~Vancouver is internationally
well-known for lame crowds. And I don't just mean the "I'm-so-spooky-my-toilet-paper-is-a-roll-of-crushed-velvet"-crowds,
either. I mean Vancouver has a nasty habit of standing around during live
shows, too cool to respond with any degree of fervor. There is a very good
reason why none of the 'legends' of Vancouver never play here. Recently,
however, there has been the teensiest change towards the better. Pandemonium
productions brought in Covenant not too long ago, and people actually moved!
Wonders never cease. And now we have last nights Deathline Int'l show and
the crowds reaction. Allow me to elaborate somewhat...
Deathline has been here once before. By the fourth song of that first show, the only two people on the dancefloor were myself and my Girlfriend. Crowd response was as typically Vancouver as it can get. Alot of people acting far too cool for their own good.
Last night, the floor was
full, the whole way through. And not only that, they weren't just standing
there with the standard "I can do that, but I don't wanna" attitude.
The crowd's energy was great,
thus the band fed off of that and were themselves exceptionally entertaining.
Dead on in timing, superb sound, they were obviously psyched up by the
response... These guys really are one of the hardest working bands in the
Electronic-Industrial-dance scene today, and it shows in their solid live
performances. I have ranted about how fun these guys are in the past, consider
this yet another kudos-filled accolade. If you have the means, I highly
recommend seeing Deathline Int'l live, especially if you haven't had the
chance to do so at least once already.
Vancouver has been fighting a long uphill battle towards a more vibrant scene. Ever since we lost our only all-alternative club, the Twilight Zone, we've been suffering from fractured efforts on the behalf of promoters and dj's. Slowly it's working it's way up, and congratulations must be offered to Pandemonium and crew for pulling things together in this city. Shows of this caliber really do alot for us all, and I have high hopes for the upcoming Voice Industrie show on August 5th. Good times for all, but we'd better watch ourselves... We wouldn't want folks to think we were having fun over there in the corner or anything. >=D.~
Deathline Intl: http://www.copint.com/deathline/
COP International: http://www.copint.com/
MP3 Files: http://www.mp3.com/deathline/
Noitrix and DeathLine
The New Paris Theatre
Friday, June 29th, 2001
~reviewed by Jett Black
(photos by Sonya Brown)
I almost skipped on this LIVE music event. With sooo many performances locally, I try to focus on those which actually feature local artists as the opening or Main events. In this case, a local artist, Attenuated Euphoria dropped out of the line-up, reportedly due to a focus upon an upcoming recording in frenzied studio production. Then I heard that Noitrix, another local act, would be replacing Attenuated Euphoria. When Derek (aka DJ Carrion) informed me that M. C. Death of Attenuated Euphoria would be performing with Noitrix, I knew that i simply had to make arrangements to attend this performance!
I've been eager to observe M.C. death perform since... well, ever since I missed his scheduled performance when Attenuated Euphoria opened for both Covenant and Noxious Emotion in Portland, again at the New Paris Theatre on the corner of 3rd and Burnside, just across the street from Dante's Inferno.
There's another bar at the corner of 3rd and Ash that I often hang out in before the show and between sets... As you might imagine, I lost track of time gabbing with folks about the downtown music scene on both current and upcoming music events. So engrossed was I in the exchange of particular performance details, I was missing the primary performance I had come downtwon to absorb!
I'm still hoping to have
the good fortune to catch Attenuated Euphoria later this year ::fingers
NOITRIX TAKES THE STAGE:
On this particular Friday evening, the last week of June 2001, inside the New Paris Theatre, camoflauge netting skirts stairway on one side of the stage leading up to DJ sound booth. Incessant Strobe light cascades off the walls - enough to cause migranes. What a[ppears to be a Helium-sucking scene actually turns out to be nitrous oxide.
This is Noitrix. Phillwee - email@example.com, the band-leader, plays the victim and hero of the drama set to planned and improvised music as a story of struggle against oppression unfolds.
After the show, Phillwee, a.k.a. "chicken sandwich" upon direct inquiry responds:
"Actually that was nitrous oxide... the best two hits I've ever taken. Man, was that intence with the strobe lights! I'm glad you liked the show... I aims to please."
A "Progressive" social concept here being that society in order to subjegate our hero induces euphoric drug-like happiness which causes a blindness to the control, the oppression.
The music appears to be improvided to heighten the theatrical effect.
Other cited influences - Skinny Puppy - particularly Deep Down, Trauma Hands.
Noitrix Gear info:
On featured Synthethic noiz: M. C. Death is on a Virus KB Access wearing a football helmet. "M. C. Death" firstname.lastname@example.org, is borrowed from another Pacific Northwest (PDX loco) electronic band entitled Attenuated Euphoria. Attenuated Euphoria has released tracks on Doppler Effect recorded compilation albums, which focus upon artists residing within the Pacific Northwest USA region.
Chris Christian (Big-Man
at Doppler Effect Records), in description of Attenuated Euphoria writes:
"Formed in 1991, and still lingering in the local underground/electronic geek scene like a persistent and irritating venereal disease, Attenuated Euphoria is the one-person effort of the notorious studio-dweller M.C.Death.
Giving up any ambition to play in a traditional "band," due to his staunch refusal to tolerate and endorse the madness of irrationality, the band-politic bullshit, and the rock-star posturings of its participants, M.C.Death uses Attenuated Euphoria as a vehicle for his shameless plundering of ideas and sounds of his musical inspirations, such as Duran Duran, Nine Inch Nails, and Thine Eyes/ml.
Although devoid of a band
proper, Attenuated Euphoria recently played its first live show, with more
shows to come.
However, M.C.Death is not ruling out a possibility of forming an Attenuated Euphoria live band in the future, but that will happen purely on his own terms. When he encounters a combination of other artists who demonstrate exemplary levels of musical skills, creativity, rationality, logic, and selfishness--where such artists may be found--the band may become a reality. In the meanwhile, Attenuated Euphoria continues to exist, to the irritation of many."
Other Noitrix synthetic noiz: Megan - (wires protruding from leather strap around her wrist - tweaking and bleeding on a Nord Lead 2)
Guitar noiz-guru: Josh Powell from Marphy's Coder sits as closeto the on the stage floor as a body can get and twists dials on footpeddals while manipulating chords on his guitar. Josh explains it's easier to control the guitar loops when you can reach the dials. We laughed about how many bands often have 15 pedals linked together and how this is part of the norm actually. This is the first time I have ever seen a guitarist sitting on the floor manipulating the sound.
Dramatic play on the stage with balloons - nitrous oxide - (yeah, we said that already, right?) and then a storm trooper looking glove apparatus essentially being fit like a member of the borg collective. Now Phillwee's character is wired. Hot-wired into the system. He's fighting this involuntary assimilation but he's almost complacent about the struggle of resistance. He's just another pawn.
Dru "the controller", stands a few feet back, like a crazed scientist dressed like a frigging bureaucrat, connected to our pawn lead singer - phillwee - by cables leading from a remote control box controlling our lead singer, our lead players every movement is being controlled now. The more he moves, the more I realize he's also wired in from the back, from the center of the spinal column.
Megan is wearing a t-shirt image of a keyboard on a black background. Sonya comments that, "It actually is a metal keyboard frame on a black background!" Fan-tas-tik!
Dru the controller is dressed as a corporate businessman. As Philwee's character wrests himself of the Hot-wire controls and divests himself of the many probes and plug-ins, Dru begins stumbling backwards, as our lead singer breaks free from the electrode control tubes connecting him to "the man".
At the beginning of this play, our lead singer sang from behind a mask of unhappiness (literally). After the exchange of nitrous oxide, he became happy, so designated by switching masks to a "happy-face" mask.
The theme has two parts.
In the first part: The oppression of external locus of control, and perhaps more accurately, a dramatic, noisy, and at times (thanks to the incessant strobe) visually irritating depiction of the oppression of external "loci" of control.
In the latter part: "Control is turning away." Perhaps this is a drug-induced delusion... to believe that one would ever find the means to divest one's self of the Borg-like control under which we all have become assimilated.
Voice-overs in the background - Monotone samples.
The first voiceover comes from "Night of the Hunter". Then we have voiceovers from The Art Bell Show, an antichrist theme; then voiceovers from Star Trek recordings. Many aspects of control are conveyed here. Religous, piety, control of the church and state, parental control, as in the dominance of agism over adolescence. The music itself is on a bed of improvised electronic darkwave. The theatrical display of the themes conveys the drama in effects similar to Orwellian influences such as 1984.
At some point in the midst of this we find Megan sucking on the skull of a plastic Homer Simpson. This may mean nothing at all, yet it amuses me, and ultimately, that's all that really matters in this world. The lifeless body of Mr. Simpson dangling from her mouth inspires something in me that surpasses description.
To my knowledge, this first performance by Noitrix has no other representation on the web. And the band itself appears to be at present w/o a webpage. My best guess is, now that Phillwee plans on hanging out and performing again with Noitrix, we may see them again and soon find Noitrix appearing on the next Doppler Effect music compilation http://www.sonic-boom.com/dfx/. Stay Tuned!
For further information, please contact (the) Chicken Sandwich: email@example.com
::consists of running back over to the bar @ 3rd & Ash and sucking down more of Portland's finest murky brews::
DEATHLINE INTERNATIONAL TAKES THE STAGE:
To both my surprise and excessive delight, Kim X, the sensation behind COP Int'l records and distributions was in da house! After several years of communicating via random e-messages, it was my pleasure to at last meet this icon, whom I keep on a pedestal for promoting Women Who Rock in the underground electro-gothic/industrial music industry.
DeathLine Internation is
a certain crowd pleaser. The music "really rocks" with an aggressive
vein pumping out both the socio-political life-blood of the music scene,
as well as some surprising covers of old-school pop favourites.
What's more, these musicians look and sound great together. girlies love the machismo and guys tend to feed off the same energy. We all love a great LIVE show! And DeathLine Internation 'delivers'. How queer is that?
The additional members of the new DLI crew are: SLam (Guitar & Keys) who is a professional engineer and an expert at noise manipulation and Gottesman, (Guitar & Keys) a music student from UC Berkeley.
Electronic drummer wears pirate pants he also doubles on a flat black guitar - one of two guitars used durin gthis live performance. The other guitarist contributes some of the keyboard parts and wears a cowboy hat - black. Primary keyboardist, MO - standing upon a riser at the back of the stage uses a Virus b and Yamaha CS2X. Lead vocalist, Count 0: Boots decked by flames dripping down the sides. Shin guards with steel hawk talons. 7 talons on each leg. Crowned by steel knee pads.
The music is bouncy electronic. Projected by heavy raging vocals. Themes of societal rage. Guitarists dance in an integrated pattern (like synchronised swimming), moving upstage and downstage together. An occasional bull horn is used to alter and emphasize vocals. Sweat pouring down from each band member in buckets. It's not just that it's Hot at the New Paris theatre... these guys are working their asses off up on the stage. The duelling guitarists often dancing around the vocalists. Eye make-up streaming down like black rivers from racoon eyes. Each band member does double-duty in contributions to the music provided to enhance their own socio-politically motivated drama.
Erik, Guitarist and sometimes elecrtronic drum player wears a necklace dangling sprockets and gears, dressed full in black. After the show, I noticed that Erik was wearing a C-Tec t-shirt complians of how recent Pheonix show provided for 107 degrees at night - it wasn't much cooler at the New Paris Theatre.
All wear dressed in Black, Except for MO, main keyboardist in the back - wears a headgear microphone allowing him to descend from the tower of keys and participate in a bit of cyber-punk rap. He is dressed in painters white "cover-alls" and white and black boots, alternating black and white velcro straps.
Fog machine with modest usage
adequate for the purpose. Cover songs included Tainted Love, Guns &
Roses' Paradise City. Wild Boys was one of the encores. Intella-beams
of all colors in the spectrum and spinning red lanterns.
AFTER THE SHOW:
After the show, I mill about COP INT'L's music distro table for what seems like hours... and finally let Kim X depart with the last remaining dollars in my pocket while others try to lock up the New Paris Theatre and head out for grub, or perhaps more of the finest light and dark brews that Portland has to offer at any of the many bars available along 3rd and Ash streets.
I bought music by CHIASM
and DeathLine International and also the 3rd musical edition of Diva X
Machina, a compilation of femme vox electro industrial acts featured at
DeathLine International http://www.copint.com/deathline/
DLI is housed under COP Int'l records www.copint.com
Official statements on DeathLine
International (DLI) include:
Originally a collaborative effort between COP fellow musicians, a.k.a. "This Mortal Coil of Industrial", Deathline has grown into a multi-national musical collective with such ecclectic guests as John Carson (Grotus), Scott Holdergy (Mordred), Rey Osburn (Tinfed), Don Gordon (Numb), War-N Harrison (OSAS, F9), Mike Pistel (Consolidated), Keith Arem (Biohazard PCB). Deathline's music affirmed itself through its insatiable desire to break all rules and its innovative cross- breeding of punk-wave and industrial. Their delightfully caustic cover of "Tainted Love" has become an industrial dance floor staple. Their new album Arashi Syndrom with the equally exciting cover of "Wild Boys" is following its success. At the time this info was posted to the web, Arashi Syndrom hit # 83 in the top 200 CMJ alternative chart and #5 in the CMJ / RPM chart.
DEATHLINE INT'L was born as a concept in San Francisco in 1991, when German singer Count O met Spawn (Battery). DLI's first album "Reality Check" (1993) included more than 15 musicians (including John Carson from Grotus and Alfred 23 Hart, the european jazz legend). The idea of an international collective of musicians was born. "Reality Check" was a
harsh blend of metal, electro and very lush orchestral sounds.
This interesting musical dichotomy gave birth to what would become their signature style. The next release was the "Venus Mind Trap" ep with a raunchy cover of "Rawhide" and a few atmospheric pieces. It was an attempt to push the boundaries of electronic music even further, crossing over more eclectic territories. On their 2nd album "Zarathoustra" (1995), Mark Pistel (Consolidated) and Don Gordon (Numb) provided some amazing re-mixes, pushing the collectivist concept once step further. Once again more than 15 musicians from all over the world were involved, including Scott Holderby from Mordred and Rey Osburn (Tinfed). "Zarathoustra" entered the CMJ top 200 and RPM charts and was extremely well received by the press and the public.
In 1996, DLI went on their first US and German tour. With their 3rd album "Arashi Syndrom"(1997), DLI entered the German Alternative chart and peaked at #12. In the US, they reached #5 in the CMJ/RPM and #83 in the CMJ/top 200. "Arashi Syndrom" was a crucial release for DLI, allowing them to break into a more main-stream market, with excellent reviews from magazines like Hammer, Alternative Press and Rockhard. The band toured the US and Germany once more, establishing themselves as a very strong live act.
When Spawn quit DLI in 1998 to focus on Battery, Count 0 redefined the band's musical identity and was busy in the studio, producing albums for Soil & Eclipse, The Razor Skyline, Pulse Legion. DLI's temporary line-up: Count 0, Nihil (3D House of Beef) and IOjeckta (The Razor Skyline) toured Germany, opening for Girls Under Glass.
In 1999, Count 0 teamed up with his new partner: MO. It was a match in heaven between the self-taught, punk inspired Count 0 and the veteran engineer and classically trained musician MO. The first creative effort of this dynamic team is the music for the upcoming Sony playstation video game "Rock'm'Sock'm" and the DLI 4th album "Cybrid" which is an explosive mix of Techno punk: tight electronic dance music meshed with a high-energy in-your-face punk attitude.
"Cybrid" has already received rave reviews in Germany with full length interviews in the top 3 music magazines Zillo, Orkus and Sonic Seducer, and will be featured in upcoming issues of Mute and Sideline. The additional members of the new DLI crew are: SLam (Guitar & Keys) who is a professional engineer and an expert at noise manipulation and Gottesman, (Guitar & Keys) a music student from UC Berkeley.
Deathline Intl: http://www.copint.com/deathline/
COP International: http://www.copint.com/
MP3 Files: http://www.mp3.com/deathline/
New Paris Theatre http://portland.citysearch.com/profile/8456539/
6 SW 3rd Ave Portland (503) 224-8313
PRICE: Most shows are $8
at the door ($7 at Ozone or Platinum Records); Cash.
HOURS: Wed 11pm-4am; Thu 8:30pm-11pm; Fri-Sat 7:30pm-12am; Sun 4:30pm-8:30pm
ATMOSPHERE: Live Music, All Ages
MUSIC: Alternative Rock, Punk, Electronic, Gothic, Industrial, Noise
Bloodgrove Productions bring
Project X and Inertia
US Tour : May 11, 2001
~reviewed by Adrian
( photos by SDS )
The beginning of the spring/summers season in Austin, TX usually opens up a whole world of live music, ranging from power pop and punk to the dark and angry sounds of industrial/goth. One of the landmark arenas for such sounds is the Atomic Cafe which has hosted the likes of Covenant, the Ant Zen tour, and countless others. This evening we were treated by Bloodgrove Productions to two outstanding acts, Sweden's Project X and Germany's Inertia.
Opening the evening up was our two host DJ’s, Raleigh and Cobalt 9, whose refreshing playset bounced around lightly into songs that were both new and not too hard, yet not too soft. EBM and synth pop seemed to be on the menu for the evening and they kept an energy flow that kept people entertained. Our first act of the evening, Project X bounced upon the stage like a juggernaught from the early ‘90s industrial scene. Heavily influenced by the likes of Suicide Commando and Das Ich and could not help but be reminded of the early days of Nitzer Ebb as their lead singer jumped and twisted, belting out such songs as “Cyberdome”, “Fearless”, and “Dead By Dawn”. Hard agro industrial with acid synths wrapped the audience, who seemed more interested with the sometime too energetic stage presence of the lead singer than the actual music being created. Overall the presence of the band reassured the audience that industrial was by no means dead, but alive and kicking with big jackboots.
Once the dust settled from Project X, our two DJ’s glided into another short and sweet set, playing off the tribal aspect of the scenes with their selection of tunes. This, in turn, allowed for a setup of a beautiful young woman (Ilsa was her name) whose poi, or fire dancing, talents to be unleashed like an evil siren from some other world. Slow, fast, sexual, and seductive, Ilsa spun her chains to the hypnotic rhythms of the music that oozed out of the speakers. Soon, the audience, enraptured by her presence, had gathered around to witness one of the best kept secrets that Austin seems to have, our tribal fire spinners, whose talents rival many across the country.
Now that the audience of the Atomic had been fully tantalized, Inertia took the stage, driving a fearless, fluid energy that spoke volumes. These guys and a girl really knew how to work together, yet they seemed very distant, almost robotic in nature as they played and sung. More dancer friendly than Project X, Inertia had the early reminiscence of the beginning style of Covenant mixed with Posie Noir or Silke Bischoff with tracks such as “Angel” and “Breaking Point”. What was noticeable about the sound was their strong rhythm section, you could really feel the beat and it was quite noticeable that it was a more dominate force within their style.
Overall, the evening was quite a success. The bands had a great influence upon the crowd and were very friendly and receptive to their fans. Although the industrial scene is beginning to become in danger of repeating itself, or perhaps becoming stagnate, we are hopefully going to see a newer era of EBM, IDM and industrial groups and artists whose expansion into other areas of style and influence will dominate over many of the styles that are falling flat. Bloodgrove Productions should be acknowledge for their work in bringing these groups and sounds to central Texas and the bands should be thanked for enduring and giving their all.
Project X website : http://www.octoprod.se/project-x/
Inertia website : http://www.cryonica.com/inertmenu.htm
Bloodgrove Productions: http://bloodgrove.batcave.net
705 Red River
Pacific Northwest Talent
~written by Blu
(all pictures courtesy of the band's websites unless otherwise noted)
I’ve been going to a lot
of concerts since I moved to Seattle and boy, there’s a wealth of talent
here in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve seen many bands but got behind in writing
them up so I figured I’d get my ass in gear and do one big salute to some
of Seattle’s local bands that I haven’t written about yet. I kinda owe
these bands some moments in the spotlight – so here goes…
FAITH & DISEASE
(photos courtesy of http://www.operation-glam.com/faith/ via the band)
I’ll start with probably one of the most well-known ethereal bands – Faith & Disease. Home in Seattle for quite some time, F&D made bright appearances on Projekt’s label as well as their own – Ivy Records. Last year found them moving to California to test the waters there and from all accounts, the move has been positive although Seattle tends to miss their presence and will always claim them as one of their own. Last month, F&D made their first appearance back in Seattle in over a year, kicking off the beginning of a new tour and I was more than thrilled to catch them at the Catwalk.
Faith & Disease have always been exceptional live – never failing to capture the beauty heard on their CDs; but this time was even better than before. I don’t know if it was their enthusiasm for being back in their hometown, or my utter delight at hearing REAL instruments played live as opposed to the synthetic, mechanical thump-thump-thump of EBM/Synth pop that all clubs are dying in these days. Whatever the reason, they were more alive that night than I’ve ever seen them before. They were tuned to perfection. They had several guest performers on stage with them – most notably – John from Shadowlight on keys and Greg from Fear of Dolls playing guitar. In addition to Eric and Dara (the core of F&D), they had a celloist, and an additional vocalist, who also played the flute and keyboards during different songs. I got goose bumps hearing the long, mournful chords of a real cello being played on stage. Again, I can hardly relate how nice it was to hear them play all that music LIVE. The energy communicated through real drumming, real guitars and strings is something that electronics will never be able to duplicate. There is something intrinsically human in the transfer of that music from their hands to our ears that cannot be recreated by artificial means. Certainly, listening to an opera or a symphony on a CD pales in comparison to hearing the real thing performed live. This is something a lot of new musicians are taking for granted and this is what makes a band like Faith & Disease timeless -- so mature and sophisticated in their sound.
Opening that same night was a band called Luminous Flux. Led by Susan Dumett, a classically trained vocalist, they’ve made an impressive appearance. Relatively new(their first CD was created in the winter of 2000), they’ve played quite a few shows lately which I think will serve them well in getting their “stage feet” wet. I’ve seen them a couple times now and they look more and more together with each performance. Susan opens each set with a haunting acoustic piece in which she demonstrates her operatic talents. I was quite stunned the first time I heard her voice soar up to those heights. Wow! With Rob MacKusick (formally in Faith & Disease and Salon Betty) on keyboard and Paul MacKusick (Salon Betty) on guitars, they have good stage presence for a three piece although, being the stickler for LIVE music that I am, I’d love to see them incorporate a real drummer at some point instead of having to depend on the drum machine loops. I think it would only add to their energy.
Not typically goth, they’re hard to pin down as far as style, and that’s a good thing in this case. They go from blues-y to almost morbidly-Victorian at times, and then back to a few heavily guitar-laden songs. My favorite songs have to be the playful ones – in particular “Sweetly” and “Luna” done in a ¾ waltz tempo. Susan describes “Luna” :
It actually kind of begins like the Moonlight Sonata with me singing alone about how eerie, but good it feels to be away/ broken up with this person and then in the second half Rob sings this freaky sort of stalking [verse]: I wait for you when you are sleeping, I watch you when you are awake, I follow you through the darkness, I see you in the light…’ and then I do this kind of spooky operatic [part].These songs are fun and creepy – something I could see Diamanda Galas or Nina Haagen doing. I would almost like to see them dressed up in Edward Gorey-esque Victorian Garb performing these songs – could be quite a hoot. Check out their website for more information and keep your eye on this band. I suspect you’ll be hearing much more about them in the future.
MURDER OF CROWS
Another Seattle band that I’ve watched become better and better as they perform is Murder of Crows. I remember the first time I saw them I wasn’t that impressed with what they were doing and gave them a luke-warm review. Lovely spirits that they are, they didn’t hold that against me [thank you] and have always been EXTREMLY nice.
When I initially saw them they were at the Vogue – a place usually plagued with sound problems of some sort along with an odd-shaped stage that doesn’t lend itself to the natural setup of a band. I remember that the guitars were too loud and that I strained to hear the vocalist’s words. I felt the band was too heavily concentrated on the guitar -- Deuce is an unbelievable guitar player but that night he was overwhelming the entire band.
Having now seen them perform recently at the Catwalk, I’m beginning to think my first impression of them was hampered only by the bad sound system at the other venue, not their talent as a group. This go around, sound levels were great and instead of being over bearing, the guitar was nicely accenting the vocals. I was sitting with a guitar player from another band who’s usually pretty critical and after a couple songs, he turned to me and said, “That guy is one hell of a guitar player! I’m impressed!” The drumming by Genevieve was outstanding (I love girl drummers! we need more!) and I even heard several impressive bass solos by James Murray through out the set. I could actually hear Winter Jaye’s vocals this time and wow – you’d be surprised at what she’s got to say. I do believe I almost blushed a couple times. This is no soft-spoken music for timid souls; its angsty and angry; lusty and livid. Leaning more towards metal/rock foundations than traditional goth, I think fans of metal might even like this band. Their sound brings to mind other guitar-based, hard hitting bands like Calcedonia and Nocturne out of Dallas – consequently also led by a feisty female vocalists.
The only criticism I have at this point is when Winter Jaye sings some higher, ethereal parts in some songs – jumping up an octave from where she started. This is my personal opinion flat out though and some people might like those parts and find the contrast interesting so feel free to blow this comment off. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that she sings those higher parts bad at all, but they’re just so anti-climatic, and for lack of a better word, “soft,” in comparison to when she’s aggressively belting out the rest of the lyrics that they seem almost out of place. I think the contrast is too much. I’d rather hear her keep the sound down an octave and put more aggression into it. Then again, maybe I’m too much of a riotgrrl at heart :::winkwink:::
In conclusion, Murder of Crows is an aggressive, hearty band that puts on one wallop of a show regardless of the crowd turnout. I think they’ll wow audiences outside of Seattle in surprising ways.
As much as I bitch and whine and complain about “push button” bands and declare my dissatisfaction with most bands that use the tag “industrial” nowadays, I have to eat my words with Noxious Emotion. Infact, I’ll be bold enough to say, that if you dare call yourself an industrial band, you’d be well advised to watch their live show and learn a little somethin’. Its no secret that the challenge for any electronic-based band is to create some kind of interesting live show. I’ll say it a million times in this issue: if you just stand there and push buttons and dance around the stage you’re no better than N’SYNC. You’re not a live *band*, you’re an entertainer of some sort. You’re some one who’s pushing play on a CD player. I’m not paying extra to see that.
Enter: Noxious Emotion.
Everything they play *COULD* be pre-recorded on DAT, drums looped in a never-ending babble for their live show Mike *could* stand on stage singing in his gruff voice and Robert could just hit play and bounce around while the show ran on sequenced music (perhaps there’s entertainment in watching Robert’s cool dredlocks flop about on his head). They could do that. But why would I bother to see them live? Instead, Noxious takes the route of true musicians and actually employs not one, but TWO LIVE drummers. Fritter, a kick ass girl with always nothing-but-cool hair, plays a set of traditional drums while standing up, while Godboy plays an electric set and well – a barrel. Mind you, *some* of keyboard parts are pre-recorded, but most of the melodies are played, you guessed it – LIVE. I mean, the keyboard player actually uses his fingers on the keys to make melodies. Strange, I know, but I saw it with my own two eyes. Really I did.
The coolest part of any Noxious show, and the part that all the locals practically salivate in anticipation for, is when Godboy brings out the barrel. Yes, a barrel. A rusty old steel barrel that he gleefully and maniacally lifts above his head as the crowd backs up. BAM! It hits the floor, the song starts, and he jumps down on the floor amongst the crowd to outright attack that barrel with drumsticks. Arms flail and despite Fritter’s frantic drumming onstage, you can hear that barrel loud and clear. Infact, you can FEEL the vibrations traveling from that barrel through the floor, up your body. Now that’s cool as hell. The show then takes on some kind of primitive, animalistic vibe as the crowd becomes more and more frantic dancing around the barrel. The song ends but we’re not done with the barrel yet.Godboy hops back up on stage and disappears for a second as the next song starts. He emerges with instruments of chaos – a handful of drumsticks which he throws out to greedy hands and child-like eyes in the crowd. Suddenly, the show is no longer about the band, its about the crowd. He encourages them to beat the barrel, and most do creating a feverish mob. It’s a scary site with millions of arms going this way and that. Other folks take the sticks and beat on anything available, the stage, the floor, a barstool, you name it. Godboy drops down into the crowd, sets the barrel up right and stands on top of it while bending over to strum it some more, finally standing upright and giving way to the crowd, arms outstretched while feeling the vibrations of many arms strumming away. It’s an industrial drumming circle. Its exciting…and every time I see it, it never gets old. It always makes me smile and laugh out loud with delight. The energy created is absolutely incredible. You could NEVER get this with pre-recorded drumbeats. Never ever. It’s ingenious. Kudos to Mike and the gang for going the greater distance, it makes all the difference in the world. The fact that the local crowd always participates and most can be caught singing the words to their populer “Indefinite Unspecified” certainly says something.
New Directions Cello Festival
June 16th, 2001
~review and photos by Kathryn
Braving the not terrible
heat and almost stifling humidity, our three brave travellers made the
through the wilds of northwestern Rhode Island, and into the strange little town of Storrs, CT. Not much
of note happened on the way, aside from passing up the opportunity to look at a town that seemed to be made up only of antique shops.
Since we got to Storrs early, and found nothing really to do, we decided to have a look at Nature, and stopped the car by a lake where there were many people fishing and the forest seemed oddly bare of leaves. Upon further inspection we learned that the trees were infested with Gypsy Moth caterpillars, who could be heard chomping loudly from every branch.
We quit that scene (who wants caterpillars in their hair?), and headed for the cemetery (oooh. how goth!) in the bright and shining sun. One of the three stayed in the car, and two of us found a turtle laying eggs in the dirt covering centuries dead founding townsfolk. Hmmm... curious.
More wandering and caffiene and sitting in the lobby of the recital hall, and finally it was time to hand the person our tickets and find seats. Yes, seats! Joy of all joys!! No sore feet or too shakey camera for this one.
Two bands played before Rasputina, an old-time fiddle band called Big Fiddle, and a Jazz band called Chris White Quartet. I enjoyed Big Fiddle quite a lot more than I thought I would. They had energy and good stories to tell and one very creepy little song.
During the first two bands, more and more people found their way into the little recital hall, and it became quite evident that many were there to see Rasputina. In spite of this fact, everyone was very quiet and polite during the first two bands, and many appeared to be enjoying themselves, which leads me to believe that Rasputina fans are a pretty keen bunch.
By the time the stage was empty and waiting for the ladies to arrive, I could just feel the excitement in the air. A fact that was confirmed by the girl who came bounding down to sit in the empty seat next to me. She was so giddy, compounding my own giddiness at finally being able to see Rasputina.
And then they came in and sat down with their cellos on that brightly lit stage...
The show opened with New Zero. They all seemed a little nervous, but any visible signs quickly dissipated as they proceeded with the rest of the show. There was a good mix of songs from both albums, as well as two new covers and four new (or at least non-album) songs. There was no drummer present, and to tell you the truth, I didn't even miss having drums added to their sound, as it was so full and beautiful on it's own that I had to wonder if drums were ever even necessary.
Melora treated us to little interjections of humor along the way, at one point saying "If I were braver I'd say Nozzle nodule eraser chip..." or something to that effect.
The cover of Pat Benatar's "Fire & Ice" had quite a few of us quietly giggling at the sheer brilliance of translating such a song into a piece for 3 cellos & voice. It's beyond description, and makes me smile just to think of it.
The cover of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" (an excerpt of which can be found hidden on the website, along with short animated video clip) was simply beautiful.
It's difficult for me to put into words how wonderful this show was. And not just because of the lack of annoyances usually found at club show (talkers, dodging lit cigarettes, bad sound, standing in spilled beer...), but because the true love of what they are doing showed in every song.
Rose K almost had me in tears, and I was reeling at Diamond Mind, which got much loud applause.
When asked "what's your sign?" the crowd was mysteriously silent, as if so hypnotized by the strangely beautiful sounds coming from that stage, that they couldn't answer... until my friend decided he needed to be heard. He's a Leo. Go figure.
All too soon the night was
over. The ladies went away, got a standing ovation, and then came back
to do another new song, which was very pretty, and somewhat sad. A few
people shouted out songs they wanted to hear before the encore, such as
"Transylvanian Concubine", to which Melora replied something like "some
songs just need drums". Which, I
guess, proves that they are indeed necessary for some things, in spite of my enjoyment of the non-drummer sound.
After the performance was over, I bought a t-shirt and sticker, and hoped my pictures turned out. The camera was borrowed, and one of those little alien things that doesn't tell shutter speeds and does everything but develop the film for you. Obviously, there was no need to worry.
The ride home had us hoping for more opportunities to see Rasputina. Only time will tell...
Setlist (as posted to Rasputina's
website message board, because my note taking was poor that evening, at
The New Zero
Cross Walk (X Walk)
Signs of the Zodiac
Why Don't You Do Right
Fire and Ice
Rusty the Skatemaker
Any Old Actress
Wish You Were Here
Things I'm Gonna Do (??)
Encore: All the Good Days Are Gone
official Rasputina website:
A quite comprehensive fan
site full of reviews, interviews, photos, and all sorts of fun Rasputinarelated
Antiquity (The Gig, West)
Los Angeles, California
May 25, 2001
~concert review by Xian
The last month or so has left Los Angeles buzzing with news of the debut performance of SPF-1000. The clubs in Hollywood were subject to nonstop assault as David and Scott from the band and the promoters and I were aggressively flyering. Scott was also assaulted once or twice by David after each attempt he made to flyer me. David, the vocalist and creator of SPF-1000, has spent the time wandering from club to club in a delirious elation, eagerly prattling on about how excited he and the band were to be able to play for the first time. So happy in fact, that he has offered to buy me a car or a pony, my choice. Scott shared this joy with a smile, nod and yawn. David further boasted that they was going to give Antiquity the best show we have ever had. "We're going to deck out the stage; props everywhere, smoke so thick that people will be having Coven 13 flashbacks, and that lighting and sound system at The Gig is perfect!"
"Vee shall see," I would say with a generous grin to poke fun. The first time I met David he was still a one man act. One night at Antiquity he introduced himself and handed me a demo CD with three tracks on it. He was so terribly friendly and cordial that with a quick listen I played "Haunted House" right away that very night. His words then best describe SPF-1000's music to this day: "It sorta sounds like an orgy of Danny Elfman, Siouxsie Sioux and Marilyn Manson." Now here he was flyering for his first show at Antiquity and bursting with enthusiasm. JD and Lohreina, the promoters of Antiquity, were equally excited and spread the word as thoroughly as possible. Even Jack Dean of Gothic Radio was right behind us the entire way, pushing the show on the lists and in person. With the incredible build up we then had, this show will surely go down in the history of Los Angeles as one of the few performances by a local band to be so heavily supported. It was going to be big, and I was scared. The occupancy at The Gig, West, is a modest 300-350 or so. A regular night at Antiquity was already close to 200 patrons.
Antiquity at this time has been running for close to a year and a half. Since the beginning of this year, we switched from every Thursday night to the 2nd and 4th Fridays of the month. Between DJ Raven and myself, you will hear gothic, ethereal, darkwave, some industrial and some gothic rock tunes. Project Pitchfork, Siouxsie, Juno Reactor, Malign, Collide, Oneiroid Psychosis, The Cure, Tori Amos, Rhea's Obsession, Skinny Puppy, Bjork, Numb, Coil, Garbage, Concrete Blonde, Tones on Tail, and a lot more dominate our playlists. Very dark and very danceable. Definitely something different from any other club in Los Angeles. At Antiquity, people still make it a point to dress up in their dark finery and it is not unusual to see velvets and lace and feathers poking every which way amid the leather and occasional PVC. In my jeans and regular shirts, I feel even more underdressed here than anywhere else. But damnit, I bet I am the most comfortably dressed there.
Since the beginning, Antiquity has hosted an incredible number of bands: Fear Cult, Diva Destruction, Wailing Wall, Asmodeus X, NaNO, Rakit, Angels of Venice, Severed Edges, Written in Ashes, Spanking Machine, The Machine in the Garden and performances by Desert Sin and the Vamphear Circus and so much more. It was only natural to add SPF-1000's incredible sound to the number of talent to be seen here. Being at The Gig, West, Antiquity is located at a band venue that operates with one of the best sound and lighting systems in all of Los Angeles. It is only natural that we open our doors to bands. The only downfall of the place is the size of the dance floor. The stage, when there is no band equipment, often becomes packed when there is no room to be found on the dance floor itself.
Come the night of the performance, I nearly levitated out of bed in a jolt, realizing that my alarm did not go off. It was 9:45 PM, and I needed to be at Antiquity by 10:00 PM. Groaning, I threw on my boots and grabbed my CDs and coat and bolted out the door, throwing makeup on at red lights along the way (which is quite illegal kids). Flying past the door guy before he had a chance to notice I was one of the DJs, I skidded to a halt in the DJ booth and dumped my load on the counter. It was 10:20 PM. SPF-1000 was to go on at 11:45 PM. Heading "straight" for the bar, I realized in that distance of 10 feet I had to cover became 25' just to get around all the people. The place was packed. We had been open for only 20 minutes. Gothic Standard Time seemed to be temporarily out of order.
Amused, I grabbed a coke, said a few hellos, smoked and returned to the booth to take over for Raven. Through the course of my rounds I was surprised that I didn't see David or the SPF-1000 gang anywhere. In fact I did not see them until the performance. Moments before the show was about to begin, I was instructed by the sound engineer to toss a lengthy song onto the house CD system. This was to provide enough time for the change over from the DJ system to the house system. So in a bought of DJ humor, I used this as an excuse to toss on Bauhaus's "Bela Lugosi's Dead," a song well over 9 minutes in length. Amazingly the dance floor packed. Apparently because no DJ will touch that song with a 10 foot pole these days, you have a lot of goths and deathrockers who are starved to hear and dance to it at the clubs now. Had I worn contact lenses, I would have removed one and flicked it onto the dance floor just to see the dog piling as they all would sway to the floor like metal to a magnet. But I digress.
The lights dim, Bela is finally dead, and our ears are assaulted by this quirky, happy go lucky tune, heavily flooded with samples and giggles which soon progressed into screams and dark melodies. Jackie and Andy were the first to appear with Gabe and Scott following just a few moments after. Then David creeped out onto stage, donning a huge witch's hat with his coloured dreadlocks hanging mischievously about his face. Instead of the happy and bouncing lad I am familiar with, he wore a dour and serious expression. The performer's poker face.
The beginning tune was "Kiss Kiss," which left no room for much build up. Hard and fast, it hit everyone right away and it was several moments of the crowd and the band sizing each other up. The applause was modest and I suddenly realized I was going to be spinning the rest of the night once they were done. "This next song is about witches, although not that kind of witches," David breathed into the mic while running one hand along the rim of his pointy hat. "Whichcunt" began and at that moment I stepped outside for a quick smoke break. Quick become several minutes, as I made a point to hello to some other people before bumming a clove. What drew me back inside was not finishing the clove. It was hearing "Consumption" begin.
"Somebody give me a cigarette,
somebody give me a clove."
Clove still in hand, I ignored the no smoking indoors rule and walked up to David right after he sung those lines, handing him the one I had just bummed, still 2/3s unsmoked. My smoking break was obviously over as I was not about to try to find another one, nor was I going to get that one back. As I wandered over to the bar for another coke and saw that some people were giggling, a few even applauded my contributions to the show. The clove remained in David's hands for the rest of the song, occasionally puffed on for effect. It wasn't until later on that I remembered David telling me he had quit smoking in favor of singing. Whoops.
"This band is incredible. They sound just like their album. Very few can pull that off in live performances these days," Jack Dean of Gothic Radio mused as I walked by in clove deprivation.
The next memorable song was SPF-1000's cover of Billy Idol's "White Wedding." A very dark cover at that, with Gabe going nuts on guitar and David swinging a tattered umbrella over his head. By this time the crowd was dancing and the applaus growing stronger and stronger. The place was packed to the point that I had to return to the booth just for standing room and visability. Other people were standing on the couches just to be able to see. "Arg, that buzz is coming from the bassist," the sound engineer cursed. "Too many effects and I can't do anything about it because it is all running through him before it comes to me." I assured him that I hadn't noticed and I doubt many others would.
"Haunted House" was the last tune of their set, one familiar to many people as I had played it at Bar Sinister and Antiquity frequently enough. Along with David, many from the crowd were yelling out, "Dig! Dig! Dig! Kill! Kill! Kill!!" during the chorus. By this time I was kicking myself for not popping in a tape to record the performance. Despite Jack's earlier comments, there is something different about a band when they perform live. They sound more raw and aggressive. There is a lot more emphasis on the guitars and drums and overall there is a feel that just cannot be captured in the studio. This feel is often mastered away before anyone has a chance to hear it, lost in all the repititions of being played. This is the sound of passion and intensity that comes from a band feeding on the attention given to them by an ardent and energized crowd. The audience is perhaps the single most important catylyst to any performer. To captivate is to capture and channel. That night SPF-1000 was pulled out of their shell and given the means for reaching new heights. I am very proud of them.
At the end of night people slowly moved out of Antiquity. The club employees were beginning the long process of cleanup and the band was preparing to move their equipment outside. I walked up to the band's corner and was nearly decapitated by Scott as the huge rolled up banner he was holding bent at the middle and swung down perilously in my direction, missing me by inches. David was bouncing the cardboard tubing the banner was supposed to go in and declared, "Whoa, I sound just like those Blue Boys." He began bouncing it far more rhythmically and pounding on its sides and said, "I think I am just going to have to get more tubing and do something just like them. What do you say, Scott" he inquired?
"Fuck that" Scott mumbled, rerolling the banner with an annoyed expression. "I have done a lot of things for you, but I am NOT shaving my head and painting my face blue. Now give me the damned tube so I can put this banner away." The rest of what he said was mumblings about Macs and Pentiums that was barely audible over David giggling.
Bar Sinister (Boardner's)
May 26th, 2001
~concert review by Xian
Memorial Day weekend has slowly crept up on us again. The streets are rife with vehicular activity and the special events and the clubs are in competition once again. Bar Sinister is always a safe bet on Saturdays, regardless of the season. Located in the historic Boardner's, taking over the side room and the outside courtyard, Bar Sinister has been a bastion for vanity, debauchery, and Red Jenn's devilish bartending for well over three years now. Once upon a time you were able to walk down a long alleyway lined with red candles before entering into the heart of Bar Sinister, the courtyard. Velvet curtains and chiffon drapes and standing candelabras would entrance your vision along with the black and the scantily clad crowd. The fountain was no exception to the rule, dry ice floating loftily at the brim and a cherub statue guarding a single candle against the elements. Now we no longer have the luxury of the alley entryway, instead being forced to enter through the Boardner's main door. Yet even then you cannot remove the malevolent charm of the place. Dark visuals and delectable go-go dancers, long and narrow corridors and high ceilings. Sinister is unlike any other club in the area, instead reminiscent of New York and the New Orleans' french quarter.
This week Sumerland was in town. I walked in and tripped and shoved through the crowds towards the stage and asked a few people where the band members were. Once pointed in the right direction, I marched on up to David and Dorien. "Hi, I'm Xian," I piped up, extending my hand with a grin. David perked and Dorien made eye contact for a few brief seconds before looking down. Blu's words echoed in my mind just then, "he's very shy."
You would not believe it to see him on stage. Dorien's presence is very calming, very demanding of your attention. To look away would mean your eyes had missed some simple gesture or an emotion that the entire song might rest upon. Balancing on the edge of the fountain, I was enthralled for the entire show. I had heard their demo but nothing can compare to seeing Sumerland live. David was in love with the crowd, Marshall with his keyboards, and Enrique seemed to be communicating with inner spirits as he livened the percussion and occasionally the guitars. Dorien would murmur and sigh into the microphone and fill the air with thunderous intensity; the sheer passion being driven on such subtle notes and harmonies slammed through the crowd one at a time. By the end of the show the entire courtyard lent its applause.
The only person who did not seem entirely happy was Michael, the band's sound engineer. "Damn PA system," he growled halfway through the show. "Ah, be happy for it," I tossed in with jest, breaking my attention from the band for a few moments. "This is a newer system since the last few weeks. You could have been stuck with THAT one and then you would really be in for it."
At the end of the show, I grabbed another coke and returned for a copy of the playlist from the band. Dorien had slipped back into his shell, Marshall had disappeared into thin air, and David once again became the voice, talking about friends who had driven up and down for the show and how he was glad to be back in the area. Enrique quietly walked up and gave me a pheasant feather with a graceful nod before wandering off. By the end of the night I had two and they now sit framing one of my candles. Strange chemistry the group has, demure yet mesmerizing. They seem entirely elated to have found eachother.
Tricia, the promotor of Bar Sinister, later on wrote into her net diary about the night:
"Bar Sinister had a great one with a performance by Sumerland that set the mood under the starz as ambiant and deeply intense. Dorien Campbell could hold center stage anywhere with his still presence and powerfully mesmerizing voice. To be graced with performers, Dorien, David, Enrique & Marshall who are passionate about their music and can dictate that manner to it's crowd is impressive, especially at Bar Sinister. I feel very lucky to have had such talent."
SUMERLAND CD RELEASE PARTY
Dante's Inferno, Portland Oregon
May 19th, 2001
~review by Jett Black, photos by Blu
Evening set in across Portland, Oregon, darkening the Columbia River below the I-5 Interstate bridge. David Bowie sang into the cab of Sonya's Accent automobile as she drove and I rode along thinking quitely to myself, looking out upon the brilliant reflections of the moon upon the water, winking back up to capture my attention.
We arrived later than usual to Dante's Inferno, certain that this time we would not have a table and chairs available to fall into, though this proved to be untrue. At the door leading into Dante's Inferno the Shaman spreads blessings upon every entrant. Native American syle of brightly colored patterns, painted in this case on fabric with a stark white background - the Shaman.
Checking our badges of identification at the door, we were next immediately greeted and invited to select from a dwindling supply of feathered masks, which we were told that Sumerland requests all entrants should receive and apply for this special occasion.
Sumerland, as in the Land of the Sumer, home to the Sumerians. Sumerland, having nothing at all to do with Spring-time, Summer-time, nor any other season of the year, except the rainy season perhaps as the land of Sumer, as I recall was plagued by rains and floods annually. A land of cyclical devastation, ruin, religious consternation, and spiritual revival.
Inside the doorway, and beyond, the warmth of Dante's wraps around us. Off to the left, directly in front of a darkened window, burns a courageous blaze around which much chatter of conversations can be seen contributing to the muffled cacaphony of the hundreds of voices and faces exchanging flirtatious self-expressions of flattery and egocentric massage. We have arrived.
Red permeates the subterfuge of candle lit lounge table tops, velvet apolstered chairs, and adorning the small stage at the focal point of the incandescent gallery thick, heavy, full-length red curtainshang solid from ceiling to stage floor, which itself is set upon the red carpet underfoot.
Eyes drift in and out of recognition and focus like a sea of vampires more absorbed upon the prey in hand than those who walk through the doorway. Tonight, is like any other night. Dante's attracts into it's lair the average cup of Joe music enthusiasts as well as the dedicated succubi of darkness.
Portland's downtown music scene becomes the melting pot for music enthusiasts who love great micro-brewery beer. Any given venue opens itself to all who wander in search of good beer and great music.
Sumerland plays live for all manner of music enthusiasts who gather to enjoy social conversations, great beer, and the flirtatious dangers of romance within Portland's darkest of musical menageries.
To the foot of the stage, my lovely companion and I make our descension, and rounding the last table, we find Starvox.net music magazine editor Blu Ashton beckoning us to sit with her at yet another table, tucked away into an alcove of reserved darkness. Coats and accouterments are wisked away to reveal two chairs.
Across the table from me sits an unfamiliar face focused upon the stage where Sumerland applies the final touches to the stage readiness. Blu introduces Kevin Dunn, founder of Middle Pillar Esoteric - Gothic - Electronic music distributions.
Middle Pillar, which recently signed contracts with Sumerland, produced the full-length debut by Sumerland entitled Sivo. and this night is one of two official Sivo cd release parties at which Kevin Dunn and James Babbo, partners of Middle Pillar, attend, having flown to seattle for the first night and car pooled down to portland for this the second officail Sumerland cd release party for Sivo, their finest recordings to date.
James Babbo is not at the table. He has ascended the stage and now introduces the gathered audience of frothy bearded to finely combed music lovers to Sumerland. James reflects also upon his own introduction to Sumerland not so long ago, his impressions of their demo, now a collector's item, limited press (sold out).
Sumerland unfolds like time-lapsed photography upon the life-span of a flowering plant.
Sumerland Song Samples: http://www.mp3.com/sumerland
Sumerland's Sivo CD release
Party set list at Dante's Inferno
1. Bygones to the New heaven
4. Circle Dance
5. Morpheus (Repraise)
7. Exalted City
9. The Moon is in the Gutter
10. Crimson Tree
2. Sancte Sangre
Sumerland - Sivo - cd review: http://www.starvox.net/cdr/sumerland.htm
Enrique employs a variety of percussion options that onstage become instruments of sound in addition to more traditional drums.
Candles short and tall deck the stage, speakers, keyboard tops, and every small table top throughout Dante's Inferno.
Dorien, dressed head to toe in black wearing a black furry headcap, nice western style black boots and a very nice black suit coat, moves casually as though the heat of the environ taxes too much to warrant exerting more energy than he body requires.
Dorien and Enrique switch places on the stage and instruments several times throughout the evening.
Every person entering Dante's Inferno this eve was presented with a wide selection of feathered masks. Not only did the audience wear masks but a at different intervals, several different persons entirely costumed and "made up" passed before the stage during critical moments in the "story line" of the musical set. I later discovered that the timing of such passage was conincidental and actually not planned at all.
For instance, during Exalted City persons with feathered headgear and dark patterns of camoflauge face paint pass by the stage each carrying different items. One with several goblets covered with black tissue paper overflowing, so that my impression is one of the blurring overflow of darkness from these cups.
The coincidental passage of mysterious beings before the stage represented those who carried forth the mantra collected from individuals from within the audience onto little pieces of paper. Into an ante room, left of the main stage, evocation of the Mantra provided additional interest and entertainment for those who convened in the equally darkened second-bar area.
This side-bar area often provides an opportunity for speedier service than the main bar which remains busy throughout the evening, serving all manner of special concoctions as well as a wide selection of micro-brews on-tap. This side room also provides for video-electronic entertainment as well w/o any intrusion upon main stage entertainment.
The passage of beings like painted images set upon a canvas of music provided for a personal experience reminescent of moments I spent drugged with absinthe early last summer wherein the images and sounds of beautifully adorned persons with painted faces and all manner of antiquated fashions revived for the celestial gothic ball and music events in Seattle, Washigton proceeded to haunt and entertain my imaginations in a slowly cascading series of collapsing dreams... a collage of memories falling like leaves in autumn under the whip and lash of the wind through the trees.
Drunken this time only by the music of Sumerland and the array of impressions gathered from faces which passed by our table, and settled sometimes into the thickness of the attentive audience within Dante's Inferno.
Standing room only all night long inside of Dante's Inferno, finely dressed guests masked in feathers, finely groomed beards, an intoxicating aroma of clove smoke. Feline forms dancing at the foot of the stage, writhing in a callesthenic form of dance, the heat inside Dante's Inferno as one might imagine... pardon the cliche.. was hot as Hell.
Flash photography is permitted inside Dante's, and I dare say I've never seen more cameras in action inside this venue on any other evening. Every would-be photographer vying in semi-circle patterns at the foot of the stage for each series of perfect moments to be caught on film.
David and Enrique continue the strains of music on guitars while Dorien resuming with vocals moves upstage to the percussion section.
Encore song. and the music driving, compelling rapt enthusiasm from the audience.
Kirk of Dreams In Exile sacrifices a chair for Enrique who resumes the foot of the stage, this time seated with an acoustic guitar.
Vocals in Spanish, Enrique treats the Sumerland audience to a love song... Sancte Sangre.
Interlude between Sumerland and Soriah music sets:
The Shaman raises and lowers a huge 8 pointed pinata which has been suspended above and just ahead of the stage all evening, oscillating back and forth, looking down and out across an appreciative audience, many of whom are for the very first time seeing and hearing Sumerland perform music from their debut album and demo cd.
A long line of contestants forms to my right side. All eager to have a whack at the hovering pinata. I move back, more eager to participate vicariously than to challenge the Shaman at this game of skill.
First two young women have a whack at the pinata with a big stick. First and second attempts: "Thump!" and some idiot calls out, "You hit like a girl!" Then, Cedric Justice, (previously of Diao, now disbanded) takes the stick and cautiously with one strategically calculated whack... the guts of the pinata all comes flying out. Condoms and all manner of sexually oriented paraphenalia spill out ont the floor disappearing amidst a swarm of envious, finely draped, and apparently sexually starved, local vampires.
In preparation for Soriah, an entire stage of instruments clears off completely except for the mic and mic stands which dutifully await until Enrique, now our spiritual guide, returns to the stage, bends down and lights a fire, an ern which erupts with blue flames.
Enrique equipped with a hand bell and blunt sticks encricles the hand bell to emit a resonating and continuous tone.
Enrique intones into the microphone a airy wash of sound. Hands shaking at the wrists out to the sides like feathered wings lifting the bird rapidly into the air compete with the flight of the humming bird whose wings beat only a little faster.
Behind Enrique, another musician on a hand drum conducts the rhythym. Another urn stage right lit afire. The strobe light in a rainbow of intelli-beams bathe the stage in ecstatic light. Enrique appears as a spiritual leader, guide through the forray of enchantments fallen upon the audience. Reminds me of an aboriginal musician performing with an array of many bells draping from his neck using his voice as a many spendored instrument. Enrique provices etheral and tribal chants, reverberating and oscillating echos upon the tribal beats of the hand drum filling Dante's Inferno with hypnotic enchantments.
Shrill whistles and thunderous applause follow this truly psychedelic and aural experience.
Off to the side of all these musical engagements, Middle Pillar set up a small table lined in black velvet, presenting several attractively designed new releases catering now to a diverse audience. Again, many of the enchanted folks in the audience comment on their appreciation for "that band which was just on stage" referring to Sumerland, and inquiring on how to obtain any of their recordings. Middle Pillar generally caters to a specific audience already familiar with the music at hand. This cd release party seems to have engendered ground-breaking significance for both Middle Pillar and Sumerland in Portland, Oregon this evening.
Additional items available on the Middle Pillar distro table included...
Loretta's Doll - Creeping
The Machine in the Garden
- Out of the Mists
Thread - Abnormal Love
Butoh (various artists) an
exclusive Middle Pillar label compilation
The Unquiet Void - Between
The Mirror Reveals - Frames
Look for Sumerland's CD SIVO
from Middle Pillar Presents
Middle Pillar Distribution
P.O. Box 555
New York, NY 10009
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CD RELEASE PARTY
May 19th, 2001
~reviewed by Sonya Brown
(photos by Blu)
Dante's Inferno turned into a slice of heaven Saturday night as Sumerland celebrated the release of their new full length CD, Sivo (just released on Middle Pillar Records www.middlepillar.com/Sumerland/sivo ). A slice of heaven where blessings and feather masks greeted friends, fans and the curious at the entrance to the club.
As I entered Dante's Inferno, I saw many unfamiliar faces this particular night. This leads me to believe that this talented band has succeeded where so many gothic bands have not - that they are not a "gothic" band at all, but a band to be enjoyed by anyone who appreciates beautiful music... music in lightness and in darkness, a full spectrum of spirituality where the musicians become one, bound by the music they create. There is just no way you cannot be touched by their performance.
I have seen Sumerland perform live many times over the years. The first time I saw their performance was at EJ's back in 1998, and I was so impressed that I have followed their journeys from that point on. I felt as if Dorien were channeling the deep vocals of Jim Morrison himself... and that the entire band was capable of magic. How true that all now seemed to be as I watched them take the stage on this very special night.
Clouds of mist from the smoke machine pours from above the band, as if to settle over the exalted city that Dorien sings of. "Rejoice! Rejoice!" Blessings abound and circle the club in feathers and bells. Wafting scents of licorice and spices tantalize all of the senses. Glorious! Dorien sings my favorites from Sivo: Circle Dance, Morpheus and, of course, Glorious. Marshall is a man possessed on keyboards lit by soft candlelight, while the ever mysterious Enrique keeps the rhythm flowing with such an array of percussion that his unique sound can never be duplicated. This unity that Sumerland creates seems to flow from David's bass... he makes it all seem so effortless as he stands tall in the smokey shadows. Sumerland plays as one. These musicians know each other, and rightfully so since their line-up has remained almost unchanged since the performance I witnessed back in 1998.
Dorien strums his 12-string acoustic guitar... reverberating... his deep voice so enchanting, and then for a moment, he and Enrique switch roles. Dorien takes over on percussion, and Enrique croons a beautiful Spanish love song, Sancte Sangre, for the perfect encore.
What a spectacular performance celebrating this magical new cd, Sivo!
The show has now ended - but the celebration is not over. A pinata is burst and its contents fly over the diverse crowd. Condoms and mints and treats abound!
The stage is cleared and congratulations are in order... but then something happens. Something I do not expect.
Two silver metal bowls are set on the stage and set aflame. The lights dim and Enrique's side project, Soriah, is about to begin. A bongo player and Enrique take the stage. Only this was not Enrique. This was Soriah, a mystical creature clad in a feather headdress and adorned with face paint and black stitches around the mouth and eyes.
Enrique begins to sing, but this is like nothing I have ever heard before. This voice did not come from Enrique, it seemed to come up from the center of the earth and up through Enriques' body. Deep guttural chants that you can feel rumbling through your heart as if it will burst from the intensity. I have visions of a campfire in the desert under the blackest sky. A sky that even the stars forsake... If you stare into that fire, the visions that the flames make as they dance into the sky is Soriah. Terrifying and beautiful. And now it seems that Dante's is the Inferno once again.
This magical night is only
the beginning for Sumerland. As I wish them well and thank them for
the blessings of the night, I silently thank them for that slice of heaven
and I look forward to what the future will hold for Sumerlands' journey.
Sumerland Set List:
1. Bygones to the New heaven
4. Circle Dance
5. Morpheus (Repraise)
7. Exalted City
9. The Moon is in the Gutter
10. Crimson Tree
2. Sancte Sangre
Look for Sumerland's CD SIVO from Middle Pillar Presents
March 31st 2001
~By Rev. Alexavier Strangerz 23.3~
It seems that spring will be coming early every year down In the south! Storming onto the scene with an Intensity that almost rivaled that of GOTHCON (held three weeks prior In New Orleans) Forbidden 2001, managed to lure 700 freaks of all kinds to come together, dance, see, be seen, and basically put Tulsa on the underground map. Be sure to check out the monthly event Info at our club section, or go visit Strangegirl productions, to read about Revolution. In the mean time here is a run down of this event that had people talking for months afterwards.
Believe it or not, there are places in the world where Fetish, and Goth/Industrial, DO NOT go hand and hand!!! Mainly the Midwest!
HOW? With massive techno beats that have sexy samples, or the slower sultry rhythms that made rock n roll not very respected with you're average bible-belt Inhabitant. Gothic Rock, Dark Electronic, and EBM (or IDM/Post Industrial Dance) are the perfect choices for the dark yet flirtatious mood that one needs to do a good fetish ball.
If anybody knows this fact, It would be Jack and Julie of Strangegirl Productions. After several months of planning and tweaking, Forbidden was unleashed, and the word caught like a prairie fire In a windstorm.
With Dj Robbo (Tulsa, OK) Dj Virus (Dallas, TX) and the dynamic duo of Scary Lady Sarah, and Carrie Monster (The best Kisses Chi-town could possibly send). The music was going to be taken care of par excellence, and it looked as a steady rotation of styles was guaranteed.
The venue was a club on 'The
Other Side' of a Tulsa Comedy Club. This Theatre sized room is very
large, and had plenty of different areas to wander around meeting new friends
(or losing sight of current ones). The In house sound was suspended
and well proportioned, not to loud, yet present.
There were vendors of home made gear, and the tee shirt ladies who were very nice too! Everybody was really nice, and some patrons were from outside the normal Gothic/Industrial scene. They just could not stay away after seeing the ads, and hearing the buzz. A dress code helped them not wander In with sideways b-ball caps or tan Dockers though. This made all feel welcome, and comfortable amongst the leather clad, and barely clad fetish patrons.
Extras Included; TSD, a flesh hook suspension team, a fashion show featuring Skin Two, and some video artist that were doing work to display on the Internet.
The video artist, who were well versed in the art of getting Interaction from the show goers; Always had 2, 3, or more participants doing various fun, mostly dressed, things for the camera. This helped break the tension with the less exhibitionistic within the fold.
This was an 18+ event to boot. So the dance floor was always packed with those willing to dance to newer and varied styles of dance music. That was a big bonus in my book. IT wasn't that classics were not played; I even caught Scary Lady S getting down to one! I love DJ's who dance as well. Everyone was in a great mood, and flirtation amongst the audience was a guaranteed thing.
There was only a minor flaw with the timing as the event also featured many 'stage shows'. Fashion displays from Skin Two - London, Lip Service - Los Angeles, and Vex Clothing - Chicago, plus the live performances from TSD suspension team, and Masuimi Max (fetish model / contortionist).
It was way worth it though.
Dj Virus was handling the backing music for most of the stage Items, and
did a great job, even if it did make DJ timing awkward. The mixtures
of harder dance styles (Robbo, Virus) and the Gothic, Darkwave, and swirly
music (Scary Lady Sarah, and Carrie Monster) was quite contrasting.
With all the stage show extra's there was something for everyone. My swinging
pictures of TSD are not really enough to do justice for the visual stimulation
of Men hanging from wires run through their own skin. I did get photos
from the Tulsa Gothic site, and the suspension.org site.
Yet the thing that impressed me was the duo of hanging artist. Not just hanging still, and calm, but swinging, spinning, jumping, and even having a girlfriend climb on for a round. Like the Flying Dutchman, yet the chair is a man hanging on wires!
Back to the music:
I was lucky enough to record one of the Carrie Monster and Scary Lady Sarah sets. Wow, what talents! If you ever had any doubt about going to Chicago to see these wonders spin, set them aside, It Is worth the ride. You can go to the club section to find out more on both of them. Or to http://www.gothicchicago.com/ where there are links and Info a plenty about the dark side of Chicago.
Special thanks also to DJ Virus, who gave me a mix CD of his work. All one beautiful track. He commanded some great space, waltzing In with a cowboy hat, and mega-phone. I talked with him some about Dallas. Since his normal venue (the Church) is not as Into the continually mixed Synth-pop/Trance/EBM he let It all loose on Forbidden. Robbo did some special mixes too, making a unique flavor since beat mixing Is not necessarily a standard In this scene, but a nice extra.
To recap, this event was a total success, and a great place for those of us In the Midwest who may not have been able to get to Gothcon, or who may have had post convention blues, and wanted to go to another Gothic/Fetish lifestyle friendly event. Whatever your reason for attending, It does not matter, Jack, Julie, Rainbow, and all the great staff and Dj's Involved with Forbidden will be ready to take care of you. I will be back In a few months to give an up close report on Revolution. A monthly night held at the same space. Stay tuned!
More pictures and Info at
the following links: