Show Review: VHS or Beta Pop Their Cherokee Cherries, March 25, 2010

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Craig Pfunder and Mark Palgy of electro-rock group VHS or Beta brought their beats last night to 2720 Cherokee, the newly established, stand-alone music and arts venue in the up-and-coming Cherokee Business District. And although unaccompanied by the rest of their band, or the modern guitar licks and raw bass funk from live instrumentation, the DJs christened the south city space with their own brand of non-stop synth shock.

Craig Pfunder and Mark Palgy - Image Via
Craig Pfunder and Mark Palgy

Though my "plus-one" and I were the first ones to arrive, to order drinks and to sit through two generic opening acts, we couldn't help but pick up our pint-sized PBRs and hit the floor during Beta's foot pulsing set. The duo, which is now a decade deep into its deejaying career, brought life to the previously lackluster platform. They thrived there. Its set was constantly evolving and contained countless build-ups, climaxes and resolutions.

While taking turns spinning vinyl and manhandling their HP, Pfunder (guitar/vocals) and Palgy (bass) incorporated everything from '90s techno to disco; and although most of the tracks were indiscernible (yet mesmerizingly danceable), they included a handful of cornerstones -- Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)," CeCe Peniston's "Finally" and Kurtis Blow's "The Breaks."

The pair had a good time, and all the while were either dancing (Pfunder) or concentrating with feverish intensity (Palgy). They were into it, which got the crowd into it.

Show-goers were tardy. The place suddenly went from awkwardly empty to less empty, but hyper. College kids weirdly grinded on each other, house fanatics flailed, and obvious Beta fans grooved to the beat while adding the occasional scream of approval. The new venue provided a small but crazed house party, and many guests treated the space as such.

2720 Cherokee, with its simple name and commendable ideals, may not be the only club east of grand South Grand (The Casa Loma Ballroom, to name one), but with its ever-burgeoning collection of young acts and its increasingly hot property on the Cherokee strip, its potential is palpable. But after attending a show, the obvious question emerges: do location and popular bookings make for a good club? No. But luckily for 2720, its acoustics, friendly staff and beautifully historic room already make it a great club -- with or without the locale and big headliner.

The place has an artistic vibe, perhaps that's because the floor above is art gallery ArtDimensions, or perhaps it's because there's a double-sided interactive art installation in the concert venue itself ("Euphony Lounge," Davide Weaver). Who knows? But with some of the venue's renovation projects still in progress, it also has an untainted feel. It's ready to be broken in, so now all it needs is a bigger crowd.

On the way out the door I was able to compliment Pfunder on a great show, where he informed me that he had fun and hopes to come back with the full Beta crew in support of their new album, for which they are currently writing. All I can say to that is -- this chick will be there with friends, a pint-sized PBR, and a fresh pair of dancing shoes.

Show Notes: • First opener Furzluft featured local acts, including Femme Fatality, but I don't know what was worse -- his overall set or the accompanying PowerPoint (complete with East Side images). • VHS or Beta played none of their own original content and no remixes of their own songs. A bit of a disappointment, but not surprising. • 2720 acoustics: the leveled ceiling covered in vintage tin, concrete wall sections, and lack of absorbent fabrics made for a great listening experience.

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