Show Review: MNDR at 330 Ritch – Popscene, 12/09/10

by Carla Deasy on December 13, 2010

As our photographer was moved to dancing up a storm, enjoy this official publicity photo!

I don’t know what’s happened to Popscene over the years.   When I was in my early and mid-20s, it was pretty much just a dance club.  Then every once in a while, a really awesome band would come play.  It was a fabulous treat, but really, it was still a dance club with lots of dancing before and after the band played (if there was one that night).  Moved away to LA, moved back, basically fast forward to a world where I’m now 31 and haven’t been going out dancing as much.  But I have been coming for shows every once in awhile.  But maybe that’s what happened, more and more relevant bands have been playing this venue, so its turned more into a place for great late night shows than it is a place for dancing.  Because there was sure no dancing going on this past Thursday night, well besides me with my recovering foot dancing almost by myself, when all the young kiddies were being lame and hanging out by the walls.

MNDR changed their tune though.  As soon as she took the stage, those synths shook those little brats to their senses and reminded them how you’re really supposed to enjoy music.  Dancing.

Amanda Warner, who *IS* the one woman band that is MNDR, was wearing her signature big, white-framed, funky glasses, a black satin flight jacket, a necklace that was made up of a million mirror shards, black jeans and impossibly high sexy wedges.  She was cute, with her gummy smile that is beyond charming and infectious.  She was definitely playing that heroin chic rocker girl that we’ve all done during our younger days.  Her voice is a little nasally, but actually I like it because it works with her songs.  Kind of accentuates, and is the counter point to, the pulsing rhythms, blips and bloops of her synthesizers.

She started the set off with “Caligula”.  Instantly setting the energetic tone for the rest of the evening, with compulsive head bobbing and rocking out.  As she moved to the next song (4 Julie??, C.L.U.B??), to “Diamonds” which is one of my favorite songs by her.  I’m a fan of sad songs, I must say.  The background is like a cracked out Tonori-on with moving square pixels zigging and zagging their black and white way over MNDR and the walls.

Amanda introduces “Send My Greetings” with her story about Patty Hearst.  “Its like Paris Hilton giving away all her money to a __(animal?)__ organization.  Patty Hearst is Paris Hilton times 10.”  And somewhere along the way during the song, maybe she was dancing too hard, but her microphone fell apart with the bottom part landing in the crowd.  She kept singing without the mic, but with the assistance of her two middle fingers flipping off the sound booth.

One of the guys in the crowd finds the cord part of the mic, MNDR reattaches it, finishes out the song and walks over to her sit down keyboard.  Time for my other favorite (yes, its sad), “I Go Away”.  Its the most ballady thing she’s got in her repertoire, she’s not one for the mellow.  Catching my breath from the non-stop dancing, it was even more pretty having her serenade me from 5 feet away.  It makes me a little teary thinking about it now.

She stands up from the keyboard and immediately gets that tempo right back up with “Fade To Black”.  She’s taken off her jacket at this point and I notice she’s wearing a Flowers In The Attic t-shirt, and the underside of her head is buzzed.  Talk about my teenage obsessions and fashion choices.  Eerie, but damn.  I love this girl.  She’s got good taste.  But I wasn’t so sure about the next song, “Casual Attraction”.  I found the really aggressive buzzing on this track to be really annoying.  I just wasn’t into this song at all.  But whatever, you can’t like ’em all.

Amanda then chats a bit before going into her last song.  She tells us that she has a real love for San Francisco.  “It’s the best town for music.  It’s the best town for electronic music, it’s the best town for techno music, it’s the best town for bands.”  As a SF native, I’m just going to have to say how right she is.  MNDR ends the set with “Sparrow”.  This one had a cute little call and response segment, which we all got into.  Everyone was dancing so hard at this point, and when she stopped singing we were looking at her breathless and stunned.  She seemed to be in the same space, just standing there.  No one moved.  We all cheered, but we were stuck.  Finally, she kind of snapped out of her trance and she realized she should get off the stage.  We were all mesmerized, one talented woman with her songs and her synths.  Yeah, it was really that good.

Set List:
1. Caligula
2. C.L.U.B  (??  I’m not sure if it was it, I don’t think so as I don’t remember her playing that song.  I wrote down what looks like 4 Julie)
3. Diamonds
4. Jump In
5. Send My Greetings
6. I Go Away
7. Fade To Black
8. Casual Attraction
9. Sparrow

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Perry December 13, 2010 at 10:41 pm

Im 28 and have been going there for a few years as well… you’re totally right, there’s just less and less dancing every time I go. Sad really, since it was one of the selling points when I used to take people there.

What are they going to do, prod people with an electrified rod?

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Carla December 14, 2010 at 3:28 am

I have a theory about the current generation’s cement strong ties with media cutting them off from things like fleshy right in front of you people. But I’m a bit of a conspiracy theorist when it comes to the pathos of our society.

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