Out and About: Kimya Dawson
    • TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2011

    • Posted by: Julianne Wagner

    It was a cozy familial crowd that gathered on Sunday night at the Knitting Factory. Feeling a lot like sleep-away summer camp, groups of kids ranging in age from 6 to 26 were peppered about the room, sitting on the floor amiably and waiting for their queen of kitsch, Kimya Dawson. Kimya was prefaced by two opening acts, Berth Control and Your Heart Breaks. Berth Control, a Brooklyn based band fronted by Cat Rockefeller and bass-drum backed by Brent 'Strictly Beats' Cole, formerly drummer for The Moldy Peaches (hint hint), jumped through their indie-pop sweetheart routine. Sublime synchronized dancers, the many-membered group showcased tunes from their latest EP Only Songs, where handclaps, roaming acoustic lifelines, chimes, nasally keyboards, horn solos and biting boy/girl vocals flourished.

    Your Heart Breaks was next. Your Heart Breaks is usually a crazy giant band and according to Wikipedia, has over 50 members in the lower 48 states. Sunday, it was only singer Clyde Petersen telling her sing-song stories about space, a barn in Mississippi that fronted as a show venue, and the cool connection between buddies. A charming songwriter, she earnestly lisped atop unbeatable electric guitar swaying, setting the stage for Kimya's intimate performance to follow.

    Kimya came out after Your Heart Breaks' smile-inducing set, tauting opening tales about "doing too much yelling this morning". Kimya Dawson's songs have always trapped within them childlike reverie and troubled teen confusion polished off with caustic wit. Only two songs deep, we were treated to the always winsome "Tire Swing" and "Loose Lips." Before embarking on "Tire Swing" Kimya noticed the four brothers from No One and the Somebodies and invited them onstage to flail and dance along to the melody made famous by Juno.

    The songs performed from her latest album Thunder Thighs divulge just how much she has grown while watching her five-year old daughter Panda grow. "Driving Driving Driving" is a six-minute soft rant about environmental wreckage and the carnage later generations will come to know us by. The lyric "We're burning turtles alive" couldn't have come at me with more goofiness and God-honest truth. The air was light and cheery despite some of the songs' tumultuous subject matter, including drug addiction and fear of raising a child right. "Same Shit Complicated," a quick ditty about how boring we all are today attached to our technologies, played off of a number of audience participatory sing-alongs from her kids album Alphabutt on request from a little girl hoisted near the front of the stage. This little girl was wearing in fact, socks that Kimya had designed as merch, a business venture to be proud of, because "all different people have preferences over calf coverage". Kimya played a song dedicated to her own little girl, and I can guarantee that at least one eye was not dry. Kimya's acoustic and quiet post-anti-folk was gracious and I certainly did not want it to end. But then...

    Nearing 10:30, Kimya put away her guitar and announced that she had some friends who wanted to come play with her. And a Moldy Peaches reunion night was born! Toby Goodshank, Steven Martens, Jack Dishel, Strictly Beats (all in fabulous headwear), and Adam Green strolled out to raucous crowd approval. Apologizing in advance for the fact that they hadn't played these songs together in eight years and when practicing that morning, often had to look up the lyrics on the Internet, the punky perpetual kids opened with "Lazy Confessions." It was certainly a comfort to hear Adam's silk-thunder voice; Kimya commented on how nice it felt to yell again on classics like "Greyhound Bus," "These Burgers," "Downloading Porn with Davo," and "Who's Got the Crack?" On the whole, apart from giggling where lyrics went, the Moldy Peaches sounded just like the 'ol days. The motley crew also did another Juno favorite "Anyone Else But You" incredibly awkwardly and great. At this moment, I noticed I was rubbing shoulders with Regina Spektor, and wistfully felt a presence of the past, specifically their New York City goofball clan of early 2000s, supplanted by views of Macaulay Culkin and rumors of one of those guys from The Strokes around.

    Closing with "NYC's Like A Graveyard," a song they didn't play even when they used to play it, the night felt rich with old memories and good friends, even if you never took part in them the first time.

    Brooklyn Vegan caught some cool front row (read: crotch eye level) videos of the good times from Sunday.

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