardless, this particular show was to be cherished. Hold it closely to your heart. Next time they come they'll be so huge that you'll have to brave an even larger, sold-out venue.

This was my second time seeing NYPC this year. I have my memorable CMJ experience to compare and I must say that I enjoyed myself more this time around. There's just something about seeing one of your favorite artists perform in the comfort of your own domain. You may have seen me in the front making a complete fool of myself. Apparently, my body wasn't designed for the type of dance moves my mind envisions.