THE MAKE UP @ Black Cat

About The Make Up

The Make Up was an American post-punk band from Washington, D.C. formed in 1995, consisting of ex-Nation of Ulysses frontman Ian Svenonius on vocals, James Canty on guitar and organ, Steve Gamboa on drums, and Michelle Mae on bass guitar. The Make-Up were joined in late 1999 by a fifth member, Alex Minoff (of the groups Golden and Extra Golden), who played guitar with the group until the band’s dissolution in early 2000.

The Make Up combined garage rock, soul, and a self-styled liberation theology to make a new genre they called “Gospel Yeh-Yeh”. This style led to an emphasis on live performances and interaction between the band and their audience, incorporating the audience into the performances as a “fifth member”, creating what one reviewer described as “”highly energetic and participatory live shows”. Parallel to the band’s gospel musical stylings, the Make-Up produced music under a communism-influenced political philosophy that they saw as counter to the capitalist form of modern rock and roll and pop music.

The Make Up released four studio albums, two live albums, a compilation release collecting several singles and B-sides, and a number of vinyl singles, all released on independent record labels such as Dischord Records, K Records, and Southern Records. Svenonius, Mae, and Minoff are now part of the group Weird War. Svenonius has since released a solo album under the pseudonym David Candy. Canty went on to play with Ted Leo and the Pharmacists and French Toast. The Make-Up reformed in 2012 to perform at All Tomorrow’s Parties (music festival).

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Eckleburg is a print and online literary journal that offers original fiction, poetry, essays, music, art, writing workshops and more.

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