Baby Fiend
Release the Bats – Que Sera
Long Beach, CA
November 22, 2002
~review and photos by Blu

Baby Fiend is Sonya Fiend - a one time Ghoulschool door girl and an always prominent figure in the Hollywood deathrock scene. Everyone seems to know Sonya and loves her so it was not a huge surprise to find Release the Bats absolutely PACKED for her first performance as Baby Fiend. The amazing thing was that it filled up well before 11pm with a more-eclectic than usual mixture of who's who in the California scene. Eye candy was everywhere and the stage was tantalizingly draped in a mysterious white sheet. An unusual but oddly appropriate quote from Milton adorned the front in ghoulishly precise scrawl hinting at what was to come. It read: "Into this wild abyss the wary fiend stood on the brink of hell and looked a while."

A little back history might be necessary for you dear readers to truly appreciate this performance. Without getting into too many personal details Sonya Fiend is nothing short of hero to me. She has, single handedly, taken her life into her own hands and shaped what was a seemingly dire and hopeless situation and re-made herself for the better. So many people talk of making these changes but Sonya actually did them. She took charge of her life in a big way and although I miss seeing her smiling face at the door at Ghoulschool I am so proud of what she is accomplishing that I don't complain. Earlier in 2002, if I recall correctly, she had a conversation with one Mr. Yellow from the delightful band Cinema Strange in which she confessed her secret desire to sing. Yellow gave her some short but firm advice: if you really want to do it you should go for it. (I'm sure he worded it better than that but that's the gist of it). Idea in hand, new can-do attitude propelling her and off she goes. She's made up her mind to be singer. Sound a bit ambitious? Don't underestimate a fiend.

Some short time later I hear she's already *recording* with no other than the tribal drumming legend - Ray Mondo (of Ritual/Death Cult / Sex Gang Children fame) who is serving as her producer and I think to myself, "when this girl makes up her mind to do something, she goes all the way!" Fast forward another couple months and at one occurrence of Release the Bats she hands me a promo EP with a slick cover designed by Mark Splatter and announces that she'll be performing at Bats soon.  Wow. Now that's called getting it done. From idea, to recording, to performing in less than a year.

Fast forward again to November 22nd, nearly midnight and I can hardly breath in the standing-room only capacity of Release the Bats. People are already pressed up against the stage and as far back as the bar eagerly wondering what is behind the curtain. All the Release the Bat and Ghoulschool regulars are there plus members of Cinema Strange, Element, Frankenstein and Tragic Black. Most notable however is the presence of Gitane DeMone and Ray Mondo who've no doubt come specifically to see Sonya's first performance along with a huge assortment of people I've never seen out before that I can only assume are friends and acquaintances that Sonya has equally impressed with her ambition.

There's movement behind the curtain, lights flickers and the drape comes down to reveal a bizarre Garden of Eden. The stage is covered with a strange, glowing assortment of things: two mannequins - one whole and dressed up in what seems to be a reminder of bad fashion from the 80s and the other missing an arm but having at least five legs that are striped in fluorescent paint like some beautiful alien - set among colorful tropical flowers and even more body parts with snakes weaving here and there out of the pile. A sign pinned to one mannequin reads "Evolution" and on the other are the words, "Dare to Change." Behind that are four white panels draped down the walls each with inspirational quotes:

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world" - Mahatma Gahndi
"Virtue is internal beauty and beauty external virtue" - Francis Bacon
"War can still settle problems but it can only settle them the wrong way" - Bertrand Russell
"Man is not who he is and is who he is not" - Jean Paul Sartre

On stage are two chairs and lone mic. No band tonight. Tonight Sonya is facing the crowd as a lone vocalist with some backing tracks. Not exactly an easy order to fill; not an ideal way to do the show and quite possibly the first time something like this has been done at RTBs but it's a compromise she's comfortable with and brave enough to do in order to conquer the inevitable getting your feet wet. Sonya takes the stage in a pink jacket (the word “evolve” clearly visible), a pressed button down striped shirt and form fitting long black skirt looking like a stylish school marm re-made into Siouxsie.  On the bottom of her skirt is the word “Benevolence.” Accompanying her are two male dancers and thank god for that. I’m so tired of seeing bimbos on stage with nothing but thongs and electric tape (see my review of Seraphim Shock) that it’s about time there was a little equal opportunity voyeurism – and in this case, a little artsy culture. They are dressed in strange fluorescent rags and boots with stylized makeup. They too have messages for us: “Follow Your Heart” and “Have Faith.”

The music ques up and from that point on it’s a whirlwind in my mind. The boys do precise choreographed dances and sometimes use props like umbrellas, the chairs, and bowls of flower petals that they lavish on the crowd. And Sonya, well, she’s off like she’s a seasoned pro. As much faith as I had in her, I was still shocked at how *well* she took command of the stage and made it her own. She was dramatic and dynamic – moving all over, singing to people, and inviting them in. She had more stage presence than 80% of the bands I saw last year. The pink jacket comes off at some point and she reminds me even more of Siouxsie -- her face full of expression and meaning. Later the shirt comes off revealing a lace top and Sonya’s looking less and less like a school marm by each song. By the end of the set the skirt’s gone too leaving garters and under things much to the delight of the crowd while Sonya smirk knowingly and says, “This is what you were waiting for wasn’t it?”  She sings the songs from the EP that I’m familiar with – “Rain Your Love” and “Isolation” and a clear favorite – “Ties That Bind” which received wild applause as the first notes ring out. There must have been other songs that night but no set list was to be had. Her voice was strong and clear and full of animation and to all that was there that night, it was very apparent that she has what it takes to be a performer. At the end, the crowd roared with approval and Sonya, blushing with watery eyes thanked everyone for supporting her. Afterwards the crowd consumed her – hugs and well wishes from friends were abundant and even some flowers.

Watching the crowd gather around the humble star of the night, seeing the smiles  and reading over the words on the back walls again; I got teary eyed. Here were so many positive feelings and energy from a person who had, in the past, every reason to hate life. Here were words of hope and kindness and bravery. And this – this good-natured support that allows people to strive for and accomplish their dreams – is what the scene that I love is all about. I hear she’s putting together a band for future performances. I can’t WAIT to see what she shows us next. Cheers Sonya!

see all of the photos from this show

Release the Bats:


Saturnalia IV
God Module
Passion Play
Claire Voyant
Rachael's Surrender
The Ordo Templi Orientis
Bunny Peculiar
MC Scary Lady Sarah
...and a DJ cast of thousands.
Centrum Halls, Chicago
Saturday December 14 2002
~review and photos by Uncle Nemesis

This isn't going to be a normal review. I suspect it'll turn into a cross between those 'What I did on my holidays' essays my English teacher used to make me write at school, one of the tall tales you'll read on, and selected scenes from 'Spinal Tap: The Goth  Years'. All I can do is simply tell the story...

In a world where goth-scene promoters seem to come and go like the tides, it's unusual to find an outfit which has hung around for any great length of time.  But if somebody ever struck a medal for long-term service to the fractious subculture that is goth, it would instantly be won by Scary Lady Sarah's American Gothic Productions of Chicago.

American Gothic Productions' regular weekly club night, Nocturna, has been operating without a break for fifteen years now, which makes it the longest-running goth club anywhere in the world. That's some record. The club isn't AGP's only venture, however. There's also the Sunday night fetish extravaganza, Whiplash, and many years' worth of live shows by just about every goth-related band you can think of. And then there's the reason we're in Chicago today: the lavish end-of-year party that is Saturnalia.

Saturnalia counts as a relatively new addition to the Chicago scene-calendar. It started only four years ago, but already it's well established as a 'must-play' event for bands around the world. Bella Morte, Inkubus Sukkubus, Faith & The Muse, Element, and Angels & Agony are among the acts which have appeared in previous years. It's also become a 'must-attend' event for the denizens of Chicago's underground - because it's not just another festival. It's a wild party to which everyone's invited.

This year, we've been invited. That's 'we' as in Bunny Peculiar, former Woman of Sodom turned performance poet, and Uncle Nemesis, former promoter turned...well, on-line journalist, I suppose, if my ramblings for StarVox can be dignified by such a term. Also on the Saturnalia bill - and also on our plane to the USA - are the UK's rising stars, Passion Play. Except that Passion Play are much more of an international band these days, rather than simply a UK act. Later this year, Justin, the band's founder member, intends to relocate to Germany. That's a far more practical base for future progress than the UK, which hardly counts as a blip on the radar in international goth-scene terms these days. Mattias, the band's bassist, already lives in Germany, and will be making his own way to Chicago via a circuitous route involving three changes of plane in three countries, and 18 hours in the air. Rather him than me!

Although the UK contingent only has to contend with an 8-hour direct flight from London, we nevertheless arrive in Chicago feeling as grey as United Airlines' livery. Fortunately, Chicago is mild, the air is clear, and we soon perk up with a feeling of anticipation as the last few days before the big event are crossed off the calendar. The build-up to Saturnalia is well under way, and most of it seems to be on Scary Lady Sarah's kitchen table. Invitations, laminates, brochures and advance orders are piled high, and Sarah herself is spending every spare moment wrapping up the arrangements for the event. I'm surprised that she's doing so much of the work herself - much of it seems to be fairly straightforward admin stuff which anyone could do, given some basic background info. When the chief executive of American Gothic Productions is spending the small hours of the night slaving over a hot photocopier down at the 24-hour copy shop instead of getting some much-needed sleep, that surely counts as a little hint that some help is needed! But then, I used to do all the same stuff myself when I was a promoter. It goes with the territory, I suppose. Behind the glitz of the show lie many sleepless nights of hard graft, and it takes a tough cookie to handle it. Maybe we've discovered one of the reasons why so few promoters seem to stick around long-term!

It's also frequently true that behind the glitz of the show lie many hassles, problems, and freak-outs, and one of these is just about to land on Saturnalia. The day before the show, Mattias phones in from Germany: the first flight of his three-leg marathon journey to Chicago has been cancelled. There are 24 hours to go before he's due to walk out on stage with the band, and he's stuck on the other side of the planet! After a few hours of trawling through plane timetables it becomes obvious that there's no way he can use his existing ticket on an alternative flight and still get to Chicago in time for the show. The only thing to do is bite the bullet and spend a frighteningly huge wedge of cash on an entirely new ticket which will get Mattias to the show on time - just!  He'll arrive barely in time to do the soundcheck, play the set, grab a few hours' sleep, and fly straight out again. He'll probably feel like he's been dragged through several time zones backwards, but he'll make it, the show will go on, and nobody will ever know there was a problem. That's showbiz!

And then it's the day of the show. The hours before doors-open time count down relentlessly, even as the number of last-minute chores which simply *must* be done seem to multiply. Mattias arrives, telling horror stories of his full-scale search by airport security, who seemed convinced that the only reason anyone would enter the USA for just one day must be to commit terrorist acts. After all the hard work and hassle, it surely counts as a minor miracle to get everyone safely inside the venue, ready to set up. By the time we arrive in mid-afternoon, headliners God Module have finished their soundcheck and disappeared somewhere, and the other bands are just arriving. We have a clear hour or so to sort out Passion Play. Well, that should be easy enough.

Because Saturnalia is not held in a regular live music venue, there is no in-house sound equipment. The PA is all temporary gear, brought in by a rental company who have, apparently, supplied previous AGP events. Passion Play and entourage cast critical eyes over the equipment: the rented backline seems OK, but little alarm bells start to ring in our heads as we look over the rest of the system. It seems...well, rather small for such a large hall, and it's clear Justin isn't massively impressed with the monitors. With only four small wedges on stage (two at the front, one for the drums, and another floating randomly in the middle) it looks minimal to the point of being inadequate. Still, if those wedges can chuck out a good punchy sound, it should be OK. We hope!

I had vaguely assumed that a few backline roadies would be in evidence at the venue, to help set up the basic stuff and wield the gaffa tape, but this doesn't appear to be so. I look around for the crew, expecting to clock a bunch of geezers with Maglites hung off their belts waiting to get stuck in, but no such merry bunch can be seen. The only sound-tech person in the entire place is the engineer who comes with the PA (presumably in his own flight case). And, not to put too fine a point on it, the rental company haven't exactly sent the A-team. The engineer seems worryingly vague, bumbling half-heartedly around while wearing an expression of bland disinterest, and only showing signs of animation when he makes calls on his mobile phone - which he does with suspicious frequency. Elsewhere, there's another random bod wandering about carrying bundles of cables. This, it turns out, is the lighting tech. The rented lighting rig is a basic four-channel affair which surely shouldn't take too much brain-ache to set up, but our man seems to be making absurdly heavy weather of it. I sit to one side and watch him puzzling over the tricky problem of connecting one lead to another, all the while fighting the urge to march over to him, elbow him out of the way, and say, 'Look, you dozy twit, let *me* do it, or we'll be here all day!'

By now the alarm bells in our heads are ringing somewhat more loudly. If *this* is the Saturnalia technical crew, it's going to be an interesting night...

And it gets more interesting very quickly. Passion Play set themselves up on stage and prepare to make some noise. To boost the on-stage sound, the band's amps are piled up like a rock 'n' roll Stonehenge. Can't trust those monitors.There's a constant buzz of interference coming from somewhere. Is it the bass amp? Nope, it's probably the lights, which are plugged in to the same power circuit as the PA. If the Centrum was a proper gig venue it would have separate circuits for sound-power and lighting-power, thus removing any chance of interference, but it isn't and it doesn't. I wonder if I should suggest running out an extension lead, and powering the lights from a socket in another room, which in a building this size would presumably be on a different circuit. It's an old trick but I've known it to work. However, the thought of trying to explain this idea to the gormless lighting tech doesn't appeal, so I sit tight. In any case, there are other problems: Justin's effects unit, which he's brought with him from the UK, won't work on 110 volts. Has anyone thought to bring a transformer to step up the power to 230v? Never mind, we'll get the sound engineer to sort it. Hang on - has anyone seen the sound engineer? Cue instant crisis. Where is the sound engineer? He's gone!

In the middle of the soundcheck, just when he's needed to fix a veritable deli-tray of technical hitches, the engineer had simply put on his coat and left the building. The gormless lighting tech volunteers the information that he's 'gone to pick up his mum'. Is he coming back? Yeah, sometime later. What? LATER? Jaws hit the floor all over the room. It's now only two hours till doors-open, there are four bands to soundcheck through a gimcrack PA system that's buzzing like a wasp's nest, the monitors look like they've come free with a breakfast cereal, nobody seems to have taken care of details like voltage transformers so essential bits of kit can't even be plugged in - and now the engineer has walked out! If anyone was planning on having a nervous breakdown, this would seem to be the opportune moment.

I have to leave the room at this point, and go for a walk around the bar area. I just can't bear to sit there and watch the entire show fall to bits before it's even started. If this had been a Nemesis Promotions event, I think I would've taken myself outside with my service revolver and done the decent thing. Eventually, I find enough courage to peek into the main hall once more - and I discover that Saturnalia's fairy godmother has arrived.

I'm sure Sam Rosenthal of Projekt didn't expect to be the technical saviour of Saturnalia. He'd only come along to see Audra, who are on his label. But in the absence of anyone else, he steps up to the mixing desk and makes it all happen. The bassist from Rachael's Surrender appoints himself backline roadie, and he and Sam figure out what kit is plugged into what channel, what works, and what doesn't. Someone sends out to the rental company for a voltage transformer, and Justin gets to plug in his effects. All of a sudden - we've got a soundcheck!

It's a tall order to soundcheck all the bands within the time available, and it's pretty clear that the doors will open late - but at least the show will happen. Only a short time previously this had looked very doubtful. Passion Play whip through one and a half songs, and Claire Voyant,  Audra, and Rachael's Surrender get hasty but under the circumstances adequate run-throughs. The other performers, Bunny Peculiar and the O.T.O. squad, don't need soundchecks, being just spoken-word vocals. It would be nice to get five minutes on the mic just to set a level, but that notion went out of the window very early on. What the hell, they'll all wing it. In the midst of all this activity the sound engineer bumbles back in, having presumably taken care of his pressing domestic chores. We are then treated to the amusing spectacle of Scary Lady Sarah doing a verbal demolition job on him, while he stands there, gob hanging open, looking like someone's just hit him round the head with a wet fish. Guess who won't be getting paid tonight?

And then it's doors-open time. A miracle! I thought we'd never get there! While the soundcheck stress-fest has been under way in the main hall, other members of the Saturnalia crew have been quietly getting on with their own tasks elsewhere in the building. Downstairs, there's a  DJ room festooned with drapes and fairy lights, and a dungeon which looks suspiciously like it's been converted from someone's office. Well, there are a few scenarios which could be acted out of *that*, I'm sure. The DJs crank up, the bar staff brace themselves for the onslaught, and all of a sudden the venue is filled with the denizens of Chicago's underground, costumed to the nines and ready to party. It's showtime!

Rachael's Surrender stride onto the stage with an apparent confidence I suspect they don't really feel, given all the soundcheck shennanigans. They're probably secretly praying that nothing goes horribly wrong over the next 30 minutes. Aren't we all! They're local heroes, of a sort: it seems the band has been around for a good long while on the Chicago scene, in various line-ups based around guitarist and founder-member Reuben. The line-up we see before us tonight is new. The big change, I'm told, is the introduction of a female singer. (Who, I'm afraid, I cannot introduce to you. I tried to check her name on the band's website - never let it be said that I don't do my research! - but with impeccable timing, the entire site has been taken down. Duh!) The singer's identity might be a mystery, but she's a fine asset for the band - in fact, I can't envisage how they managed without her. She has great stage presence, and conveys exactly the kind of enthusiasm we need to get the party started. She also has a wonderfully clear, controlled voice, which sits just right in the band's chunky pop. Occasionally, she brings out a violin, and weaves a little melody around the spiky guitar, bass 'n' drum machine noise. On one song, we get a brief glimpse of old-skool Rachael's Surrender, as the guitarist takes a vocal. It's a fast, punky number (Rachael's Surrender go Dead Kennedys?) but his singing style has more enthusiasm than skill. It's quite a relief when the female singer resumes her place at the mic. Whatever the past history of Rachael's Surrender might be, I think this is *the* line-up: they deserve to become more than just a Chicago-scene phenomenon over the coming year.

We're still only about an hour into the event, but already there's an air of wild, booze-fuelled hedonism building up. In the UK, getting riotously pissed is part and parcel of a normal night out, but one of the differences I've observed between the US and UK scenes is that people simply don't drink as much at US clubs and gigs. Saturnalia seems to be the exception to that rule - everybody's hell-bent on getting as much alcohol inside them as possible, in the shortest possible time. The reason for this uncharacteristic Bacchanalian excess isn't hard to find. Saturnalia invitations cost $30, which not only covers the bands, the DJs, and the dungeon - it also entitles everyone to as much booze as they can sink. The American expression for this is 'open bar'. I suspect the British equivalent would be something along the lines of: 'Wahey! Let's get stuck in!' At any rate, it seems everyone is intent on drinking their full $30-worth, and then some. Quite a few punters seem to have figured out that if they drink more than $30 worth of booze, the evening effectively becomes free from that point on. If they're still standing, that is...

For those of us who haven't already drunk ourselves horizontal, it's time for the second band. Before Saturnalia, the sum total of my knowledge of Audra was this: they're on the Projekt label. Rightly or wrongly, when the P-word is mentioned in the UK, we tend to think of swirly-girly ethereal; delicate female vocals, precisely-plucked acoustic guitars, swooning keyboards. I'm therefore taken aback to find that Audra are a bunch of new-wavey looking blokes who kick up a robust racket. Definitely a rock band. Put all those notions of 'ethereal' on hold right now. Can Audra be summed up in one word? Hmmm. Not really, but if I were to try, I might venture 'Bowie-esque'. It's good stuff, very British in a way; the songs lock themselves into solid, no-messing rhythms while the guitar splinters and skitters over the top. The vocals are strong: I can imagine the singer propping up the same bar as Nick Cave.

It has to be said that the band looks fairly ordinary - in fact, the contrast between the dressed-up crowd and the dressed-down bands is quite noticeable all night. But Audra's prosaic alternoboys-next-door image is particularly odd given the elaborate artwork which they use on their CDs. Even their set list bears a pastel-green background pic and has been carefully singed around the edge to represent an old parchment. I like this attention to detail - especially as it's obviously something the band are doing for themselves, since set lists aren't intended for the public to see (unless the public steals them off the stage after the show, of course!) But why does this consideration of the visuals not extend to the appearance of the band themselves? God forbid that Audra should feel obliged to dress up like Nosferatu or something, but a sharp shirt or two wouldn't go amiss. But hey. I quibble. Audra delivered a punchy, energetic set, the audience liked them - and I thought they were a bit of all right myself.

Nobody's quite sure what the time is, and in any case the original schedule went overboard long ago, but Bunny Peculiar is lined up to do her brief interlude of near- (neo?) poetry next. The only trouble is, Sam on the mixing desk doesn't know about this, until he's accosted by a strange woman with polkadots in her hair, insisting that she's on stage any minute. 'Uh...if you say so,' says Sam. In fact there's another interlude before the interlude, as it were. Scary Lady Sarah jumps up to officially welcome us all to Saturnalia, and give us all a party-on pep talk. I'm impressed by her ability to remain positive and upbeat, just like all earlier hassles had never happened. It must take huge reserves of willpower to get on stage and sparkle for the audience when you're operating on a combination of stress, overwork, and sleep deprivation, but Sarah manages it. What a trouper. The audience cheers, and I cheer along with them.

And then it's time for Chicago to get its collective head round the poetic strangeness of Bunny Peculiar. Slightly to my surprise, she doesn't get heckled, bottled off, or - the unkindest cut of all - ignored. People actually pay attention, which is really quite gratifying, especially as Bunny P's material isn't exactly loaded with attention-grabbing hooks and rhymes. It's all ideas and images, thrown out like kitchen cleaner from one of those squirty guns. The stuff which gets the best response seems to be anything that has a certain rhythm, or at least a staccato, punctuated, emphasis in which certain lines and words are hit hard. That's the material which really hits home with this rock 'n' roll audience. The imagery seems to strike a chord, too. At any rate, there are a few laughs of recognition along the way, especially when Bunny P. gets on to the one about farting. If in doubt, give 'em something about bodily functions! This was a baptism of fire, in a way: a relatively large event with an audience more interested in partying than poetry. But the reaction was good. There's definitely something here which works...

The bizarre contrast between the dressed-up crowd in all their finery, and the dressed-down ordinariness of the bands is emphasised once again as the three members of Claire Voyant arrive on stage. The music is provided by two chaps in easy-to-wear casuals, who play keyboards and guitar. Centre stage, a female vocalist in a neat jacket and reassuringly sensible shoes provides the focal point. To be blunt, there's not much in the visual excitement department here, but when the singer gets going her voice is so arresting you can almost forget the fact that she's dressed like an amiable schoolteacher. Her voice is powerful, but she doesn't just belt out the songs: she gets inside them and really brings the lyrics to life. The band's musical forte seems to be precise, neat, tunes which strike a balance between grit and gloss. The name of Garbage has been dropped as a comparison: I'm not sure if that's really relevant, for Garbage always seem to me to be all production and no humanity, while Claire Voyant seem to have the knack of creating music which can both pull you in and shake you up. I'd suggest they're a band which repays listening at home, since in all honesty they don't have a spectacular stage show, but they get a good audience reaction and I'm happy to have seen them. Must check out the CDs now.

After the Claire Voyant's set, there's time to take a quick trip to the DJ floor, where CarrieMonster is playing Goteki. It sounds very strange to hear Sneaky's splendidly camp English vocals booming out of a dancefloor PA in Chicago, but long may this cross-fertilisation of scene-culture continue. That's the way to move onwards and upwards! I glance into the dungeon, which appears to be full of people in black leather having polite conversations with each other. Conversations? Where's the debauchery? I'm suddenly confronted by a girl in an alarming corset, her breasts cantilevered over the top in a manner which surely redefines the basic principles of civil engineering, not to mention gravity. Ah, *there's* the debauchery! I make my excuses and leave, because it's time to witness the Ordo Templi Orientis gang doing their showbiz ritual on the stage upstairs.

What is the Ordo Templi Orientis? My extensive research (yep, I looked at another website) reveals this handy thumbnail sketch: ' Outer Thelemic Order which is dedicated to the high purpose of securing the Liberty of the Individual and his or her advancement in Light, Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, and Power through Beauty, Courage, and Wit, on the Foundation of Universal Brotherhood.'  So now we know. Should you wish to investigate further, the web is loaded with many more explanations of, and dissertations on, the O.T.O. Most of them are brain-numbingly incomprehensible, and many seem to disagree with each other. Hmm, sounds a bit like the goth scene to me. Aleister Crowley comes in to it somewhere, but then he would, wouldn't he. (Hey! It *is* the goth scene!)

Tonight, certain members of the Chicago branch of this curious organisation have painted themselves red, donned outlandish masks, and loom dramatically on stage under red lights. They perform assorted rituals, the purpose of which frankly escapes me. They banish something, and summon something else: I did have a leaflet about it, but I left it in Chicago. As sheer spectacle, it's undeniably eye-catching, and on that level at least, it works. The participants in the ritual seem to be having fun, anyway. But it's about time we had another band, so bring on...Passion Play!

Lights, smoke, action, they're on stage. I'm sure Passion Play would've liked their debut show in the USA to have been a little less fraught with freak-outs, but you'd never know anything had gone less than swimmingly as they pitch into their set. This line-up of the band is still only two gigs (and about four rehearsals) old, but there seems to be that weird but essential chemistry between the five musicians which means it all just *works*. Mattias whacks at the bass just like he's not suffering from near-terminal jet lag, Doug powers the drums along like a ryhthm-turbine, and Justin and John hammer their guitars up front.

I'm struck by the thought that this is the only band on the Saturnalia bill which has simply come out and steamed into a full-tilt *rock* set; the only band whose music exhibits a clear line of descent from that all-purpose ancestor of goth: yer actual punk rock. It's there in the energy, the speed, the way the songs crash-land on each other as the set thunders along. But there's melody and neat pop touches in there, too, and even though Passion Play are probably utterly unknown to most of the Saturnalia crowd, the songs are so accessible it doesn't take long before a bunch of instant fans are dancing away up by the stage.

The soundmix is surprisingly good, given that the soundcheck was such a grim experience, but I can tell that the PA is being pushed to its limits in order to get a decent out-front level. It's been whacked up so high there's a layer of distortion over everything - not too apparent from the middle of the hall, but when I get up close to the speaker stacks to loose off a few photos, the presence of the distortion (and the absence of any real *volume*) becomes obvious. What is this rig, 4k at a guess? It's basically a small club PA in a big hall, and it's struggling to put enough sound into the air. Passion Play take on the limitations of the PA and win, but I can't help feeling aggrieved on their behalf (and, indeed, on behalf of all the bands) that the technical side of things is so flimsy.

Curfew time is looming over us now, so God Module are rushed on stage as quickly as possible. They're here to represent the dance-floor tendency: they're a stomp-and-chant industrial/EBM duo of a type that has become quite common over the last few years. The beats hit hard, little synth-lines dance over the top, and the vocals are a distorted holler. It has to be said that God Module aren't exactly out on a creative limb: there's *so* much of this stuff around these days that they can't help but sound like they're simply leafing through the industrial-dance genre-rulebook. After all, one 'Huuurrgh! Huuurrgh! Huuurrgh!' vocal sounds much like another, and given the presence on the scene of such outfits as Aslan Faction, Void Construct, and Saints Of Eden (to mention only three UK-based bands who make more or less the same noise) I can't quite see what God Module's unique selling point might be.

Still, they launch into a rumbustious set, and at least the distortion which the PA slaps over everything isn't so noticeable here - it's impossible to tell where God Module's intentional distortion ends, and the PA's distortion begins.  It's obvious that the band aren't having a happy time: the monitor mix is all wrong. It's biased towards the two wedges at the back of the stage, which isn't much use for a two-piece band stationed at the front of the stage. Frequent requests to fix the problem go unheeded - Sam Rosenthal has taken a break from his unofficial soundmix duties, and the desk is now manned by the slack-jawed incompetent who came with the PA, for whom the notion of pushing a couple of sliders up and down seems to be an insurmountable technical challenge. God Module plough on regardless, and in spite of everything they attract a bunch of enthusiastic fans to the front. It looks like they might get away with it...until weird interruptions start breaking out in the music. The band have all their backing on CD, which is spinning in a little CD Walkman down on the stage. As God Module's singer stomps about, the stage is shaking so much that the inevitable occurs - the CD starts to skip. Every time this happens, the singer pauses and casts an exasperated glance to the heavens, but *this* problem can't be blamed on the PA. It's self-inflicted. This is why God gave us DAT!

God Module's blushes are spared, however, by the sudden illumination of the house lighting. It's 3am, curfew time. The band have only managed three songs, but the show's over. It's obviously not the way God Module would've liked to finish, and not the way Saturnalia itself should have finished, but I can't help feeling slightly relieved that this stressful and occasionally chaotic night has wound down at last.

Except there's no time for winding down. The venue management suddenly remember that they have a Sunday booking for the main hall, which means that rather than leaving the gear in situ to be collected later, as originally agreed, everything has to be loaded out, and fast. Just when we thought all the crazy last-minute fuck-abouts had been successfully seen comes another last-minute fuck-about!  I'm a little bemused to find that the precise arrangements for loading out have apparently not been enshrined in the venue rental contract, but whatever the situation, the venue management seem able to chop and change everything on a whim. Welcome to the chaos zone...again!

Well, what the hell. Now is not the time to raise delicate contractual points, so a scratch crew of band-members and random helper-outers, all in the throes of exhaustion and/or inebriation, is hastily assembled, and in a haphazard manner which at any other time would have amusingly recalled that classic Laurel and Hardy piano-on-the-staircase movie, the gear is humped and bumped down two flights of stairs to the erstwhile dungeon room. Here, apparently, it can be safely stored. Mattias looks like he's about to die of jetlag and post-gig comedown, but nevertheless he does his bit - shifting Passion Play's amps down the stairs, through a throng of fractious, pissed-up revellers whose booze-fogged brains are just about coming to terms with the fact that it's time to go home.

Outside, a small crowd of people mill about, saying their goodbyes, having drunken arguments with their significant others, or simply lying comatose on the ground. The demon drink has certainly hit some of them with a hefty wallop. One guy in pseudo-army fatigues is collapsed on the floor with his head in a bin, just in case he revives enough to vomit. Well, *he* won't make parade tomorrow. Someone's worried that he won't make it at all, so they call the fire brigade (this, apparently, is a perfectly logical thing to do in Chicago). A fire engine arrives, and the crew shoulder their way through the assembled perves and goths, and cast distinctly unimpressed glances at the human wreckage on the floor. I get the impression that rescuing drunken partygoers from their own foolishness wasn't exactly the kind of job they were expecting when they joined the Chicago Fire Department...

It's getting on for 5am before the aftermath of the show is finally wrapped up, and the Saturnalia crew - not least, Scary Lady Sarah herself -can leave the venue. It's been a crazy night, but all the problems and hassles were faced down or worked around, several hundred denizens of the Chicago underground had the best party of the year, and everyone involved can award themselves a pat on the back for successfully clinging on to the rollercoaster. It's all over. Surely nothing else can go wrong...can it?

It's then that Sarah discovers her car has been towed away.

The only appropriate response to this last-last-last minute fuck-up has to be helpless laughter. And so Saturnalia ends: with the promoter walking home through the winter-dark streets of Chicago, hoping to grab a few hours' sleep before her appointment at the car pound. Ah, the glamour of showbiz!

So, that was Saturnalia IV. Shall we do it all again in 2003, then? In spite of everything, I've had a good time, and so has Chicago. I hope there will be further Saturnalias, and they'll grow and develop in the years to come. But in future, let's do it *with* a technical crew!

[Postscript: We later discovered that the clueless sound engineer, who walked out of the soundcheck and didn't contribute much in the way of useful work even when he was around, *also* had his car towed. Karma always gets you in the end!]

see all the photos from this show here

God Module:

Passion Play:

Claire Voyant:


Rachael's Surrender:

Bunny Peculiar: No website (yet), but you can email her at: and see her in her previous incarnation as a Woman Of Sodom here:

The Ordo Templi Orientis in Chicago:

A fairly comprehensible (although not necessarily comprehensive) O.T.O. site, from which the quote in the text above is taken:

Try this O.T.O.-related site if you want to stretch your brain:

American Gothic Productions, promoters of Saturnalia IV:

The Gothic Chicago site - contains Chicago-scene info, and Saturnalia IV photos:

Projekt, on-line home of Saturnalia's technical saviour, Sam Rosenthal:

This was a true story (or at least, the bits I remember) - by Uncle Nemesis:

Descendants Of Cain
Waterglass Unhinged
The Order Of Azrael
The Verge, London
Sunday December 8 2002
~review and photos by Uncle Nemesis

The purple pub that is the Verge is an oasis of light and heat on this cold night. Inside, something a little different from the normal run of London gigs is taking place. The venue has been decorated with black drapes, DJ Dave Exile is knocking out the tunes, and there's quite a crowd building up. This is the Descendants Of Cain's album launch: a one-off special intended to focus attention on the band and the album - and give everyone a good night out into the bargain.

To open the proceedings, we have a rare sighting of The Order Of Azrael - a band that is in no danger of winning any awards as the hardest working men in showbiz. This is only the second gig they've played in well over two years, and their long-heralded album still only exists as a handful of promotional CD-Rs (the official release now seems scheduled for summer 2003). Nice website, mind, which is always a plus point, of course - but are they all website and no band?

As it turns out, The Order Of Azrael do a convincing job of kicking up a real-life racket. The sound is rich and dense, rolling out over the audience like smoke. Two guitars do the riff-and-detail thing, while the bass alternately churns and crunches. The vocals are essentially a downbeat croon - I'm not sure if this is intentional, or whether the vocalist is more or less forced into this style because he's not altogether familiar with his own songs. If he didn't have to read his lyrics from a book propped up on the monitor maybe he'd holler it out a bit more! The proceedings are enlivened on certain songs when bassist takes up an amusingly gimmicky instrument with little blue LEDs let into the fretboard. At these moments, he looks incongruously like he's auditioning for Goteki. His bass sound is pleasingly punchy, although the backing-track drums tend to get a little lost in the murk, which means that sometimes the songs don't quite have the heavy-duty rhythmic foundation they really need. Overall, it's a good solid rock noise, but it's clear that the band aren't quite in the swing of live performances. At times they seem hesitant, cautious, carefully picking their way through songs which they don't know quite as well as they should. There's potential here, but I think The Order Of Azrael need to shake themselves down on the gig circuit before we'll see what they can really do.

Tonight, Waterglass appear before us in 'Unhinged' form. This translates into a three-piece line-up (with only Aidan, Andrew, and Victoria on stage), drastically re-arranged songs, and lots of instrument-swapping. Straight off this provides a neat contrast with The Order Of Azrael: ringing the changes like this is something a band can do only if they know their songs inside out and they're entirely at home in front of an audience. It also underlines the point that Waterglass are that rare thing - a totally live band. No backing tracks here! If Waterglass want to play their songs cocktail jazz style, or launch into ramalama punk frenzies, then they'll do exactly that. But this isn't just an opportunity to mess about with new arrangements: the band have obviously planned this set as a bespoke performance. Victoria is dressed up like Holly Golightly in diamante and a little black dress. She swigs from a bottle of champagne and swoons about the stage like it's 5am on Fifth Avenue, and she's just stumbled out of a cocktail bar. The set comprises familiar songs from the band's usual repertoire, all presented in re-arranged form, plus the new song 'Come As You Were'. 'Past tense! There's a subtle difference!' says Victoria sternly, as if daring us to think that Waterglass might be doing something as ordinary as a Nirvana cover.

There are occasional outbreaks of amiable bickering between the band members, and quips and asides are batted back and forth between the band and audience. 'Even a bassist can play the drums!' remarks Aidan, as he gets behind the kit. But although there's an air of knockabout good humour surrounding the performance, the songs themselves still pack an emotional punch. In particular, the bleak, stripped-down version of 'Fading Fast' is worth the price of admission by itself. This song isn't exactly a laugh-riot to start with, but here it's arranged as a wonderfully minimal pre-dawn lament: the cocktail bar is closing, the chairs are on the tables, and Holly Golightly has one more song to go before she has to face the day. It's a performance that oozes real emotion, so different from the recorded version I catch myself wishing I'd come wired for sound, so I could take a bootleg home with me. But that's Waterglass: a band who can turn in stuff that's so stop-you-in-your-tracks *good* that you spend the rest of the evening in a daze, aware that you've been in the presence of something genuinely special.

However, let's un-daze ourselves in time to pay attention to The Descendants Of Cain. This is their show, after all: to introduce us to their new album, 'Briah...of Man and Magician'. Or, as I'm tempted to think of it, 'The Descendants Of Cain's Life Of Briah'. Yeah, I know, cheap joke - but I fought in the punk wars, y'know, back in the days when the kind of high-concept Tolkeinisms which seem to be the DOC's principal inspiration were routinely greeted with hearty guffaws and unrestrained piss-taking. These days, I've mellowed enough to acknowledge that this kind of material can, in fact, have merit, but I confess still find it hard to take Descendants Of Cain lyrics, or even song titles such as 'Summoning The Ancients', entirely seriously. Going by their artwork, they don't half like their runes, an' all. In these post-punk, post-rock, post-everything times, you'd have to be Gandalf not to find all this stuff just a little self-parodic.

But I digress. Although The Descendants Of Cain may occasionally come across like an Athena poster set to music, their resolutely single-minded, independent approach, their determination to follow their own creative star regardless of what the rest of the world might be getting up to, and their ability to present their concept as a fully-realised package, with their own crew, PA, and lights, is undeniably impressive. Tonight the band plan to play the entire new album, track by track, in order - which is in itself a brave move. Most bands would've padded out the set with a few old faves, but the Descendants Of Cain aren't here to make it easy for us. It's up to the audience to follow the band into the world they've created, and I must admit this uncompromising stance wins my approval. Reminds me of John Lydon's 'take us or leave us' attitude around the time PiL released 'Metal Box' - now there's a reference I bet the Descendants Of Cain never expected!

So, it begins...with a slight disclaimer. It seems Darryll, DOC's vocalist, is in the grip of flu.(This is what comes of always performing with bare feet!) Before the band start up, he warns us that he may have to take a break a few songs in to let his voice recover. In fact, he makes it through the entire set without any visible (or audible) signs of strain. If his voice isn't quite 100%, he makes a fine job of disguising it as he lets rip at the mic. Even though the songs aren't familiar, the audience clusters to the front and their attention doesn't falter. The Descendants Of Cain's new material features all the atmospherics and drama that they've made their trademark: there are no radical departures, musically, in the new stuff, but then that's not really the point. This is the least likely band to strike off on a musical tangent just for the sake of it. The songs build slowly, like a thunderstorm gathering just over the horizon, and then sweep in on great waves of guitar. If the Descendants Of Cain were a cloud formation, they'd be cumulo-nimbus. The show is entirely lit by the band's own array of floor spots, and this total inversion of normal stage lighting adds to the other-worldly effect. The two guitarists have to carry the set visually, however, because the keyboards are set so far back on the drum riser they seem weirdly detatched from the rest of the band - they're certainly outside photo-range. But although the geographical layout of the band on stage may be a little awkward, the sound is strong and the show rolls relentlessly on to the conclusion of the set...and the album.

A fine way to launch the new release: definitely better than simply picking up whatever random gig-opportunity happens to come along, and then having to try to create a special atmosphere under un-special circumstances. The Descendants Of Cain might occupy their own strange world when it comes to their music and their concepts, but they come up with ideas regarding the practical side of running the band which others might usefully copy.

see all the photos from this show here

Descendants Of Cain:


The Order Of Azrael:

Phantasm Promotions, promoters of the gig:

A cumulo-nimbus cloud:

Reviewed by Uncle Nemesis:

Chainsaws and Children
Salem Fires
The Middle East - Boston, MA
~reviewed by Basim [Rhymes w/ Possum]
(Photos courtesy and property of Bunnicula)

With its lush Autumns and picturesque Winters, it's really no suprise that New England has a thriving Goth Industrial scene. While it may not be the largest scene for a major city, there's a great depth to the talent you find in Boston. The bands help each other out, and many DJs are involved in other artistic endeavors besides spinning. Besides the multi media nature of the people, all of the local bands here are very distinct in terms of music and image, and this fact was expressed to a T at the Middle East show put on tonight.

I had encountered the music of the first band a few days before the show: this super cute Death rock girlie handed me their CD and told me to pay it mind. Expecting to hear something more along the lines of 45Grave (it was a Death rock girlie, wasn't it?), I was thrown for a loop when I got around to listening to it. Soaring, theatrical female vocals, majestic and decidedly `metal' guitars were coupled with droning piano and synth parts to create something along the lines of a metal-ized Mors Syphilitica. It sounded a little rough around the edges, and the drum and bass work provided a fairly standard rock `n roll backdrop. In short, it sounded like the Gothic Metal bands you see being signed by labels like Napalm Records that play at various European festivals.

I was fairly impressed with their demo, and was anxious to see them take stage. As they were setting up, the first thing you notice is the lack of dressing up on every member but the singer's part. Mind you, there is something decidedly `metal' about dressing down, so perhaps there's an aesthetic point being made here that I'm not getting. I'd have thought that playing a predominantly Goth `n Electro crowd would have encouraged the band to go all out with the staples of cheesy metal – spiky armlets and lots of leather. From looks alone I could have expected a swirly girl band (the singer had this reddish swirly skirt on) instead of a Goth metal quartet.

All it took to shut me up was one song. Nothing on the demo disc I had could have prepared me for the tonal elegance of Salem Fires live. While I thought the drums on the disc sounded very two dimensional and traditional, live the band opted for a punchier -almost industrial- sound. The highs were piercing, and the low thump of the bass kick was full, and driving. The guitarist had epic Morgion styling to his melodic statements; sometimes they were bluesy, pentatonic based and other times they were in minor keys, which provided the music with a majestic flavor. The bassist seemed to be the moon around which all the others orbited. He kept the time well and seemed to serve as a good point of reference throughout the many chord changes present in the music.

Now, let me be among the first to say it before this band hits it big: their singer –Krista- has vocals that rival anyone and everyone I've heard presently in the scene worldwide! She rivals those found in Mors Syphilitica, The Gathering, Unto Ashes, Tristania, Macbeth, and Theater of Tragedy – be the judge of it yourself – see them live. They were handing out CDs to anyone who signed up for their mailing list; it shouldn't be hard to get ahold of one if you email them. Beyond that, the only major gripe I had with their live show was the fact that besides Krista, no one seemed to be moving much. It's called Metalhead Syndrome, or M.S, when it's not appropriate to head bang, metal musicians keep themselves busy by sustaining constipated/anguished expressions on their faces.

After a good deal of applause, Salem Fires made way for the next band, an Electro punk band called Livesexact. I had no idea who they were or what they sounded like, but their booth guy told me they were "fun." Right...

Now I fancy myself as a fairly bizarre individual. I take pride in my ability to weird out old familiar friends and creep out blind dates whenever I choose to flip my `zany' switch. It's a great way of getting rid of people on command. I feel uneasy as I type this, but I think that for the first time in my life, I'm the one who was weirded out. It could have been the fact that I was still reeling from Salem Fires (a gothic metal band playing a show with an Electro punk outfit is a bit like Cannibal Corpse touring with Boyz2Men), and it could have been the fact that all the musicians of Livesexact held serious, focused expressions throughout their setlist, but it's safe to say that I've encountered something crazier than silly putty.

They had an electronic drum set, and each piece of it had a giant, obnoxious stuffed animal fitted onto it; some were big bunnies, others were gorillas and some were completely unidentifiable. Marsupials maybe? Demented, turquoise and pink marsupials filled with cotton? The first "Guitar/synth" player was a half-naked man wearing nothing but a skirt that seemed tight on him and football shoulder pads. Next to him was a glammed out -female- fellow guitar/synth player who had a glittery purple hat and an equally glittery purple outfit. There was a tall girl in all white who wore a George Bush sweatshirt with slashed sleeves lurking about in the back. Behind the drumset of stuffed animals was a somewhat good-looking chap in a nice suit banging away at the assorted mammals and wildebeests littered around him. They looked like a Devo from mars.

When the music started, I don't think I stopped laughing once. The synth playing front folks moved around in jerky, robotic fashion while the singer(s) belted out lyrics ranging from wanting to eat more pie to republican manipulation on commerce and the sociological effects of consumerism. I kid you not. The band was formed in M.I.T by some wide-eyed kids who were interested in giving the Electro scene the live show it's been craving since the early 90s. In a scene dominated by backing tapes and miniscule knob turning, Livesexact are very much a notable entry: they play their synths on the spot, the vocalist rants and raps like the best of them and you see the drummer whacking away (poor bunnies) in real time. There is no question that this is a real band.

This band was more than fun, this band... was certifiable. And so was most of the crowd, seeing that most of us were grinning like loonies in straightjackets, bouncing about in our sonic padded cell of delusions. There were so many memorable moments throughout their short set list, and my favorite happened during one of the synth players' solos. He jumped to the back of the stage, grabbed the paw of what was either a leopard or a cow, and banged away at his keys with it. I laughed so hard I almost fainted. Another number of theirs involved this gospel-like accapella chorus, which was equally hilarious. These musicians delivered all of this with the most serious of faces (especially the guy in the suit, who could have out cyborg-ed Al Gore) and all of them threw themselves into the insanity with full on conviction. It was a sight to behold and I urge all of you to see these guys once. They seemed geared specifically for live shows.

Next up was Boston's industrial darlings, Scissorkiss. At some point in the early 90s, industrial seemed poised to take over popular hard-rock radio. Just look at the movie soundtracks from the time (like the Mortal Kombat movie soundtrack) and you'll see bands like Gravity Kills, Stabbing Westward, God Lives Underwater and Sister Machine Gun. There was a flood of industrial bands churning out hits hard enough to be fit for action movies yet catchy enough to brave the airwaves, and the same can be said for the accessible music of Scissorkiss. I had seen them open for the Cruxshadows a few weeks ago and witnessed the huge synthesizer freak show get outclassed by a seemingly simple trio armed with nothing but a laptop, two guitars and an undeniably charming front woman.

They always dress to impress, and tonite they were especially easy on the eyes. One guitar player was in what looked like leather pants and this classy vest, the other had his trade mark wide leg jeans and transformer cap, while the singer had this sassy blue wig on and some really striking glittery blue/black clothes on. I can't remember whether she had a robe over pants or a dress, but I'm a boy. I'm not supposed to be good at remembering this stuff. I just recall that they looked pretty darn tasty. Their music was like the aforementioned bands, but the inclusion of clean (almost) ethereal female vocals adds a sappy tenderness about them. Her voice really compliments the harsh guitars and pounding rhythms, and the dynamic between these elements really makes for some nicely crafted tunes. They all seem like seasoned musicians and there's alot each person has to offer: both the guitarists have plenty of neat sounds and effects to vary up their sonic plate' while the vocalist has enough control as to add distinct character to each of the numbers they play for us.

They started with a ditty called tantrum, from their forthcoming album, and played a mix of new and old material, the new stuff being crunchier and more varied. Their newest L.P had been mastered that very night, and should be available in about a month's time. The punchy music combined with their well tuned showmanship made for a rocking show, and many of the folks up front were flailing about silently in their own little pockets of space in the packed venue. Everything was straightforward until Jhimm, one of the guitarists, began speaking between the songs. This seemed kind of odd, and I paid alot of attention because up until that point the only one speaking between songs had been Liz (the vocalist). As it turns out, Jhimm had just gotten his engagement ring in the mail and wanted to present it to his fiancée. He then proceeded to dedicate the next song, which apparently hadn't gone over so good at the band's last show, to her. Aww shucks. This dedicated song was a cover of "With or without you", which was pulled off remarkably well. At some point after the second chorus, Jhimm busted out the vocals to Peter Murphy's "Fall with you Knife" behind Liz's (who was still singing the U2 cover). It meshed incredibly well, and was easily my favorite moment of the evening.

They played their last few songs, and like all good things, the music had to come to an end. I keep getting impressed by these guys, and it seems they raise the bar with each show. I can safely expect great things every time I see them live and I urge all of you to check out their new album once it's pressed and ready.

After Scissorkiss, Chainsaws and Children took their time to set up. They added their own translucent black curtain, and it seemed a select contingent of the crowd seemed familiar with the band's material. It was easy to pick em out; they were the angry looking rivet heads up front. Once the curtains peeled away, we were presented with anything but a rivet-looking band. The keyboard player had some sort of leather bondage brace around his waist and the singer had a devil lock. What a way to put your influences up front! No gripes from me, I love the Misfits! The guitar player was in predictable black, and the drummer was well hidden behind his set.

Now, the first thing I noticed was the singer's devil lock, and the very second thing I noticed was the paper seemingly taped over the front of the guitar. This confused me, I mean - how could he possibly touch the strings this way? Before I could start thinking up bizarre applications for such an `augmented' instrument, a spark caught my eye, and before I could say `Danzig' the whole front of the guitar lit up in a fireball! What a way to unveil one's axe. Righteous! Soon the band was shredding, jumping back and forth and ranting about stuff that goes boom! You just had to mosh about with the big pit that was started up front. The music almost lulled you into it. Then I saw the first of many... "Incidents" happen between the band members. The keyboard guy was singing and the singer flipped him off. That was just the tip of the iceberg for this band, as later on in the night we saw many-a spectacle involving those two. The first of which happened during a song where the Singer held the Mic up for Keyboard player to belt out back up vocals. Before the `boardist's part was over, the singer took a step backward and forced him to follow suit. Step after step after step, that keyboard player followed that Mic like a dog begging for a bone.

While dragging the keys guy away from his instrument was kind of... weird, things get weirder. At one point, the singer held the mic snug between his legs forcing the poor guy to sing into his vocalist's crotch! At other times, when Josh (the Keyboardist) was singing live, the frontman of the band, Paul, would jump behind his gear and fuck with the keys. It was like industrial three stooges. Whenever Josh got close enough to the crowd, we'd pull off the stage and mosh with him! Things got so out of hand that the behemoth monitor fell down. I scurried up front to help lift it back on stage. Another time Paul tried performing a stage dive, and we let him fall on his head! Much drunken merriment ensued. He handed out candy and I busied myself throughout the gig trying to get pixie dust all over his boots and ass. It may sound odd, but in the context of the show it wasn't. At times Paul would whip out these hand operated flame throwers and spray fire all over the stage, and all over poor Josh's synths ...Does Paul have porn experience? The show was wild, and would have made Rob Zombie proud. It was all old fashioned Horror-Industrial, and the band made it work. They were, by far, the most `fun' out of all of the bands – and that's saying quite alot considering the show Livesexact put together.

The Middle East: ......
Chainsaws and Children:
Scissorkiss: ..........
Livesexact: ...........
Salem Fires: ..........

Pictures (courtesy of Bunnicula):
Salem Fires :
Livesexact :
Scissorkiss :