A screenshot of Ps and Qs‘ plethora.
Boy, it got cold overnight, didn’t it? Suddenly we’re rummaging through basements and storage bins for sweaters, scarves, gloves, winter jackets, wool socks and even boots. And did we not wake up with snow falling on Philadelphia yesterday? Hey, winter—guess you’re here for real.
If you’re like me, and I bet lots of you are, you’re loathe to drag out that dingy old winter jacket you bought three years ago and have been trying to squeeze as many seasons out of as possible. Also, if you’re like me, you’re on the hunt for a good reason to go shopping and make a good investment.
So, for some gentlemen out there, I’d like to give you a few heads up on prices, styles, stores and recommendations on styles for the inevitable onslaught of freezing temperatures on their way. Shop these five spots for some style inspiration, at least:
1. City Sports, 1608 Walnut St., 215.985.5860. citysports.com
This isn’t where you’re gonna go for a peacoat, a bomber jacket or leather. But you will find some of the city’s finest selections of North Face, Patagonia, and Burton jackets. Their cold weather accessory game is also bananas (try to find anything with the “Smartwool” trademark), with a vast selection of gloves, hats, ear warmers and warm scarves.
Favorite: Those Burton Poacher jackets that come in heathered grey are sick ($169.95).
2. Ps & Qs, 820 South St., 215.592.0888. psandqs.com
Stumbled in there the other day, curious to see what one of our city’s best menswear boutiques pulled together for November, and wasn’t disappointed. In addition to a vast and cozy collection of charmingly color-combined Patagonia fleeces ($119), a truly stylish selection of knit winter hats and their always-tight New Balance game (and now they’ve got Tretorns!), their jacket curation is on point.
Favorite(s): That Shades of Grey Baseball jacket ($253), those deceptively warm Patagonia quilted down “sweaters” ($219) or those leather-shouldered Penfield Stapleton down jackets ($300).
3. H&M, 1530 Chestnut St., 855.466.7467. hm.com/us
These may not be jackets out of which you’ll get more than one season’s wear. And, in fact, if you wanted to have three mediocre jackets for the price of one ritzy piece, and you mix and match colors and textures, this really isn’t a bad option. A double-breasted peacoat’s only $99; a duffel coat with toggle buttons is $99; great parkas in versatile colors range from $50-100, and a no-one-will-know-it’s-from-H&M-unless-you-tell-them Lumber jacket in buffalo plaid’s only $99, too. Oh, and don’t mess with that Walnut Street spot; it’s not even in the same league as the bigger brother down the street and around the corner.
Favorite: Anything with the word “biker” in it, and you’re probably good, like the asymmetrical zipper ($79.95) or the fuller length trench, on sale for $99 from $199 right now.
4. Zara, 1715 Walnut St., 215.557.0911. zara.com/us
Listen, Zara’s better in SoHo or midtown Manhattan, but we’ll take what we can get from the international retailer while the gettin’s good—and one thing Zara does well for men is blazers and outerwear. They’re great for biker/moto jackets, and they’ve got a couple winter-weight ones worth trying on, but I snagged a knitted coat with a high-neck collar for $189 (in black) that I am extremely happy with this week. All of their leather, faux or legit, is priced pretty reasonably. Also, bonus tip: If you can, thick-enough blazers with a warm sweater underneath always looks classy.
Favorite: Didn’t work for me, but that navy wool coat with a detachable waistcoat ($299) is nicely done, with brown leather details that look real sophisticated.
5. Theory, 1616 Walnut St., 215.735.1034. theory.com
This one’s for the high-rollers or for those who just got a winter bonus and want to drop a crisp K on one garment. But if you’re going to do it, this has got to be the best place to do so. Perhaps not deep-winter appropriate, but they’ve got the most stunning play on a baseball jacket in the city, with their Volter LS Coat in Kinlough Wool Cashmere Blend ($795), a navy wool number with black leather sleeves.
Favorite: Really wish we could spring for that Yver Coat in Belgrade Cotton Blend ($895), a real warm keeper in black, with a removable puff layer in a deep blue.
Alyssa Edwards is one of the best things of all time about RuPaul’s Drag Race. She ducked out and left six other queens to fight, tooth and nail, for the title of America’s Next Drag Superstar (Jinkx Monsoon beat out Alaska Thunderfuck and Roxxxy Andrews) on April 1, 2013. She lip-synched the HELL out of “Cold Hearted,” the Paula Abdul gem from the summer of ‘89, but Coco Montrese went buck and did that thing where she pointed to her lips during the near-rapping fast part, and everyone died. Many grieved at the loss of Ms. Edwards, the deep red rose of Mesquite, Texas. Pretty much everyone knew that an injustice had been done and that Alyssa would go down in the RuPaul herstory books as one of the fiercest queens in five seasons of Drag Race. Well, tomorrow night she touches down in Philadelphia, and something tells me not enough people know how amazing it would be to gaze into that woman’s perfectly-painted canvas of a face.
To be standing in front of and talking to the winner of Best Pageant Queen honors, chosen by fans and ru-vealed during the airing of ‘The Lost Season” (it’s just Season One), would probably be pretty mesmerizing. The self-proclaimed Vanessa Williams of drag serves you so much face and so much eye. In fact, her mouth, eyes and general facial control is what makes her the charming queen we so adore. She’s expressive, and she makes you laugh with over-the-top gestures of “Can you believe how beautiful I am?” and “Clock this look I am giving to you.” See, drag can be so serious. What it really comes down to is does it make you smile and stretch your creative imagination? Alyssa doesn’t even really do too many impersonations; she’s not that kind of girl. She could no doubt turn out some Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn or Demi Moore, but definitely some Scarlett O’Hara heat.
Williams won as the first African American Miss America on September 17, 1983. But it got all tainted when some asshole brought forth some nude photos Williams had posed for when she was working at Tom Chiapel’s photography studio, and her boss was just, ya know, in a tight spot and working on some angles and shadows. Oh, and here’s this other naked girl. They ended up in Hugh Hefner’s hands, and do you know what happened? He passed on them. Know who didn’t? Bob Guccione and Penthouse. They ran her on the cover of their September ‘84 15th Anniversary Issue, and it was HUGE. That dirty magazine issue sold like gangbusters and all without Williams’ consent – Guccione just paid Chiapel for them. She resigned from her reign as Miss America before the thing went to press in July of that summer.
Edwards was named Miss Gay America in 2010 and was stripped of her crown and status due to controversies over appearances, agreements and whatever. Coco Montrese was, in fact, the pageant’s runner up and slipped her pretty mug underneath that tiara with grace. Coco and Alyssa have been longtime rivals and friends, officially and unofficially; it’s no secret there’s been blood both bad and good. But they’re family. And it looks like they’ve emerged girls out of it all. In doing a little research for a conceived of but not executed (couldn’t get her when I tried) phoner interview, I Googled ‘Why did Alyssa Edwards get dethroned?’ I also shot out a tweet, and Coco responded with a reply (and a photo!) after 30 minutes: “yall need to let that go, we did long time ago. Were in vegas shopping together .”
We still don’t really know the nitty gritty, but hey, we don’t need to. Alyssa’s the people’s pageant queen and she brings the camp, glamour, grace and showmanship I so love in a drag queen. Somehow, the magic of “Drop Dead Gorgeous (B. Ames Mix)” appeared on April 20 of this year, and it has since accumulated nearly a quarter million views. It is three minutes and 15 seconds of Alyssa ecstasy, perfectly packaged into a bite-sized little bitch sandwich. It’s full of Alyssa-isms, something the children have now fully integrated into their vocabulary: “Girl, look how orange you look, girl!,” “Girl, I am gag-ging,” “Get a grip, get a life, and get over it,” “Backrolls?,” and, of course, my personal and all-time favorite, “Bitch, sit your ass down and shut the hell up, bitch!” Hello—the bitch sandwich was born.
Alyssa is everything—and she’s doing Josh Schonewolf a favor and showing up to make everyone gag at his Ratchet party this Wednesday at Tabu. $25 tickets are still available, and that gets you intimate mug time with Ms. Edwards and photo opportunities. Otherwise, tickets are $15 at the door. Doors open at 9pm, and the show starts at 11pm, and he got Aeryanah Van Moi, Zsa Zsa St James, Satine Harlow, BEV and The Lady Poison to come out and open the show up for the queen of the night.
Hypothetical scenario: Dude you’re on a first date with picks you up at your door; you walk over to a nearby restaurant and sit down at the table, and then you see his watch. It’s a metallic number, chunky and thick, with visible gears and ostentatious detailing on its face. Now, hold on: Let’s imagine this guy–he’s six feet tall, dressed well enough (button-down, well-fit denim, inoffensive shoes) and has obviously made a good enough impression to win a date with you. But he seems to be quite fond of his timepiece, stretching on occasion to make sure his watch is visible beyond his cuff and holding his hands together in a manner that puts his wrist on display.
“Was that your dad’s watch or something?” you inquire.
“No,” he guffaws, “I bought this. It’s a Hublot.”
“What’s that?” you ask.
“Oh, it’s a luxury brand. Haven’t you heard that Watch the Throne song, “Otis”?”
“No,” you confess.
What he doesn’t know is that you detest showy displays of income, wholesale buy-ins to maleness and co-opting pop star fashion for your own.
That wouldn’t happen with an Analog Watch Co. watch for a number of reasons. While watches made of wood aren’t completely unheard of (you can find them at Kembrel, on sale, while the Chestnut Street pop-up’s still open), Lorenzo Buffa is a Philadelphia designer and founder of AWC who’s launched and already crushed a Kickstarter goal to fund the production of soft, flexible wooden watches that are gender neutral and make a statement that’s not “I have money and taste.” In fact, a wooden watch might suggest the wearer’s a little more on the crunchy, urban hippie, eco-conscious and nature-loving tip.
On Oct. 11, Buffa launched a $10k-goaled Kickstarter push, and, at the time of this writing (10/21 @ noon), he and AWC have 333 backers with over $31,000 pledged and 20 days left in the campaign. Not bad at all. And, to his credit, Buffa’s a queer kid who’s propelled himself him into now-thriving watch designer status and a Kickstarter success story.
“If it wasn’t for navigating the challenges of being a marginalized individual, I don’t think I would be who or where I am today,” he told PW. “Those hard times only give me strength and compulsion to push myself more.” And push himself he did. For months he designed, prototyped, contacted and initiated relationships with manufacturers, studied other campaigns and prepared a marketing effort for his brand. “We spent months working on a strategy for launching on Kickstarter,” he says. “I gauged how well the project would fit in, and fortunately, it’s exceeded expectations.”
Looks like Buffa’s poised to be swimming in wristwear—taking orders, plus creating, marketing and shipping them—and he’s not mad. The U Arts Industrial Design alum’s background is pretty varied, but he sees a lot of potential in watches, much more so than just a way to tell time. “Watches today are much more about expressing one’s identity. They are symbols of status, ideals, class, etc.,” Buffa asserts. When questioned on whether or not he was ready to be the watch man, he seemed resolved: “I’m going to settle in and work on watches for now. This is just the beginning.”
The Carpenter Collection uses soft wood, leather and minimalistic design elements (no numbers, lines or figures – it’s Analog, get it?) to achieve a pretty sophisticated blend of aesthetic elements for 2013. Because he wanted to appeal to a wide audience—and, in all likelihood because he’s a talented queer—these watches are slim, chicly simplified and refined in their design. And there’s still time to get in on the Kickstarter project. There are only 10 left of the 200 spots to opt in at $85, but 97 of 100 spots are left to get yours for $95.
Kickstarter’s obviously no joke. There’s lots of build-up towards a campaign and lots of worry over how it’ll unfold if and when your campaign’s funded; Buffa gets the green light on Nov. 10th. Is he ready for the deluge? “Absolutely,” he says. “This has been over a year in the making. Months have been spent building relationships with all the parties involved [and] in bringing a product to production.” There’s magic in that Kickstarter, too, helping all kinds of creatives achieve things never believed possible.
Buffa put it perfectly: “There is an amazing tool at our disposal: the Internet and computer. You can do anything. Anything. It’s created a new era for makers, designers, and how small businesses grow in ways it never could have 20 years ago.”
In the endless cycle of pop music, we love a repeating theme. And one of the best ones is the game—the competition. And when pop stars keep getting beat down and insisting on standing back up and putting records out, it’s both hilarious and charming to watch them, in equal parts, fail and succeed. Like Britney, for (prime) example: She just keeps putting in a solid effort, but effort does not always equal sales. …Baby One More Time (’99) was a big debut, we’ll give her that. Fast forward to 14 years later and we get “Work Bitch,” a fascinating, shiny turd that’s both a powerful hit and a stunning(ly expensive) video. Put this up alongside two other giant pop anthems from the late summer/early fall, and we’ve got ourselves a clear and nasty brawl bubbling up—a perfect fourth installation of our occasional blog series, DIVA DEATH MATCH.
You know who the others are, right? It’s Katy and Gags. Their singles, “Roar” and “Applause,” are perfectly poised as combatants. “Roar” came out Aug. 10, “Applause” Aug. 12 and Britney’s video hit the webs Oct. 2. First, a little analysis on each tune—then we’ll just officiate the nasty.
Let’s start with KP’s “Roar,” a charming little anthemic statement of purpose: I’m going to be fierce and you can’t stop me. She even uses that cutesy “I stood for nothing / So I fell for everything” didactic. We enjoyed a fairly charming Video Music Awards performance (she is blessed/cursed with giant boobs and a sports bra may NOT have been the best choice in this boxing context), and then we were floored by how stupid and basic the video turned out to be. Still, it’s got 115 million views.
Gaga has emerged as a potentially more viable pop artist than we ever imagined she would be. And with the impending drop of Artpop on the horizon, “Applause” became a controversial divining rod of Gaga fandom: If you love it, you’re a monster; if you hate it, you hate life (say said monsters); and if you’re ambivalent, you’re too intellectual. Actual essays have been written about this song and its referential oddities. But the video’s bananas—a very art-directed and Beetlejuicey affair. Let’s be real: The song’s a grower. As one queen once asked me: “Have you danced to it at Voyeur at 3:15am?” Point taken.
Now, in swoops Britney with her bold appropriation of a gay culture -ism, not even second-thinking a wholesale shopping trip through an alternative culture’s lexicon and vocabulary but just owning it and making it pop. See, in Gay World, we use the word “work” a lot. Work means a lot of things—a lot of different things to a lot of different gays (see Shangela’ “Werqin’ Girl”). Most often it means, “Slay them,” “Kill it,” or “Keep making them gag.” But Britney managed to brilliantly turn it into a hybrid of consumerism and fierceness: “You wanna live in a mansion? / Party in France? / Then get to work, bitch.” TRUE! I DO want a mansion and party in France, and I suppose you’re right, I better keep on showing up to my paying job on time so that I can afford to one day seek out the luxuries, baubles and travels I desire for myself.
But these singles are just a little too close together for it to just be coincidence, right? I smell a FIGHT.
Well, this one’s a wash. In the past, like when I put Beyonce against Jill Scott and then against Rihanna, this was a solid point-earning category for all involved. This one’s just sad with one white girl (Gaga) blowing away two other white girls because she grew up in New York City. Britney: 1, Katy: 0, Gaga: 2.
The beautiful nebulous and subjective je ne sais quoi of a diva’s fierceness is often what we love most about them. Whereas some fierceness comes from being on top of your game, or for functioning as a sickening fashion plate, or for nailing choreography, some just comes from being a potent product. Like Katy, for instance: total idiot as far as I’m concerned, but she plays the innocent pop star role SO WELL. And Britney’s new video is, if anything, fierce in its imagery, budget, production, attention span captivity and execution. Gaga’s fierce, I guess, but in a certain kind of trying-to-be-avant-garde arty and severe pop stardom kind of way. Britney: 4, Katy: 1, Gaga: 3.
This should be and is often the great equalizer. Doesn’t matter if you can dance or hire stylists and video directors—if the tune doesn’t get carried, it won’t make it to the charts. Of course, in 2013, that’s vaguely debatable; more and more, a production team can make any ol’ gal with a nice body and empty mind into a chart-dominating starlet. But vocals have never been Brit-Brit’s strong suit. And while Gaga can actually sing sometimes (especially when it’s just her and a piano), her pipes are not the main attraction; it’s a strong section of her art-girl package but not the focus. Katy, sadly, can pretty much mop the floor with these girls, at least in the studio. Watching Katy sing live is a little painful because she wants to dance because she’s supposed to, but also seems like if she dances too enthusiastically she won’t be able to keep singing. Britney: 2, Katy: 4, Gaga: 4.
SINGLES AND SALES
Let’s look at some numbers, shall we? Charts-wise, Katy’s currently in the lead with a #2 spot for “Roar” in the Billboard Hot 100 (”Applause” is #9, “Work” is #13). Should be interesting to see how those chart positions flip-flop and alternate. In the YouTube department, Katy’s got 117 million views and it was published on Sep. 5, but, whoa, Gaga’s got less than 75 million views and it was viewable on Aug. 19. Tough blow, Gags. And then look at Ms. Spears, whose video’s been watched 25 million times in less than 10 days. Looks like we have a clear winner here. Britney: 5, Katy: 4, Gaga: 3.
This could be one of the toughest to make numerical. They are, all three, HUGE pop stars in their own way, and appeal to the tons of teens out there that really want to identify with one pop queen more so than any other. Katy gets the wholesome Christian vote, while Gaga gets the weird girls who seek a hero. The thing about Britney is that she’s the clear veteran with her eighth record on the way. Plus she’s got tons of fans who’ve been crazy about her since she was 17. And remember how Brit and JT and N’Sync were all family? That happened. Looks like Britney wins by a hair! Britney: 5, Katy: 3, Gaga: 4.
TOTALS: Britney with 17, Katy with 12, and Gaga 16.
It’s not everyday that a giant pop star (hate all you want, there’s no denying she can move units) calls out Philadelphia in their Rolling Stone cover moment. Here’s the paragraph that’s inspired many tweets and blog posts and sighs:
“But it was last summer, in Philadelphia, where she really found her new style. She was living there with Hemsworth, who was filming a movie with Harrison Ford. “Best summer ever,” Miley says. “Have you ever been to South Street in Philly? That’s where I got my first chain. Sixteen bucks – not real,” she says, laughing. “I was away from people for a minute, and I just started feeling my own vibe. I bought a pair of Doc Martens. I shaved my head. Driving a fucking Ford Explorer around. Just blending in.”
Well, alright. Guess that happened. While we DO NOT appreciate the idea that, well, one just blends in here in Philadelphia, we DO like the idea of pop stars sojourning in Philly and finding some kind of groove, unbothered.
We like to make fun of ourselves. We do. We jest about cheesesteaks and hoagies and Souf Philly, but maybe there is just a little bit of magic in a stroll on South Street. It’s like our St. Mark’s Place or our Hawthorne Avenue or whatever primary weird, quirky but also touristy and charming haunt of a street in Chicago or Boston or whatever. And if South Street’s what people think about Philly, then that’s A-OK. Hawthorne Ave. doesn’t have like 14 places to buy high-tops and bongs.
Miley’s weird. The whole story is, surprise, a pretty annoying read. It’s just kind of hard to like her. She is the supervisor of Appropriation Station, and her music videos, as of late, are just sad displays of oversharing skin. But she’s young, rich and lost, and it’s honestly pretty fun to watch her make all the mistakes she’s making. We’re all becoming better people because of it, right?
No mention is made of her gaining weight while in town. So, there’s that. She bought Doc Marten’s, not a sweatsuit! Respect.
BOOT & SADDLE
We’ll go further in depth with Sean Agnew in a couple weeks’ time, but for now, we’d just like to rejoice in the impending arrival of a brand new concert venue just south of Washington on South Broad—and it looks like it’s gonna be a honey. Getting the old gentifrication touch, Mr. Agnew’s spearheaded these kinds of moments a couple times already, turning the Spaghetti Warehouse into the phenomenally successful Union Transfer and converting the Dolphin into a totally respectable South Philly late-night haunt (not that the old Dolphin wasn’t). Well, it looks like it won’t be getting a name change, but it’s getting a serious facelift and getting loaded up with all of the bomb sound technology we’ve come to know and love at the glorious Spring Garden music house that can entertain up to 1,000 concert connoisseurs. Boot & Saddle won’t be nearly as large, but last week, we got this info in an email:
“We are opening a brand new venue in South Philadelphia … The Boot & Saddle! Shuttered in 1995, this iconic Philly landmark will be opening as a 150-capacity live music room and 60-seat restaurant. We’ll be celebrating our grand opening with Aimee Mann & Ted Leo on Monday, September 9th. Tickets are on-sale now!
Already on the calendar are bills featuring Palma Violets, Sir Sly, Grails, Crocodiles, Quasi (feat. Janet Weiss from Sleater Kinney/Wild Flag), Nightmares on Wax, Those Darlins, Black Prairie (4 members of The Decemberists) and tons more – all experienced in an intimate back concert room featuring the same d&b Audiotechnik sound system that has earned Union Transfer accolades as one of the city’s best sounding venues. This distinguishes Boot & Saddle as one of the only small-size rooms in the US to boast this critically acclaimed sound system, guaranteeing the best experience for you!”
Looking forward to the big open, for sure, but it looks like opening night is sold out. You can get a pretty good look at the already bumpin’ roster they’ve booked for September and October on their Ticketfly site.
JAY Z AND KANYE
Magically, pretty much within 24 hours of each other, two of the biggest names in hip-hop have announced Philly tour dates as part of giant national outings. They’re not together, and they’re not even all that close to each other: Kanye’s Yeezus tour will stop in on Nov. 16th at Wells Fargo, while Jay’s Magna Carter World Tour will hit Philly (again at Wells Fargo) on Jan. 29th. Tickets for their respective tours go on sale one day apart from each other: Jay’s first on the 12th, next Thursday, and Yeezy’s on Friday, the 13th. Yes, Jay did just tour with Justin Timberlake with their Legends of the Summer tour, but this is Kanye’s first solo tour in five years. You know what’s lame, though? Kendrick’s the big co-sign to follow Kanye around the world, but he won’t be present for the Philly date. The Philly.com story, though, does suggest that a surprise guest is TBA. Still exciting news, though, no doubt.
After getting utterly defeated by Day One, I had decided to take it as easy as possible on Sunday. I wanted to spend as little time around the children as possible. Last year, Day One was the clearly way more bro-y day because the big finish was Jay Z. And with that, I think I just had an epiphany: This year, both closing acts weren’t very bro-y at all. Beyonce charms the gays and the girls, and NIN rallies the weirds—the good weirds. Meanwhile, the bro-friendly artists are packed in during the day with big, muscular and cathartic finales at the Liberty Stage both nights with Deadmau5 and Calvin Harris. It was almost sad how little the youth cared about Queens of the Stone Age and Nine Inch Nails on Sunday night, but we’ll get to that in a few.
Even though I was excited about the idea of seeing Gaslight Anthem, there was no way I was gonna start my day at 2pm. Solange was at 3:45, and AlunaGeorge was right behind at 4:15, so I started with a fairly easy stroll through the Liberty Stage crowd. The crazy part of the day was yet to come, with Kendrick going on at 4:30, so everyone was already piling up at Rocky, which made for a very sparse crowd gathering as AG soundchecked the Freedom Stage. They played an electric set of mostly their new and outstanding LP, Body Work, including album standouts “You Know You Like It,” “Attracting Flies” and “Your Drums, Your Love.” But perhaps what took it to the next level was the album’s bonus track, a brilliantly kitsch cover of “This Is How We Do It.” Aluna Francis danced like she was really into the music that George Reid had produced, as a badass bassist and drummer supported her grooves and her moves.
This was AlunaGeorge’s second domestic concert. Their manager, a great dude named Jonny, set up a brief interview for PW, and they were downright adorable. George plays synths and guitars and produces lots of deliciously weird sounds inspired by minimalist hip-hop, instrumentals and stuff like dub-step and trap. Meanwhile, Aluna sings like a budding pop diva and writes killer hooks. I didn’t take notes.
As I made my way back to the press area, I noticed they were being interviewed by someone holding a microphone to their faces as a cameraman loomed over their seats, rather stiff-looking grilling. They looked tired; having performed three hours earlier and, what I could only imagine, was followed by an endless stream of press gigs. I knew it’d be best to keep it light.
They were gracious and friendly. Jonny asked me if I wanted a beer when George said he wouldn’t mind one, and Aluna opted for a can of Coke and a bottle of water. She still wore a rather Rocky-inspired stage outfit as the sun set, and the first few notes of Queens of the Stone Age made us talk a little louder and lean in closer to hear each other. Aluna rather humbly suggested that their spot on Disclosure’s breakthrough record, Settle, was just an easy happenstance. The scene’s pretty small, she suggested, and when you have the time to go into the studio together and play, you use it. When pressed about their most exciting accolade (there’ve been many), Aluna cited the BBC Sound Of poll where they finished second behind HAIM, and George couldn’t believe they’d been asked to be on Jools Holland. I asked Aluna if she was aware that gays have their eyes on them, but her in particular. She said she had a hunch when, at the Chicago show—their first of their domestic run that’ll take them around Canada and America—she caught eyes with some fit, young, enthusiastic men in the audience who gave her eyes that weren’t so much “I want you” as “Bitch, I see you. Werk.” Playing to massive audiences hasn’t always been their bag, but the Disclosure exposure has put them in front of tens of thousands at festivals like Leeds and Reading. Aluna confessed to nearly needing to be pushed on stage when 70,000 people are chanting in anticipation, but since then, it seems like those hesitancies are weakening. They’re picking up steam, confidence and, hopefully, material for a new record in 2014 or 2015.
These guys are a band to watch. Oh, and I mentioned that, here in America, those of us over 26 tend to think of the phrase “EDM” as a dirty word. They seemed a little perplexed. “Better than IDM,” George said. What’s that? “Intelligent dance music,” he said, and they both laughed. “We just call it dub or house or garage,” Aluna explained (pronounced GAA-rahj). Maybe I should see what London’s like.