Venturing to Glasslands in the very late evening is a bit like sneaking off to your cool friend’s basement in high school. The space is already dirty, strewn with beer cans and cups from the previous show, and decorated in such an artfully discombobulated way that the effect is ultimately charming, even comfortable.
After a strong, if cooly received, set by DJ True Womanhood, Extreme Animals took to the stage. Knowing nothing about Jacob Ciocci and David Wightman’s work, I was instantly intrigued by their complicated set-up involving a projector and enough cables to power the whole of Williamsburg. Then they started playing. If a thrash metal band, a telephone, a Nintendo, and Youtube had a baby it would be Extreme Animals. Their rollicking set began with a “cover” of R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion”. It was hardly a standard cover though, Ciocci’s blaring vocals combined with trance-like beats (and blips), shredding guitar courtesy of Wightman and a mesmerizing mash-up video resulted in something at once familiar and completely new. When the line “that was just a dream” flashed across the screen, the crowd immediately joined in with Ciocci chanting in heady unison, fists raised.
One interesting thing about Extreme Animals is that while their songs beg to be danced to, arms in the air, hair flying, you almost feel guilty doing it. Ciocci's visuals are poetic, combining a myriad of pop culture references as diverse as Miley Cyrus, Christine O'Donnell and the film Poltergeist that when blended at top speed give the impression of watching a Cliffs Notes version of the cultural ephemera of the last twenty years. Transitioning from a much-improved version of Cyrus’ “Party in the USA” to a better still rendition of Drake’s “Fancy” sampling the line "down for whatever" and even a bizarre take on the now iconic theme to Harry Potter, Wightman and Ciocci never lost a beat, and the crowd was right there with them. It was all very weird and it all worked, even the inflatable pumpkin witch.