Sound and Revision
Friday, April 13
David Bowie was androgynous before androgyny was cool. But dressing up like a trans-gendered astronaut grazes just one of many persona’s forged by Major Tom, or Ziggy or David—whichever you prefer. Following an interplanetary breakthrough with the 1969 chart topper Space Oddity, Bowie’s schizophrenic reinvention on successive releases became customary. This Friday’s (April 13) Buffalo Bowie Tribute Show: Sound and Revision at Nietzsche’s —a benefit for the Give For Greatness Campaign featuring The Irving Klaws, Erie Lackawanna Railroad, David Kane, Pine Fever, The Moves, Jen Whit, Megan Callahan, Sea Snake Vs., and DropD—walks you through the music that shaped the artist’s eccentric career. For those unfamiliar with the characters behind each album, here’s a guide to the many ch-ch-ch-changes of David Bowie:
David Bowie (1967)—Emerging as a pasty-faced Londoner with a passion for show-tunes, Bowie’s character on his debut album was not only his most authentic, but also his bleakest from a latter fan’s perspective. The album, released on the same day as The Beatle’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Clubs Band, was a commercial failure. It contained trace amounts of the extroversion and peculiarity that characterized the musician’s later releases and did little by way of popularizing the now intergalactic rock-star.
David Bowie/Space Oddity (1969/1972)—Bowie’s follow-up to his less than successful debut displayed a twinge of the madness lurking beneath the boyish incorruptibility of his prior release—made apparent in comparing each album’s cover art. The album suffered from an identity crisis, much like the album’s creator; it first released in the U.K. titled David Bowie, then in the U.S as Man of Words/Man of Music, and finally re-released as Space Oddity by RCA records in 1972. Space Oddity marks the first mention of perhaps Bowie’s most infamous persona, the junkie, Major Tom.
Hunky Dory (1971)—With 1970’s The Man Who Sold the World, cross-dressing seemed like a skirt Bowie was trying on for size. But what began as an experiment in sampling women’s clothing turned into full-fledge transvestitism on Hunky Dory. Bowie skipped the highly emotional teenage developmental stages heading straight for mid-wife status on this cover. The album marked the birth of the band that would evolve into Ziggy Stardust’s Spiders from Mars on Bowie’s following album.
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars (1972)—In 1972, Bowie’s bottled-up schizophrenia went public. Ziggy Stardust was born. Ziggy, a sexually experimental drug consuming human exhibition of celestial life, granted Bowie the right to be all of those things under the guise of this alter-ego. Ziggy’s inspiration was an amalgam of Brit rocker Vince Taylor—a self-proclaimed half God, half alien who declared himself the biblical prophet Matthew on stage in the late 1960s—and the Legendary Stardust Cowboy Norman Odam, who’s cited as the inventor of the musical genre ‘psychobilly.’
10pm. Nietzsche’s, 248 Allen St. (886-8539 / nietzsches.com / giveforgreatness.org) $5. 21+.
Read more: http://artvoice.com/issues/v11n15/see_you_there