On Our Radar: In "Come From Wood", Kamikaze Nurse reminds us dance can be powerful when raw and crazy

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      As much as I hate interjecting myself into stories, sometimes it’s necessary. Like when, for example, one is trying to make sense of Kamikaze Nurse’s “Come From Wood”.

      Here’s something that’s the Scout’s honour truth—thanks to an acquaintance we’ll simply refer to as “Potsie”, I’ve seen more modern dance performances than I can count.

      Admittedly, there have been nights where I wish I’d dug in and refused to leave the house. Those nights have nothing to do with the quality of the dance on stage, which is often world-class, but instead speak to personal preference.

      To put things in Neanderthal terms, I couldn’t give a shit about nylon-tights-and-tutus troupes that are all about executing a technically perfect arabesque, pirouette, or grand jeté on a darkened stage illuminated by a single white light. That’s probably for the same reason I don’t give a shit about the virtuoso playing of Yngwie Malmsteen , Eric Clapton, or Phish. There’s nothing more boring than perfection designed and honed to please purists.

      But for every night I wish I’d stayed home to watch reruns of Married With Children, Full House, and Charles in Charge, there have been a dozen evenings that have been nothing less than mindblowing. Thanks to Potsie—whose name dates back to her auditioning for the role of Richie Cunningham’s bestie in a later-aborted Theatre Under the Stars production of a Happy Days musical—I’ve seen things for which I’m profoundly grateful.

      Like Kokoro Dance’s hypnotically creepy staging of Bats on Granville Island. And La La La Human Steps mesmerizingly meditative Infante C’est Destroy.

      Or Dana Gingras surrounded by dozens of ghostly suspended vintage radios at the Cultch in Heart as Arena, transcendentally lost in an eerie world created by Chicago-based sound artist Anna Friz. And Shay Kuebler, in Karoshi, smashing the shit out of stacks of dinnerware while trying to not go full Scanners in a telephone booth. 

      I could go on, but you get the idea.

      All this brings us to the video for Kamikaze Nurse’s “Come From Wood”, which starts out serenely enough before going fully batshit bonkers.

      We begin with singer KC Wei in a nothing-less-than-mystical West Coast forest that’s all towering trees, thick carpets of moss, distant atmospheric fog, and hanging fruit that proves you shouldn’t eat anything that doesn’t come from a supermarket shelf. One minute you’re picking the world’s most delicious-looking red apple from a tree, the next you’re psychedelically melting into the forest floor, at which point the fun begins.

      By fun, we’re talking what looks like the world’s greatest dance piece. Think humans doing their best approximations of silkworms having grand mal seizures. Unrepentant weirdos doing the Hullabaloo in orangey-red body suits—some of them wearing modified balaclavas, and some trench coats and ski jackets the colours of which are not found in nature. Not to mention at the Gap.

      Don’t forget the human apple tree.

      Eventually the various members of Kamikaze Nurse make their way through the insanity, set up with their instruments, and proceed to shift the narrative from chaotically crazy to coolly beautiful. There’s always plenty to love in videos where a band oozes charisma while ripping it up as the camera rolls.

      Kamikaze Nurse obviously has, like every band, influences—you’ll hear traces of everything from sheets-of-distortion shoegaze to gold-soundz dream-pop to motorik Krautrock. At the same time, the four-piece of Wei, Ethan Reyes, Sonya Eui, and John Brennan uses its favourite records as a springboard for something that makes you think that, maybe, you haven’t heard it all before. And even if you have, you certainly haven’t from a Vancouver band in the vein of Kamikaze Nurse.

      As the video ends, the dancers return to take over, first liberating Kamikaze Nurse’s members of their instruments, some then writhing ghostlike in cocoons, others swarming the human apple tree which suddenly stands tall after appearing out of nowhere.

      What does it all mean? If you’ve seen enough boundary-pushing modern dance, you can likely—bringing your own interpretations to the table—take a stab at the answer. Or, you know, after doing a bit of Internet sleuthing, track down and ask Potsie. Who’ll be the first to rightly point out that one should never interject themselves into a piece that they’ve written.



      Watch for Kamikaze Nurse sophomore album, Stimuloso, on June 3 when it's released on Mint Records.