Evangelista @ The Maze (April 22 2008)

Hysteria: madness of the womb. The insanity of the irrational woman: something to be overcome, given therapy, made to fit into ‘normal,’ healthy society. Only society is not normal and it’s not healthy. It stinks, it’s putrefying, it’s rotten to the core. In these times, it is perfectly rational to embrace the irrational, perfectly sane to go insane. Old, transcendental modes of thought are no use; we need a politics powered by the injustices of the present – what radical theorist John Hollway calls ‘the scream’ – to power us to a better world. Evangelista’s singer/leader Carla Bozulich knows how to scream and her band have certainly abandoned transcendentalism. There is no calculated build up and release of tension here, rather the music is dictated by the moment. Whilst these songs may have been composed, they are subject to Bozulich’s whims – one moment she’s giddy on her heels like a little girl, the next she’s staring psychotically at the audience. The music, lulled improv one minute, becomes a thrashing, throbbing monster the next, anchored by the pulsing low end of Tara Barnes’ bass.

Bozulich sure knows how to sing, too. Her dark, husky voice fills every corner of every soul in the room and destroys the foundations of our world leaving ‘monuments, architecture – lying at our feet.” It’s a war not only against the ugliness of the world but against the plastic passions that fill it. On ‘Hello, Voyager!’ we learn what’s supposed to be replacing everything that’s false: ‘There’s only one word that hasn’t dried completely in your parched throat,’ intones Bozulich, ‘the word is love.” But this is no hippy ideal – this is love as a terrifying union of blood and hope. This is love, as Bozulich sings on ‘The Winds of St. Anne,’ that ‘bursts from our chests.” This is love that can change the world. It’s a fucking terrifying thing, this love. When Bozulich asks the audience, ‘Love! Can you say it with me?’ it feels far safer to inwardly say “no.” But whoever said truth was easy? The title of another song Evangelista play tonight, ‘Truth Is Dark Like Outer Space,’ is instructive here. Cowards can have their plastic passions – the brave should plunge into that darkness, ‘buzz through the dark skies with their hands in their pants’ and embrace Evangelista’s daring, hysterical future.


David Bell


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