Fischerspooner - Live

By erin

I went to the Fischerspooner show with some reservations. I've heard things about them ranging from brilliant to boring art school wanking.

Adding to the whole experience was the hockey crowd surrounding the venue. It was a big home game and every yahoo from the surrounding 200 kilometers or more were downtown and ready to part-tay. And they all decided to drive. And honk their horns, the whole way there and back.

In the middle of the painted faces, there was the Fischerspooner crowd of kids with too much time on their hands to rip up their clothing in zany ways. Lots of re-hashed eighties style by kids too young to remember it the first time. It seemed like you either dressed up or really really didn't.

It was supposed to be an early show, but there was no opening act, or at least if there was an opening DJ they sounded so much like the usual pre-show soundtrack no one noticed. Three and a half hours after the listed start time, the crazy menagerie that is Fischerspooner took the stage while I was in the washroom.

My first impression was that I'd stumbled across a student dance project choreographed to bad Depeche Mode covers. They keep it together enough, though, to keep you watching. I can't even watch American Idol without cringing and running from the room in embarrassment for those people, but Fischerspooner didn't make me squirm once.

I loved the dancers, I thought they walked the line between seriousness and sheer goofiness really well. Nothing was perfect. Their octopus-like headpieces were great - they had terrific movement. Casey was a great rock star. My friend said he looked like he shouldn't talk, and if he did he should have a German accent. When he came out with the silly dancer cattiness it kept everything from being too serious and insufferable. The whole thing had this feeling of being planned in someone's living room without a really good sense of why they were doing it in the first place. Now that it has gained momentum, the show is it's own reason for existence, but the people involved have managed to keep that disorganized, crazy feeling.

At one point, Casey starts yelling at a guy in the audience for throwing a piece of ice at his head. It seems like part of the show, but he gets more and more worked up about it. He brings out Peanuts and some of the dancers to point at the guy and scream at him some more. The audience is getting restless, and Casey points to him and gets a spotlight on the guy, yelling at the audience to 'get him'. Finally, Casey and a couple others drag him onto the stage and it looks like he punches him while Peanuts hold him. They drag him off to the side, stumbling, and the bouncers take him off stage. My friend and I can't tell if it's a plant and this is part of the show or not. Quick poll of the tour stops suggests this wasn't part of the act.

The weird violence in the middle of the fluff that Fischerspooner does so well kind of put me off the rest of the show. They did one encore type of thing, but it was the song that was interrupted by the guy throwing ice, Emerge. Casey screamed at the audience to sing along, and stopped the song when the crowd participation wasn't up to his standards. That was annoying, as anyone who has seen a show in Vancouver knows, the crowd here is reserved - barely any dancing, no clapping along, lots of crossed arms. It doesn't mean we don't enjoy it of course. They played Emerge once more, without stopping and then left the stage.

Ironically, the best part of the show was the two hand puppets someone had brought, up near the front, that 'danced' the whole time. Even the women posing as the vocalists loved them, at one point reaching down and petting them.

They've pulled off an interesting collage of mainstream pop music dance and rock star-ness. This is obviously old news for those on the Eastern Seaboard, but out here it's our first taste of Fischerspooner. I think the beating on a random audience member didn't sit well with anyone however.