Material: There’s no doubt that Lady Gaga’s reach must have had something to do with Binx Buys’ unique self-creation. This South African artist's elaborately designed costumes are part of a show that is, not simply about the music, but about an artist who has a specific vision. While her material is pretty straight-ahead pop, she employs repetitive words and phrases to yield punchy choruses. "Radiohead" (No. 1 on a South African radio chart), with its mantra-like hook and message that music reigns above all, is one of the catchier numbers. Most songs in the set follow suit, but could benefit from exploring more melodic diversity. All the material is performed within an entertaining framework.
Musicianship: Though Binx dons a B-52’s beehive, her voice is more of a cross between Katy Perry and Gwen Stefani. She exudes energy and enthusiasm, keeping the delivery genuine throughout the show. Support from Scher on keyboards covers a lot of ground, and with Binx occasionally on guitar, they successfully fill the space for what might have been a bigger band. Her backup dancers are crucial to the costume changes, stripping away various layers to reveal the next wardrobe extravaganza, which often happens mid-song.
Performance: The artist’s stage name, Binx, known as the African Bee, was actually the nickname her brother gave her while growing up. She fully embraced this nomenclature, wearing a black and yellow striped leotard, black tights and high stiletto heels as one of her several incarnations. Her real name is Bianca (after Bianca Jagger), a nod to her family’s favorite band, the Rolling Stones. On that note, Binx performed her ode to the band with her own rendition of “Satisfaction.” One might expect that with all the staging and wardrobe maneuvers, her persona would be more distant and aloof; but paradoxically, Binx exudes surprising warmth, establishing a connection with the crowd, endearing her to them. A touching moment in the set came when she remembered her dad, whom she recently lost. “Headlights,” a tribute to him, is possibly her best song and has meaning on several levels, metaphorically serving as this artist's guiding light and instrumental in keeping her eye on the prize.
Summary: Blessed with a strong visual sense and a flair for the dramatic, Binx Buys’ courageous choices in wardrobe and staging have established her “brand.” If she keeps raising the bar with her material––more diverse subject matter and sonic variety––this entertaining artist could break through.
The Players: Binx Buys, vocals, guitar; Matteo Scher, keyboards, Christina Opoku, dancer; Tess Liantonio, dancer.
Photo by Mark Shiwolich
Venue: Webster Hall
City: New York, NY