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LIVE: The Blow, Doug Fir Lounge, Portland, OR

By Hollister Dixon

As a live performer, Khaela Maricich (otherwise known as The Blow) is less of a musician and more of a performer. She gets on borderline empty stages, with her collaborator, Melissa Dyne, triggering the lights, projections, and music from elsewhere. Onstage, she sings her songs, but she also dances around and interacts with the audience and – and this is approximately half of every Blow performance – monologues. In freeing herself of the shackles of band and instrument, she is free to utilize a much different set of muscles when performing if she wants to create an engaging performance, lest she find herself relegated to the fate of being a “karaoke performer”. In a lot of ways, this is far more difficult, because every crowd and stage is completely different, meaning you need to figure out what you’re working with every single night, and then abandon that and learn something new the next night.

These are not the concerns of The Blow at this moment in time, and that is a very weird thing. Currently, The Blow are working with a new performance, which they’ve deemed “Unplugged”. For them, this means no laptops or projectors, which have been replaced with live instruments. However, those live instruments are Maricich’s keyboards, and an impressive array of modular analog synthesizers – the very same ones being used to produce The Blow’s new record – manned by collaborator/projectionist/song-triggerer Melissa Dyne. The big question: Does this work? We’ll get to that question in a little bit.

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