Under their spell – Snow Strippers at the Voodoo Room

On May 9th, Snow Strippers brought the Voodoo Room to life with their electric energy
Under their spell - Snow Strippers at the Voodoo Room
Image by Matthew Risley for The UCSD Guardian

Passing by the Voodoo Room last Thursday, one might have had doubts that it was the site of my most anticipated night of the year. It was a small, dark, and cramped room. But to the keen observer, it was the ideal space to listen to Snow Strippers, the electronic project of Tatiana Schwaninger and Graham Perez. 

 

The atmosphere of the Voodoo Room perfectly matched the microcosm of youth that lined its insides. A milieu of trendsetters and followers (to whom I felt quite underdressed in comparison), all chatting away, waiting for the first sign of life onstage. The occasional cloud of vapor rose from the crowd of heads like spray from a cresting wave.

 

Elusin opened up the set, breaking the deadlock between stage and crowd. Her crooning voice meshed uniquely with the distorted track. Light and heartfelt, her wispy presence was a delightful start to the night, allowing a brief moment of musical respite before the intense remainder of the snow. 

 

As Graham the producer of the duo walked onto the stage, there was no pomp and circumstance; one certainly could have confused him for a sound technician if it were another artist’s night to perform. The crowd barely budged until he shouted into the microphone, as if waiting for his approval. Finally Tatiana, the band’s vocalist, waltzed on stage, and the night truly began. 

 

I was fortunate enough to sit directly in front of the stage for the beginning of their set. It’s a strange but nonetheless pleasant feeling to sit mere inches away from someone whose art you appreciate. Perhaps it is the perfect scenario: feeling enamored by their presence without disturbing their peace. Hearing the music blare so close to my ears while Tati screamed over — or perhaps underneath — it, felt oddly correct. This was how one was meant to experience Snow Strippers, in all of their deafening electronic glory.

 

Throughout the performance, Tati filled the small stage with simple and flowing movement. Graham’s short detours from mixing in the background to dancing with Tati were as exciting as they were goofy and unapologetic. The crowd jumped and shook, throwing their hands in the air and matching the energy the pair exuded on stage. 

 

The individual records blended together over the course of the set, each track feeling like it was at its best for the entirety of its performance. Picking out individual songs that excelled from the setlist feels reductive; it was not solely the songs that made the performance so engrossing, but crucially the flow, adlibs, and effects played between them. 

 

As I left the Voodoo Room, ears still ringing, and entered the streets of downtown San Diego, I couldn’t help but smile. It is rare, at least for me, that an electronic performance can both feel electrifying and intimate. Standing, waiting for the Blue Line trolley, I simply felt content.

 

 

Photos by Matthew Risley for The UCSD Guardian

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About the Contributor
Matthew Risley
Matthew Risley, Senior Staff Writer
I mostly write about film. Some of my favorite directors are Jean-Luc Godard, Wong Kar-wai, Tsai Ming-liang, and Andrei Tarkovsky.
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