Flasher and Public Practice at St. Vitus Bar, Brooklyn, NY, December 7, 2018 | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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Flasher, Public Practice

Flasher and Public Practice at St. Vitus Bar, Brooklyn, NY, December 7, 2018,

Dec 19, 2018 Web Exclusive
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Brooklyn venue St. Vitus Bar is a metal venue, except when it isn't. Artists including Girl Band, an act noisy enough to please many metal fans, and Mitski, who is a decidedly non-metal musician, have played the bar's 300-or-so capacity back room. Flasher and Public Practice recently joined the legacy of non-metal artists who have played the venue with an energetic, riveting post-punk double header.

Public Practice's opening set was well-attended despite the band's super recent formation. Although the quarter's debut EP, Distance is a Mirror, was released just over a month before this show, the audience paid close attention to the band's set; rare were those pesky showgoers who text and talk until the moment the headliner takes the stage. Public Practice is, after all, tightly connected to the punk scene in the city where the show took place; its members have played in the beloved Brooklyn bands WALL and Beverly.

Their experienced in other acts showed. Frontperson Sam York walked the full width of the stage many times over the course of her band's performance, and it was impossible to not be compelled into following her every motion. Through songs including the four that comprise Distance is a Mirror and many others that the band has yet to release, York and her three bandmates confidently offered a disco-sprinkled, breathy, deadpan take on classic post-punk styles to an eager audience.

Public Practice couldn't have found a more ideal set of fans to open for; Priests, the band which Flasher member Taylor Mulitz left to focus on Flasher, is perhaps the most immediate, active soundalike to Public Practice. Flasher, on the other hand, doesn't sound a ton like either of these acts, but common among them all is a reverence for punk, post-punk, and a soft undercurrent of humor running through music. Public Practice offers these influences in a jumpy, unvarnished form; Flasher's music expands on this classic post-punk style with extra guitar overdubs, thrilling layers of vocal harmony, beatific drumwork, and delirious bass-synth interplay.

Flasher veers closer to power pop than to post-punk, and live, the former genre's jubilant energy makes for the kind of show that can only be described with an over-excited, "That was amazing!" The band's live show makes it clear that the frantic ecstasy achieved on recent album Constant Image, among this year's very best rock albums, isn't just studio magic. A medley of that album's "XYZ" and "Pressure" arrived as an even more rollicking, smile-inducing version of each song's studio versions; "Who's Got Time?", played at a slightly higher tempo, sounded even more intense and sunnily haywire than on the recorded version. It was "Skim Milk," though, that stole the night: certainly Constant Image's high water mark, its ascension from bass-and-guitar burner into almost shoegaze-like walls of blurred, faintly overdriven guitar and yelp-sung vocal layers turned stolid Brooklyn concertgoers into bouncing boppers.

The night's MVP award goes to Flasher's drummer, Emma Baker. Her drumming across Constant Image is at once the record's foundation and not overly flashy (pun intended). Baker has a masterful intuition about when going for a double-time feel will transform a song from inviting and interesting into fully goosebump-inducing and joyful. On stage, she deftly and effortlessly guided her bandmates into moments of budding explosion. It takes a true artist to play an instrument while simultaneously ensuring that listeners respond viscerally and foregoing showiness, and Baker achieved this balance expertly at St. Vitus. Her entire band is built on this same equilibrium, which is a brilliant cornerstone for riveting, unforgettable live performance.



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January 22nd 2019

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