English glam-rockers Spacehog and New York art-rapper Imani Coppola both indulged in some pop genre mixing Friday at the Hollywood Athletic Club, but they came up with very different results.
After an aggressively sonic set by London-based quartet Garage-land, Coppola might have beamed in straight from the original "Star Trek" with her glittery eye makeup, lime-green beehive wig and electric-blue dress. But her playful freakishness and energy throughout the 35-minute performance didn't make up for the inept rapping and ham-fisted, art-school take on hip-hop.
The slick textures on the singer's debut album, "Chupacabra," were roughened in the hands of her backing quartet, and the recording's careful blend of guitars, beats, violin and voice was more casually executed, with Coppola playing violin at random, ineffectual junctures. Stripped of the detailed production, her songs proved at best weakly amusing in concert.
Spacehog's joyously raucous songs suffered more as a result of a weak vocal mix than the band's performance. Amid an array of paper lanterns, colored lights and stage smoke, the Leeds quartet showcased its latest release, the concept rock opera "The Chinese Album."
Parts of Spacehog's 80-minute set possessed all the romantic decadence and majestic absurdity of such obvious influences as early Bowie and the Sweet. The group carried its glam fascination best when treading lightly, tongue-in-cheek and heart in the right place, as on the raunch 'n' roll stunner "Goodbye Violet Race."
Less interesting were the forays into lurching time signatures, hip-hop beats and four-part, Queen-style harmonies. Actually, the harmonizing was pretty impressive, but the experimental tunes, probably designed to prove that Spacehog is not just a throwback, succeeded only in slowing the set's momentum.