Real Live Action

The Books

with the Black Heart Procession, December 6 @ Vogue Theatre

Review By Olivia Meek

The Books, photo by Noah Adams
The Books, photo by Noah Adams

Group Autogenics I
Though I was thoroughly absorbed by the Black Heart Procession’s background visuals, maybe too absorbed, they didn’t really seem to make any sense. I wondered if the looped pictures of vampires, dragons, the Alps and the Pope were put in place to subliminally invoke emotion to go with the music, or if it was just a Google image stream. Either way I think I laughed too loud at the Dracula images and I hope the band didn’t think I was laughing at them. The best part of the Black Heart Procession’s set was the musical saw that was played in the last song—that and Dracula.

I had no expectations going into experimental Boston band the Books’ set, but it was extremely enjoyable. They have great inspirational visuals featuring mashups of YouTube clips and educational footage with innovative effects and text. The three-piece played live bass, guitar and cello, accompanied by prerecorded backing tracks.

There was one song in which they used tapes from an early ‘90s kids recording toy, TalkBoy (or the pink TalkGirl) which you might remember from Home Alone 2. Using a TalkBoy tape found in a thrift store, the Books manipulated quotes like “I’m gonna rip your hair off and you’re going to be bald,” “I wish I was a boy” and “I wanna blow your brains out” and made it into a song called “A Cold Freezin’ Night.”

The Books’ live experience was dependent on both their musical and video components. One song featured a family movie montage featuring a band member’s brother Mikey who helped write the song (and made a guest appearance, lots of people yelled “Yeah Mikey!”), and another was set to a mash of educational acupressure footage. They also used the soundscapes of Tokyo, like the scraping of high heels in their song “Tokyo.” Overall the show was great but one could have a very similar experience by watching their videos on the DVD Playall.