MANNEQUIN PUSSY with Petrov *Canceled*
MaxxMusic, Neighborhood Theatre at Neighborhood Theatre
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Tickets: $15 adv/$18 dos (plus sales tax and service fee) *Tickets available online only*
18+ Valid ID required for entry into venue / Under 18 permitted with parent (Accepted forms of ID: State Issued ID or Driver's License, Military ID, Passport.)
Lo-Fi / Garage Punk / Rock
PERFECT EP - At the start of 2020, everything was looking up for Mannequin Pussy. The Philadelphia punk band had released their third album, Patience, to abundant critical acclaim, and was touring steadily behind it. After nearly a decade of playing, the band finally had gotten the chance to turn music into a full-time occupation. And then, just as their career was lifting off, the world around them collapsed. COVID-19 reached the United States, rescinding life as many people knew it. Live music shut down. Mannequin Pussy had just played a final show in Chicago when the group had to cancel the remainder of their tour and travel back to their home city. For a while, it seemed like maybe the lull would be temporary, a brief pause before things could resume as they were. And then the numbers ballooned, and the months stretched on, and memories of rooms packed with strangers started to feel alien, dangerous even in imagination.
Mannequin Pussy's new Perfect EP bursts forth from those sprawling months of social isolation and internet-fueled anxiety. After spending most of the year apart from each other and everyone else in 2020, the members of the band -- Missy on lead vocals and guitar, Colins “Bear” Regisford on bass, and Kaleen Reading on drums -- decided to book studio time and work together in person again. They brought two pre-written songs into the session, but opted to write new material together on the fly from the excitement of reunion. "We just figured if we forced ourselves into this situation where someone could hit 'record,' something might come out," Missy says. "We'd never written that way before."
What came out of that compressed session time were some of Mannequin Pussy's most furious, incandescent songs yet. The self-imposed restraint and careful habituation of the past year cracked open. On the EP's title track, Missy sings about the practice of condensing your daily life into a manicured stream of images for social media, an urge that only intensified after daily life grew barren. What happens to the social impulse when everyone you love or even like is leveled into a set of pixels -- when you're compelled repeatedly to funnel your own life into that algorithmic slurry, and wait to see how it's received? "It was a really weird psychological experience, being bombarded by images of other people constantly when you are not around a lot of other people," Missy says. "I'm still understanding the way we use the internet to make our lives feel and look perfect. Our lives aren't supposed to look good right now."
Even the songs written before the pandemic take on a new valence after a year of its frustrations. "I'm in control / That's what I tell myself when all the walls around me close in," Missy sings in the prescient opening lines of "Control." Tuneful and brash, with a white-hot molten core, the songs on Perfect thrash against the learned helplessness that has settled in on the cellular level under lockdown. Social media algorithms apply pressure to perform even from the depths of that powerlessness, to construct the image of a bountiful life in times of extreme scarcity. From the smolder of "Pigs is Pigs" to the melancholic, contemplative "Darling," Perfect digs into the cracks of that compulsory veneer, and let loose everything simmering beneath it. The anger, frustration, loneliness, and resentment of a year spent locked away all come sputtering forth. And once they've rushed out, once the air clears from their tumult, there's suddenly a little more space to seek out calm, to find solace. There's an opening forward into whatever comes next in the rush and the mess of living.
Petrov is a surging Charlotte, NC indie/pop/punkrock band that tore into the local scene with their powerful debut EP SleepYear released by Self Aware Records in early 2019. The band is a gamut ofveteran and fresh-faced Charlotte talent including guitarists Syd Little andMike Backlund, bassist Matt McConomy, drummer Garrett Herzfeld, and vocalistMary Grace McKusick, who soars as a first-time front-person for the band. SleepYear remains widely-praised and garnered the band a slew of opportunitieslike appearances on WFAE’s award-winning podcast “Amplifier” with Joni Deutsch and a spot on NPRMusic’s “Best Songs of 2019 (So Far)” list. In October of 2020 the bandreleased their sophomore EP Flower Bed recorded with Kenny McWilliams atArcher Avenue Studio in Columbia, SC and mastered by Dave Harris at Studio B inCharlotte. Their music video for "Outlier" off of Flower Bed wonQueen City Nerve's Best Video in their 2021 "Best in theNest" awards. On Flower Bed, released via Charlotte label SelfAware Records, McKusick effortlessly twists Petrov’s sparkling melodies andboiling energy around her fists like a wild, snaking mic cord. Over careeningguitars and punchy drums, McKusick belts out thoughtful lyrics that covereverything from fears of being alone, to practicing self-love and acceptance,to calling out those who protect abusers and actively diminish the gravity ofsexual assault. The EP has a sense of laying past growing pains to rest andplanting new hopes and ideas in a loving effort to see what blooms.