For those of you not “in the know” about Tracy and the Plastics, it is a band consisting of Tracy (obviously) and an assortment of video characters played by her that go by the collective name of the Plastics. In the past couple of years, she has been the recipient of critical acclaim, amassed enough of a fan base to fill the normally desolate Meow Meow to the brim, and was signed to the Chainsaw label, which has such reputable artists as riff queens Sleater-Kinney and No. 2, featuring Neil Gust of Heatmiser fame.
(By the way, did any of you raise your eyebrows upon hearing of this new project of Neil’s? No. 2? Heatmiser No. 2? They sound pretty similar to me, and considering it was Elliott Smith who broke up Heatmiser …)
Anyway, Tracy and the Plastics’ unique brand of electro-punk seemed unenthusiastic on Tuesday night, with a short set and a complete refusal of the overwhelming audience requests for an encore. Say what you will about bands being tired, and road stress, but every time I’ve seen the maligned genius of the Dandy Warhols, they’ve played for at least one-and-a-half hours. And at the end of European tours, no less.
Considering the above-average enthusiasm of the crowd, Tracy should have at least broken the 60-minute mark. Aside from that, her set flowed well with the clips from mainstream media outlets and her projected selves intertwining to provide a foil to Tracy’s quiet and powerful vocals. It wasn’t enough to prevent her show being stolen by openers Pom Pom Meltdown, who managed to outshine both Tracy and the veteran rockers who make up Donna Dresch’s New Band.
Pom Pom Meltdown’s guitarist, Winner, shredded with metal riffs and screaming feedback from her white Ibanez strat, while drummer Terrica Kleinknecht pounded out atomic tempo-changing rhythms and bassist Haley Weiner alternated with Winner to deliver emotional and raw lyrics with complexity and ire. Their set climaxed with a ridiculously badass, 10-minute-long, feedback-drenched song that made Tracy and the Plastics seem somehow inadequate. Meltdown did suffer a few false starts, but that’s no big deal, considering that they haven’t been around all that long, and that they completely killed when they got into their groove. Donna Dresch’s New Band of experienced and super-talented musicians from the queer-core scene opened strong, and Tracy and the Plastics drew the crowd, but Pom Pom Meltdown made the bus ride worth it.