I'm a firm believer in the idea that the way performers move their bodies can make or break a show. I don't mean dancing, necessarily. I mean head bobbing, swaying, arm swinging. Sometimes it can be even more important than the music. The sole reason the Rolling Stones still exist is that Mick Jagger, one of the top three finest body movers music has ever known, can still move like that.
The body movements of Light Asylum singer/screamer/magic button pusher/drum-thingy-hitter/mystical goddess Shannon Funchess entranced me last night. Gray daylight was still filtering into the back of Neumos, but the front of the stage was darkness and pink light and smoke. And Shannon. Oh, Shannon.
Wielding drum sticks like katanas, Funchess jabbed, and thrust, and slashed, over and over, with military precision. Then she would drop them and sway, and swing her incredible tuft of hair round and round, then run out from behind her equipment, then disappear, and then reappear, all while singing/shouting/screaming in that unreproducible voice that makes Light Asylum's music so unmistakeable. Bruno Coviello on the keys—a very fine body mover himself, I might add—was the coals to Funchess's fire.
I've seen many shows at Neumos in my day, but I don't know if I've ever seen a crowd move the way it did last night. I stood behind six identical looking bald men, a few bald by choice and a few accepting nature's path. They swayed back and forth like six enormous bowling pins struck really, really hard.
As the opening song—the face smashing "Pope Will Roll," if memory serves—concluded, my friend Steve, who had never heard Light Asylum before, turned to me and said, "SHE'S A BADASS!!" Everyone in attendance last night was thinking the same thing.