Gemini Club At Brooklyn Bowl
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By Brent Burns
I was lucky to be in Manhattan, N.Y., during the energy and excitement of this year's Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. While it was fun to be surrounded by New Yorkers dressed in the latest styles, I came to hear one of Chicago's best new electro-rock acts, Gemini Club. The band, composed of Daniel Brunelle, Tom Gavin and Gordon Bramli, invaded fashion week on Sept. 7 with their genre-blurring sound in front of a full crowd at Pianos on the Lower East Side, followed by a DJ set at a party a few blocks from Madison Square Garden.
The following day, my whirlwind New York adventure took me somewhere unexpected. After a quick ride on the L train, I found myself far removed from the runways and flashing lights of Manhattan and ready for a night of great music. My destination was the Brooklyn Bowl, a 16-lane bowling alley with a 600-capacity performance venue. Seven nights a week, the Brooklyn Bowl is filled with live music along Brooklyn's burgeoning waterfront.
The venue pulled out all the stops for Gemini Club's performance. The lanes were packed and the audience was pouring in for the monthly installment of Neon Gold Records' club night, Popshop Brooklyn. The first thing that stands out at any Gemini Club show is their unique musical rig dominating their live setup. They have created a rig with a precariously mounted keyboard, launchpad and mixer — all geared at keeping the show fully manual and not "pre-recorded." There is little to no automation in their performances. They can "chop, resample, loop, sequence, glitch, and repitch everything" they do live. This unique perspective brings a visceral feel to their electronic instruments.
The excitement was contagious as Gemini Club took the stage and the rig sprung to life in a flurry of bright blinking lights, while the drums thumped the crowd into motion. Gavin picked up a guitar and the microphone and quickly plunged into their driving sound. The show was full of surprises as the crowd never knew what instrument Gavin or Brunelle would pick up next. Brunelle seemed just as comfortable behind an electric guitar or wielding drum sticks as he switched between his expansive electronic devices.
Gemini Club's inescapable energy climaxed during "By Surprise" from their recent EP, Here We Sit. Gemini Club came together perfectly during the song, as each element of their sound shined brightly. Hitting all the perfect indie spots with pounding percussion, piano chords and live loops of Gavin's textured vocals, glittering synths and driving guitars, the soaring melodies and inescapable hooks grabbed the audience by their feet into a frenzy of dancing and bliss. And by the middle of their set, the full bowling lanes had fallen quiet as the audience was fixated on the stage in awe, wanting more.
"Show My Hands"
"Nothing But History"
"Ghost" (Barretso Remix)
"Cold Dust Girl" (Hey Champ cover)
"Can't Believe You Said That"
(Brent Burns is the dance/electronica GRAMMY.com Community Blogger.)