Todd P Goes to Austin movie poster

“Todd P Goes to Austin Premier party with So So Glows & Team Robespierre @The Delancey”
For Knocks from the Underground
By Michael Bradshaw

It’s appropriate that the premier for Jay Buim’s documentary about Brooklyn uber-promoter Todd P was held in a basement.

In the downstairs space of The Delancey in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the subterranean safety afforded by the city’s underworld apparatus beheld the first public images of Todd P’s young legacy as they alighted for the first time on a movie screen constructed on the stage.

Moviegoers were probably disappointed by the lack of seating and the ability to see or hear the movie; but that’s not what Todd P. is about. The thing that happens on the stage is only half the reason for showing up for a Todd P. event; the other half is being in the crowd.

Todd P. Goes to Austin is nice road flick about how Todd P. went to Austin one year. There are some great performances (Dan Deacon, High Places, Matt & Kim) and Todd P.’s musings about the music and performance are mostly inspiring (“Music is the one that most captures the nuanced subtly of a moment… because music is also the most ambiguous”). There are there rock-doc staples: the van, the band in nature, rednecks, the flat tire, etc. However, it’s the trials of putting on DIY shows in the age of ubiquitous sponsorships that serves as the movie’s thrust. (But don’t all musical movements start with people doing it themselves?)

The real stars of Todd P., are the crowds. Bodies hurl themselves against other bodies. Fists fill the air. Those who attend Todd P.’s shows are just as much the show as the thing they came to see. When it was over, this theory was put into practice with performances by So So Glows and Team Robespierre (both from the movie).

So So Glows launched into raw power doo-wop and, being a Todd P. show, the crowd writhed, shouted along with the lyrics, and vaulted a woman in the air as the audience was beckoned to surge closer.

Team Robespierre infused a crowd-pleasing dance pulse with an elegant punk sensibility as more bodies left ground, their legs twisting in Robespierre’s strange electro. The crowd became increasingly, lovingly, aggressive and eventually bassist Jason Hogg was abducted from the stage, hoisted up, and united with the audience as the closing notes of the set left his fingers.

The show was over. The crowd, the bands, and Todd P. climbed back to the surface where a karaoke-singing drag queen performed Beyonce’s Single Ladies.