Concert Reviews

Last Night: Tobacco at Club Dada

Tobacco, Beans
May 2, 2011
Club Dada

Better than: any joke I can make about getting cancer.

To say that Tobacco, who also performs as the frontman for electronic group Black Moth Super Rainbow, came onto the stage at Club Dada with little fanfare would be a gross exaggeration.

Beginning his set at 11 p.m., an hour before he was scheduled to start, Tobacco and his onstage sidekick, Maux Boye, launched into their set, startling the fans who weren't prepared for the show to begin early.

Behind Tobacco, a projector splashed videos onto a screen, keeping the audience engrossed in the combined visual and aural experience. The clips ranged from slightly disturbing to seriously disturbing, including one with a woman being eaten by a kitchen monster, and another of, um, alien porn. More lighthearted videos were thrown into the mix, too, like visions of ice cream being scooped and a poodle workout video, but there were enough very strange things to see that most of the audience kept at least one eye glued to the screen the whole time.

Good thing, too: Intently focused on his performance, Tobacco rarely, if ever, looked up at his audience, instead transitioning seamlessly between songs with his full focus on his analog synthesizer.

His offerings came from his two solo releases thus far -- 2008's Fucked Up Friends and last year's Maniac Meat -- with songs like "Sweatmother" and "Fresh Hex" earning the most audible cries of approval from the audience.

Speaking of the crowd: Perhaps because they were watching the videos, they were fairly stoic themselves -- at least at the start of the set. As the set neared its end, a good chunk of them had begun to dance furiously.

Then, suddenly, without looking up at the crowd, Tobacco closed his laptop and exited the stage, as videos continued running behind him on the projector.

The crowd, unsure of what to do, stuck around for a few minutes, waiting for confirmation that the show was, in fact, over.

It was easy to understand their uncertainty -- the show lasted little more than 45 minutes. Surely, Tobacco would play more than that.

Turns out, he didn't. And, as such, while his set was good, it was far too short to have been satisfying.

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: I'm more of a Black Moth Super Rainbow fan than a Tobacco fan, but I've still enjoyed his albums, which are darker and more edgy than those from BMSR.

Random Note: Most of the items onscreen were sexual in nature. A good chunk of them involved aliens.

By The Way: I arrived at 10 p.m., when first opening act Shapers were scheduled to play. Instead, Beans was already halfway through his performance. The schedule was ahead the entire night, causing some to miss Tobacco's set entirely.

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Chelsea Upton