“The show you’re putting on for us is so much better than the one we’re putting on for you.” So said Christina Schneider, the Athens, Georgia-based artist who records as Locate S,1, from the stage at Polaris Hall this past Thursday night.
Maybe she was a little surprised at the enthusiastic response she was getting from the humble crowd on hand to see her and a crack team of instrumentalists explore the far reaches of art pop. The 75 or so bodies scattered around the room did respond with an outsized joy to every song, and proved that dancing is possible for concertgoers in Portland.
It felt impossible not to be charmed into submission by what Schneider and her band brought to the table. Lyrically, Wicked Jaw, the new album from this project, carries the deep scars of the abuse that Schneider endured growing up and the wounds of bad love affairs. Those words are countered by music that lands somewhere in the zone between the winding brilliance of Jane Siberry and the more playful end of Stereolab’s vast catalog, with touches of disco and bossa nova thrown in for good measure.
Live, Locate S,1 synthesized these various influences into a leaner, more direct sound via a standard two guitars, bass, and drums backdrop. The three gents backing up Schneider onstage flashed their instrumental chops briefly with occasional showy fills or solos. (I’m going to spend the next month sorting out the dizzying drum fill that kicks off “Have You Got It Yet?”) Otherwise, they rightfully stayed in the pocket and in service of their leader’s flexible and subtly emotional vocals and her own fine rhythm guitar work.
“Y’all are thrilling me,” Schneider said at one point between songs. The feeling was mutual.