These Are Powers
Kitchen Party, 2008
These Are Powers from New York have debuted 2007 with “Terrific Seasons”, but already have a remarkable tradition concerning improvised live performances in an idiosyncratic ambience. They have played in a Polish ballroom, a Brooklyn church basement, an Ethiopian restaurant and at various kitchen parties. “We’ve been told that there is not much going on in Vienna when it comes to guerrilla gigging.” Anna – singer and guitarist – is wondering. We answered her question ourselves and organized a kitchen party in an apartment in need of refurbishment. So one day after Anna, Pat and Bill performed at Donaufestival in Krems, they came to Vienna to play their second Austrian, or more exclusive, their second European show in this frumpish and run-down rooms. Without a doubt this was the noisiest performance we have taped so long. With their archaic rumble and industrial bluster the trio literally made the decorated walls shake. These Are Powers’ snarling ghost-punk befalled the audience that seesawed between covering their ears and joining with yelps, claps and instrumental noisemaking. Finally, after this tribal power attack of distorted bass-drum-toys-shout died away, the only neighbour in this house – living two floors below – came to ask discreetly if we could turn down the sound a little, so that he could sleep in peace. Probably the most subtle neighbour-critique that this kitchen party could have received.
An elderly lady used to live in this apartment with its for old Viennese apartments typically high ceilings, creaking parquet floor, double windows and patterned paperhangings. Furniture, tiles in the bathroom, curtains, walls – everything is yellowed with subdued, fading away colours. The kitchen – a wood panelled bar parlour with a counter to hand over food and drinks – has an alpine-rustic flair. It recalls the picture of an Austrian Heuriger – an inn mostly on the countryside or in the greener outskirts of the city, where wine from the current year (Heuriger) is served. As with many Heurigen it is hard to find everything in here tasteful and aesthetically appealing. But behind the scratched surface of chintzy neatness the apartment develops its real and rougher charm. For one night the vacant apartment transformed into the noisiest in town. A few days after the 2008-edition of the Donaufestival the living room served as a stage for an improvised and interactive performance from the Brooklyn-based Phosphorescent and These Are Powers (who were both part of the festival line-up and stayed in Vienna for some more days), with some of the enthusiastic music lovers in the audience joining in. After the guerrilla gigging in the living room, people made themselves homey in the old-fashioned kitchen.