Seraphim Shock in top form at Gothic Theatre over the weekend

Categories: Concert Reviews

Seraphim Shock - August 27, 2010.JPG
Tom Murphy
Seraphim Shock's Charles Edward looked like a vampire superhero turned pop star.

The Siren Project • Lola Black
08.27.10 | Gothic Theatre, Englewood

Used to be you could count on the opening bands at a Seraphim Shock show to be pretty awful. But in the last several years, this trend has been bucked. For evidence, you need look no further than the Siren Project, who opened this show. For the last few years, since the Project has shed members and gained others, it seems to have struggled a bit with its musical identity. But for this show, it seems as though the new line-up has solidified considerably with Malgorzata Wacht and Alex Seminara working in better concert with Noel Johannes on synth and a full rhythm section.

This time around, Wacht displayed a confidence and finesse in her performance and singing, more so than ever, and it wasn't so much in her range as it was in her unique phrasing. This, coupled with her strong presence and understated charisma, is her real hook as a singer. During "Justify," you could hear how the band has expertly filtered in stirring synth tones to fill out the guitar samples to a far greater degree.

The Siren Project - August 27, 2010.JPG
Tom Murphy
Malgorzata Wacht, the Siren Project's charismatic siren.

With a live bassist, the band's sound has thickened considerably, and everything seemed sensuously dynamic. And while the band's covers of "Carolyn's Fingers" by Cocteau Twins and "Every Day Is Exactly the Same" by Nine Inch Nails were impressive, it shined most on its own material which seemed to have whole a new life breathed into it.

Lola Black might seem like any other band walking the tightrope between punk and melodic hard rock were it not for the fact that the sextet actually works well together to put on a true performance. Former Skivies bassist, Matthew Hale, helped hold the rhythm down with James Rock in order for everyone else to fly free with spirited performances.

Lola Black - August 27, 2010.JPG
Tom Murphy
Lola Black

During "Stuck On You," with its driving beat and catchy riff, the band sounded a bit like Blondie gone metal. Lola Black herself, meanwhile, sounded a lot like Gwen Stefani with a lot more guts and soul. While not for everyone, Lola Black, at the very least, put in a high energy performance that probably won over some doubters by the end of the set.

While Seraphim Shock's crew set up, the curtains were closed, obscuring all except some flickering lights and a bit of fog that snuck out. When the curtains finally opened, we saw none other than Sid Pink on stage with an empty rocking chair behind him. In typical fashion, Pink laid out some jokes and had fun at the expense of the audience and the band, only no "Think Pink!" game shows this time around or hilariously mean digs at the Goth community.

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