Apocalypse Theatre Benefit
~reviewed by Blu

On Thursday April 27th three bands, DJs and a handful of local artists came together to donate their talents in raising money to help Apocalypse Theatre get back on their feet.

Apocalypse Theatre came to Atlanta for GothCon 2000 to the delight of some already loyal fans. Hanging out for the weekend they earned even more new friends and fans with their easy going, friendly open attitude. Self described as a wandering band of gothic gypsies with the common goal of spreading their music and love, they're often found in groups of 10-12 people going from town to town in the infamous van. Always open to giving people a shot at the dream of performing, they incorporate many talented individuals into the band like DJ Saint Germain and Skitch - a popular tattoo artist. We enjoyed their company and embraced them as part of our own dark scene.

Unfortunately shortly after they returned home from Atlanta to the house they had just purchased, they were awaken in the middle of the night by a raging fire. Several people narrowly escaped with their lives out bedroom windows. Some, including Skitch, were severely burned and had to be taken to the hospital. They lost everything they owned - from musical and sound equipment, instruments, tatoo equipment and artwork, personal belongings, clothes, master copies of CDs, computers, DJ equipment and CDs, etc. The Red Cross helped by supplying them with some clothes. Perhaps most devastating was that the loss of equipment forced them to cancel their planned tours. For this band, who lived to be on the road, being grounded is almost unbearable.

Shortly after the news got out about their misfortune, concerned people started talking about what they could do to help. Soon a web page was up courtesy of Willow and Negative Image listing other events sponsored by clubs like NYX in Chicago, Ghastly Magazine, Punk Ass Gear, and the band Attrition. The Masquerade in Atlanta came to the rescue here in Atlanta by offering a night and their staff for a benefit concert. All door proceeds would go to Apocalypse theatre.

After emailing numerous local (and some not-so-local) bands I had three offer to play this benefit for free: Synchro Nine Factor, Glitch and 5 More Dead. The truly amazing and heart warming thing was not only were these guys willing to travel, set up and play for free - none of them have ever met or have really even heard Apocalypse Theatre. BaryOnyx from 5 More Dead commented that they had their equipment stolen not so long ago so he could relate to that feeling of devastation and loss and was more than happy to play this benefit.

In addition to the musicians, local artists offered to bring in their crafts for an extra attraction. Brian Gray brought in his fiendish dolls, Aaron Thomas had a mixture of always creepy 2D and 3D art, Chris Camillo delighted us with digital images, a few paintings by myself and D. Davis were on hand, and last but not least, Daryl Morton from Basi Pahn Des. LTD., set up shop and actually made some of his leather goods on site.

Synchro Nine Factor opened the night and despite the early start time, put on an aggressive and entertaining show. In front of a movie screen they belted out their new industrial-fused rock while LCD signs spewed bits of the lyrics out to the crowd. Emotionally charged, they gave 110% effort. Their performance was solid and polished as their matured experience playing live really shines through.

Glitch came on next -a two man team that combines synths and guitars to showcase an array of industrial/noise/experimental pieces complete with flashing lights, and um…hardware. Drills can make mighty nifty sounds and sparks when used in creative ways. Lead singer Christian- for all his mild, laid back demeanor off stage, transforms into a vocalist with a brutal , aggressive sound along the lines of good old death metal bands. Needless to say, for those looking for something a little more off the beaten path- check out Glitch in a town near you.

The highlight of the evening was 5 More Dead. Although the band is relatively new to the Atlanta scene, all the members of this band have been performing in one capacity or another in other bands and projects for over 10 years. These are seasoned veterans and believe me, it shows in their mature, stylistically developed live show. Already amassing a local following of groupies; the band's fans crept up to the stage in anticipation. Everything demanded attention from the crowd - from the stage props laying in wait to the bands outrageous appearance. Their sound is complex and unique. If forced to compare it to something more familiar- I'd tell you to imagine a cross between Korn, Coal Chamber, Jane's Addiction and the Doors. Extremely versatile, vocalist BaryOnyx can be ranting with rage one moment and then crooning hypnotic lullabies next (psychedelic flavored of course) the next. Maybe this is the rock n'roll version of Alice in Wonderland - special emphasis on the Caterpillar. Their songs are an unpredictable ride of climaxes - beats and guitars kicking in so sudden and hard even the most reserved person in the audience will eventually have their arms in the air cheering. BaryOnyx, comparative to a animated more aggressive version of Beetlejuice, commands the stage and the audience with the charisma of a rock legend. Fellow bandmates similarly put on a hard-edged energized performance. After they played their last song, the crowd was still hungry for more and to the band's surprise, demanded an encore. A few words between BaryOnyx and the band and they indulged the crowd with a song so new it didn't have a name yet.

StarVox would like to thank all the people that had a hand in making this show happen as well as the fans that showed up and cheered the bands on. Special thanks to The Masquerade (especially Greg and Tom), artists Brian, Daryl, Aaron and Chris; DJ Moz and especially the members of the bands. Please check out their webpages and see them live if you have a chance!

5 More Dead


Synchron Nine Factor

The Masquerde

Basu Pahn Des

Latest Update from Apox:
Skitch of Apocalypse Theatre, and others from the late great house "Castle Chaos" will be featured on The Learning Channel (TLC) this Sunday evening (5/21/00). The show is called: The Human Canvas. Since we have not seen the show, we cannot be sure of what to expect, but when they filmed at the castle, they filmed Apox playing and at the tattoo shop they played Apox in the background but this may all have ended up on the cutting room floor. Either way Skitch's craft is a reason enough to check it out!  Since many of you have his mark. On another note, the wedding of Hope and Skitch is next Sunday, May 28, two months after the fire and two years since they hooked up. The celebration includes hundreds of freaks and family plus a reception in a space called Bedlam where local bands(Ougi radio and another  TBA) including a short short set by Apox will take place at nightfall.

As for the band, we are still in the reconstruction phase since the fire, but we expect to have the CD finished and pressed by July 4th. A friend has posted a temporary web site with links to smaller Apox sites and info related to the band at; www.angelfire.com/band/apocalypsetheatre.com

On this page you will also find a link to http://www.driveway.com
The user and passwords are posted there, which will unlock our cyber garage. Inside you will find lyrics, Art, and free full-length MP3's of several unreleased tracks, which may make it to the CD. Several are finished product, one or two are experimental and feedback would be appreciated if you take the time to download them. userword: apocalypsetheatre    password: wyfilohu

At this time we are still seeking dancers and musicians for our third resurrection tour, please contact the core band memebers at Apoxtheatre@aol.com , or forward this to anyone whom you think might be interested in our punk rock industrial gypsy pirate lifestyle.

You can contact V. Sangre de Mercy and his and Kamela's side project  The Messengers at thesoulsurvivor@aol.com
St.Germain and The Messengers (plus special guest) will be embarking on a mini tour through the heartland and maybe west this summer. Live material from the Messengers will be available online soon. For more info on that venture search The Apox Matrix. Which is what our new Internet project (eternally under construction) is being called. It is a labrynth of dark corners with  twist and turns through cyber space, controlled by "The core line-up, part-timers, X-members, friends, fans, and the unknown." If you have a page or know of any source (good or bad) mentioning Apocalypse Theatre or any of the legions who have been involved in the band please inform The Core at;   ApoxTheatre@aol.com

For more info; visit one of the many web sites and pages that may or may or may not link you to The Messengers home page. Once again, a good place to start for now is http://www.angelfire.com/band/apocalypsetheatre.com but be prepared for an official ApoxMatrix core site to be unveiled which will link you into hyperspace. A business site and a site dedicated to everyone who sent us letters and donations after our first house in almost 5 years burned down with most of our stuff inside is also under construction. It will be linked to the matrix. We will also be sending a special limited release of material.

To as many of you as we have listed who helped keep our spirits energized. We still have many hurdles ahead financially and spiritually but the extra faith and love has helped us immeasurably.
                                         Until next time
                                                             The Apox Kidz
 Women of the Underground Who Rock
Acts Magdalena
Cosmic Slut
Sophia Ramos Dupre
~review by Blu

The underground genres that we often cover in StarVox usually feature female vocals in ethereal modes - beautiful, goddess-like and mesmerizing. One Projekt's latest comps - Sierienna, is a testament to the beauty of such work (see our review in June's archives). However, what really gets to me personally (and maybe its cause I'm old and jaded), is when I hear outstanding and for lack of a better word -- tough -- vocals coming from women who defy all normal conventions and let their emotions rip from their guts in the tradition of Janus Joplin and Patty Smith. There is this common misconception in society (and even in the underground scenes) that women are supposed to be quiet and polite - still, and what century is it folks? So nothing gets my blood moving and my mind churning like it does when I hear a band who's female singer doesn't hold back. They're real and gritty and brave. They are nothing short of my heroes. Most recently - three such individuals came to my attention: Christian Merry from Acts Magdalena, Marisa Bozza from Cosmic Slut, and Sophia Ramos Dupre.

Acts Magdalena
"Band like Acts Magdalena... remind me of the savage power of the human voice... every review... speaks with awe, and not a little fear, of singer Christian Merry's unique vocal style." - Stephanie in the StarVox review of Acts Magdalena's self-titled CD.

Being editor sometimes means I miss out on things  -- most of the CD's I get go out to my talented staff to review and I sometimes miss out on some really great work. Acts Magdalena was one such band who got sent out immediately for review before I ever had a chance to listen to it myself. (Stephanie wrote an outstanding review of it btw- check out our archives!) I had the opportunity to meet Christian Merry and Rick Van Benschoten at GothCon here in Atlanta. Beautiful, sweet and composed, Christian's demeanor in public in no way hinted at her music and having not heard the CD; the impact of meeting her would not hit me until months later when I was in Seattle for C6.

On the Thursday before Convergence began, several of us had went to Portland's Tonic Lounge to see some local bands (see our Concert reviews) and Spinmistress Batty was DJing between sets with other DJs. There was a song she played that blew me away - "Elliptical Mind's Eye". It started out normally enough with elements of church-like organ (done impressively on bass btw). It had a good beat so I started dancing to it.  As the song went on, the vocals got more and more strained and agitated until the singer was literally growling with so much emotion that I had to stop just to *listen* to it. Batty was jamming in the DJ booth -- mouthing the words and growling along right along with the singer with animated facial expressions. It was powerful, invigorating and fun all at once. The woman - this voice, had went from angel to demoness in minutes. It was incredible. It was Acts Magdalena. I *wanted* that CD obsessively after that. And as if she knew all along that this would happen, Christian had sent another copy of their CD by way of Jett Black especially for me that I would get a few days later signed "I Love you Blu -- Christian". Wow. If I had known what their music was like before, poor Stephanie would have never gotten that first CD to review <wink>.  It is now a staple in my musical diet and I never lose an opportunity to play it for someone just to see their surprised face when Christian's voice kicks in.

Christian has  proved to be utterly sweet and endearing in all my contact with her. Her little hand-drawn story books speak of courage in fairy tale worlds - of hope, peace, tolerance and love. They are enough to make me cry. She would appear to be  the very image of "goddess" that you'd expect from ethereal bands. And yet, there is a fire and rage inside of her that will not be contained. She'll give the death metal vocalists a run for their money. She has lived a life with stories to tell and you get the feeling that her singing is a cleansing process - the insides are ripped open to bleed clean  and she's not the least bit shy about it. She must be mesmerizing and inspiring to watch perform live.

Cosmic Slut
"Marisa is listed as providing 'voices' not merely 'vocals.'  She whispers, purrs, growls, speaks… sometimes lets muse-inspired melodies slip out smooth, sometimes harsh."  - review in StarVox by Blu

Upon reviewing their first CD - A Cosmic Slut Production; Marisa sent me a 3-song follow-up, Who Killed the Cat. And if you thought I spoke highly of their first CD (see our CD reviews), you might be surprised that I was impressed so much further by the next one. Still featuring that gritty spoken word Portisehead-styled vocals, Who Killed the Cat is fierce and unrelenting. I am fascinated by Marisa's vocals that seem to be an instrument themselves. Syllables and pauses take on a life of their own and at times - remind me of the speaking styles of great actresses of days past - precise and predetermined. With the raw energy of Wendy O and the outrageousness of Nina Haagan; Marisa takes you into an alternate universe. You cannot help but listen in rapt attention.

"Domestic Nightmare" is as witty as it is scary as they portray the American dysfunctional family - "The television's always on, it does our talking for us. Dad is playing poker now with Norman and Dolores. Mother's hair's in curlers she can't make it to the door. She's trying to look nice for dad; I don't know what for,"  Marisa growls. Mommy dearest anyone? Joan Crawford has nothing on this song.  And just when you thought you had her figured out; she offers the song "Somebody" which is as hypnotic as it is otherworldly in its melodic, liquidity flow. Cosmic Slut is not your usual band - I dare say you won't find anything else out there like them. But enough of me -- hear them  for yourself.

Sophia Ramos Dupre
"A Bronx-bred banshee ... Imagine Chaka Khan morphing into Ozzy Ozbourne mid-wail..."- Greg Tate, VILLAGE VOICE

I first met Sophia during the practice run for a Glitterdome night. She was there as one of Pat Brigg's guests for his birthday bash having toured with him and Psychotica during a Lollapalooza tour. That night, Sophia sang "Acid Queen" and stole the show with her powerful vocals and charismatic presense. A few weeks later a promo packet arrived in my mailbox with her self-titled CD and I was even more awe-struck.

"When I first saw Tine Turner as the Acid Queen in Tommy, I though, 'That's it.' I wanted to be a rock and roll bitch too." - Sophia

Her songs are lyrically brutal in their truth and raw honesty on subjects of loss, faith, love and self-esteem. Her deliverance of them is nothing short of soul-defining as she breaks traditional barriers of women and of ethnic groups. Sophia is a woman with a heart of gold and a vision of rockn'roll and refuses to be constrained by any predetermined opinions of what she should be doing. Recently she won the VH1 "undiscovered artist" competition - be looking for her video beginning August 19th! Congrats! Sophia will return to perform at Glitterdome in September. (Check your volume on your speakers before downloading Sophia's web page. You're in for just a little example of how powerful her voice is...)

Sound samples of all the bands mentioned above can be found on the following web pages:

Acts Magdalena
email: actsmag@aol.com
Riffage site: http://www.riffage.com/Bands/0,2939,19999,00.html
Quotes from Christian can be found here: www.musicthoughts.com

Cosmic Slut
email: info@cosmicslut.com

Sohpia Ramos Dupre
email: sophiaramos@email.com