Candy and concerts: killer combo
Jenny Owen Youngs steps in front of a backdrop of live sculpting and painting, wearing an itchy schoolgirl outfit. Even amidst the scurrying men in black, the frenzied artists and bobbing cameras, this sprouting young musician refuses to crack.
Youngs, a solo acoustic artist with a stainless voice, was the first to perform at Tuesday's installment of the "Music is Art," series, which features emerging artists every Tuesday night at 9 p.m.
"Music is Art" began last semester, with the same format. Tuesday was the first installment of the fall.
Youngs commonly sings dirges littered with teenage angst.
"Maybe you should find a girl who cares about herself," she wails. "Don't try to touch me, I just rip apart, me not caring is the best thing that ever happened to you."
When Youngs isn't pouring her heart out she's a terrific wisecracker. As Stewie from "Family Guy" would say, she's "as dry as Oscar Wilde."
While juggling her music career, Youngs is also scheming about world domination.
"I'm considering employing rats," she said.
It's nice to know that if her musical endeavor crumbles she'll always have that to fall back on.
Jenny Owen Youngs sounds like Erin McKeown and Nick Drake. She harnesses pure vocals along with clean-sounding music.
She employs a wide range of chords, tempo and energy. It's difficult to tell if her next song is going to be static or flat, but her astonishingly elastic voice makes one expect the unexpected. Whether she's howling or cooing, this Jersey girl has a lot of which to be proud.
Youngs' performance was nicely juxtaposed with the edgy Juliet Dagger, a band that recently earned the Artvoice Best of Buffalo Award for best local rock band.
The Juliet Dagger is composed of chicks armed with pink and powder blue guitars. However, if you look hard enough, there's a male drummer in the background who's fond of flipping his drumsticks in the air like flapjacks.
The lead singer, Erin Roberts, bares an uncanny resemblance to Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction, and exerts sassy vocals while bopping around stage strangling her guitar.
The song titled "Ragdoll," featured killer harmonization and was announced as a song about "punk rock sluts."
"Don't ever be a punk rock slut," Roberts warned. "You can be a punk, or you can be a slut, but never be both."
Their high-energy pop/punk music can be attributed to one thing: sugar.
"We all live on Red Bull and candy," Roberts said.
Although prettier-sounding than Veruca Salt, the Juliet Dagger carries with them the same excitement. Their rambunctious rocking and rolling causes more perspiration than one might expect.
"Jenny didn't sweat this much," Roberts said, playfully instigating a bit of rivalry.
Aside from dishing out slimy insults, The Juliet Dagger showed their softer side by participating in a compilation charity record labeled, "Music is Hope," contributing proceeds to research of Autism, available in October 2005.
Their newest non-charitable album can be noted by its less cuddly name, "Turn Up the Death." This CD is currently out on the streets and looking for a place to stay. Those who like pajama parties and punk rock might find a new favorite in the Juliet Dagger.
"Music is Art" functions as an "I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine" concert that showcases local artists. The show comes complete with posh couches, zany lighting and an applause sign; the only thing missing is Carson Daly, thank Jove.
In return for a free show, UB agrees to stage and film the performance of that week's featured artist. This upcoming Tuesday, Oct. 4, both Bensin and Woke Up in Vegas will be making noise for the cameras.