The vibes of Still Woozy’s live concert can be perfectly synopsized by the first 10 seconds of his music video for the song “Goodie Bag.” There’s this brief, pure moment when Sven Gamsky (Still Woozy) holds up a photo of himself and asks, “Who’s that fucking pig nose?” after which his friend questions if the video is doomed to fail from the outset. It quickly cuts, and in comes the dreamy, woozy sound of “Goodie Bag.” I swear these first 10 seconds of endearing self-depreciation play a monumental role in the video’s 1.7 million views. Take the wholesomeness of those opening 10 seconds and extend it for an hour and a half set at El Club, and you get Still Woozy live.
It’s awkward, but it’s a confident awkward. Sven Gamsky is the poster child for “I see myself as a gawky lad” persona, yet coolness exudes from every bone in his body, with that groovy, woozy sound leaving me gawking. His stage presence consists of intense head bops with wide eyes and shimmies that could pass as an attempt at The Chicken Dance. I never knew chicken-arm shimmies could be so damn cool. Gamsky grasps the essence of “Hi, I’m awkward!” paired with a boyish charm. Yet, his groovy sound has artsy college kids bending over backwards to brand themselves in a similar way. This vibe he radiates makes a 19-year old girl with an English major and fresh-cut bangs step slightly closer to self-actualization (I speak from experience).
Walking into the concert, I couldn’t help but question how he would fill an entire concert with only six songs. These six songs (which fall somewhere between lo-fi, electric, acoustic and indie) were written and produced in his garage. You can add Still Woozy to the list of recently successful D.I.Y. artists, for his garage approach has landed him a spot on Coachella’s lineup this upcoming April.
When choosing how to fill his time, he made some stellar choices and some mediocre ones. The stellar choices included repeating “Lucy” for his encore and playing two songs off of his new EP (which, according to Instagram, should be released this month). These fresh songs push into Gamsky’s upper register and even feature some “rapping” (the sort of rap that Rex Orange County creates). Moreover, Gamsky attacked two phenomenal covers: Mac Demarco’s “Still Beating” and Hank Williams’s “Angel of Death.”
The mediocre choices, on the other hand, included a “dance-off” between his drummer and synth-player for this tour: Skinny Pete and Tiny. About half-way through, Skinny and Tiny competed on the dance floor while Gamsky narrated from the side. Remember how we talked about awkwardness, but the sort of awkwardness that’s so cool and endearing it makes a girl with bangs (me) freak out in admiration? Yes, well, Skinny and Tiny held just the awkward part, invoking no admiration.
The Skinny and Tiny situation set aside, remember the name Still Woozy. It’s not going away, and the exponential growth of the D.I.Y. fanbase will mesh so nicely with his garage blend of acoustic and electronic sounds. Gamsky redefines the notion of “being out of it”; He’s dazed, he’s woozy, he’s words often associated with unproductivity or an inability to “get it done,” he will be the success that your mom will brag about at Thanksgiving. He harnesses the “out of it” feeling as a point of relatability. He’s wildly productive, getting it done by writing, producing and mastering his music by himself. My time at El Club with Gamsky left me promising to never push away the out-of-it feeling; sometimes we’re just not with it, and that’s an amazing space to be in.