Philadelphia’s a great place to live. It’s urban sprawl, it’s congested air, and most importantly, it’s location in relation to other urban capitals of the North East. We get the dj’s out of New York, the experimentalists out of the art schools, like Lightning Bolt, and the indie-pop goodness of Canadian acts stopping by in the neighborhood. Yet something about Philadelphia itself has always attracted me: that bitterly playful side of its personality that is filled with half-smiles and a fist to the face. Did someone mention Ted Nguyent? Ted Nguyent emerged from some collapsed basement in West Philly and since its emergence, has taken up shows formal, informal, and sometimes illegal. In any case, Ted Nguyent has its muscle, with sharp hooks and thrashing riffs. Yet more importantly of all is their timing. True to the math rock art of classics like Make Believe or Plastic Constellations, they’re sense of time changes feels almost as if it were an inside joke that is still being formed on stage. Far from being insulting, it is a welcome relief. Take “Seabiskuit”, starting in a blaze of near nursery rhymes being screamed into a mic, it changes from a somewhat pop punk number into something reminiscent of Cinemechanica or Colossal in it’s heaviness, and then as quickly as it had started, they have moved onto a lengthier, almost calming, peak. Yet to hear their recordings is truly only the beginning. With bodies flailing in some stranger’s basement, a live show with Ted Nguyent can be somewhat dumbfounding and literally leave you breathless. Luckily for you, we got them down at the Danger Danger Gallery (51st & Baltimore Ave) on January 15th playing with other local favorites at the upcoming Sierra MLK Charity Show. So stop by and let go. Who the hell said charity didn’t need to be fun, exciting, and somewhat violent?
- Cliff Drake