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Music | POP MUSIC REVIEW

Hey kids, let's put on a hip-hop pop show

August 22, 2003|Steve Hochman | Special to The Times

Taryn Manning may be a rising-star actress, with prominent roles alongside Eminem in "8 Mile" and Britney Spears in "Crossroads." But a Viper Room show Wednesday by Boomkat, the hip-hop pop act she fronts with her keyboardist brother, Kellin, more evoked Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney in their "Hey kids, let's put on a show!" mode -- transported to 21st century Hollywood, that is.

Enthusiasm won out over inexperience, and playfulness prevented any poseur patina as the pair and their team of a DJ, second keyboardist and backup singer gave a spirited, if brief and sometimes under-rehearsed, performance of songs from their debut album, "Boomkatalog One."

As with Judy and Mickey, personality was backed by talent. Taryn's sultry voice, a raspy chirp that could be mistaken for Macy Gray's, was all the more arresting coming from this tres petite Caucasian.

Her brother -- unlike the White Stripes' Jack and Meg White, the Mannings really are siblings -- has fashioned solidly catchy amalgams of clubby dance-pop, Motown and classic hip-hop references, with several nods to Prince, including a verse of "When Doves Cry" thrown in Wednesday. The two surpass standard pop lyrics with such idiosyncratic and relatively substantive fare as the sassy "Know Me" and the potential unity anthem "Left Side/Right Side."

Boomkat's presentation could stand more polish, but here's hoping the Mannings never lose the amateur charm they showed this night.

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