Velvet Acid Christ at Casselman's, 2/9/13
Tom Murphy Dead Hand Projekt at Casselman's Bar & Venue
Earlier in the night, the show opened with Dead Hand Projekt. Also a trio, the Projekt's sound hearkened back to a time when industrial rock was coming into its own and was become something of a popular aesthetic in the mid-to-late '90s. Unlike some of the bands toward the end of that period that seemed cartoonish and cookie cutter, these guys have clearly fully worked out the sonic details, so they sounded like a cohesive unit rather than a rock band dabbling in electronics or an electronic band dabbling in rock instrumentation. It seemed like these guys saw how corny some of those other bands mining similar musical territory could be and didn't go that route but instead came up with something much better.
Tom Murphy The Twilight Garden at Casselman's Bar & Venue
The Twilight Garden followed, and the ethereal beauty of the synth work of Todd Loomis combined with drummer Kutz's accented tempos recalled the Cure circa Disintegration, Pornography and Bloodflowers. Yet there was less of the sheer darkness of Pornography and a little brighter than the magic hour hued lushness of Disintegration. Like Robert Smith, Loomis has that ability to convey a sense of peaceful acceptance that can escalate to a desperate but melodic wail evoking a palpable psychic anguish.
Partway through the set, Bryan Erickson came on stage and played electronics for the rest of the show, which apparently he will do for the tour ahead, while, Loomis obviously will do the same for him. "Trail of Tears, Part 1," from the band's recently released Hope, was a denouncement of greed and the sociopathic behavior of what political commentator Thom Hartmann often calls the "banksters" and a kind of aggressive, industrial song.
But mostly this set was filled with breathtakingly gorgeous soundscaping centered on Loomis's emotionally vibrant vocals. The set closed with what someone in the audience predicted: a "cover" of "Machine" by Velvet Acid Christ from the Lust for Blood album, on which Loomis was a collaborator. This set from the Twilight Garden was not only superb, but it helped make this one of those shows where you ask yourself where has this band been hiding? Luckily many people will see this band and Velvet Acid Christ bring their colorful, richly atmospheric, moody music to town.
Personal Bias: I've been wanting to see Velvet Acid Christ for years and was hoping for a great show. I wasn't disappointed.
Random Detail: Between sets, I heard "Smothered Hope" by Skinny Puppy (no surprise there, I suppose), as well as a song by an excellent newer, moody electronic band, Trust, along with some Death In June, among others. Nice choices tonight, DJ.
By the Way: Ran into Malgorzata Wacht of The Siren Project and Jesse Sola of Numina at the show.