Concerts Reviews


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Live Act(s): On Ensemble & Kaoru Watanabe (@)
Event Date: 17 January 2009
Type of Event: Small Club Concert
Venue: Drom
Rated: *****
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LA-based On Ensemble offer traditional japanese taiko drumming mixed with traditional ceremonial music (hints of gagaku) and some traditional kabuki theater music (actually Mae, the music that is played for the space and the people passing by outside the theater, before the Nagauta performance actually starts) as well as more modern and/or western influences (free jazz, avantgarde, if you will). In fact the program presented had a greater focus on the crossing over and the blending of different influences. Their stated and de facto quest is to mix the traditional instruments of Japan with influences from the west.
Although even an out of place looking darbuka appeared on one song, most of the show was played on a variety of japanese percussions, such as large O-Daiko, smaller Chu-Daiko, rope-tied Shime-Daiko, fan-shaped Uchiwa-Daiko (which as an encore all four of them played while making percussive noises with their mouths, in an almost Bailnese kecak style), fish-shaped woodblock-type Mokugyo, wheat sticks, cymbals, gongs, rattling shell percussions and other type of drums that I didn’t recognize (like a long cylindrical Brazilian surdo-looking drum). In addition to all of these drums, On Ensemble make use of one of my favorite japanese instruments: a gorgeous koto. However, like I said, the true goal of this quartet is to mix all of this with their western influences (rock, free jazz, avantgarde, hip hop) and so there’s actually a modern rock drum set being used as well as some scratching on turntables and some singing (only in one song, although all four of them love to do their kakegoe shouts of encouragement and appreciation on the stage, when they play, and off, if they are not playing on a particular piece).
One of my favorite parts of the show was when one of the performers accompanied the rest of the group with some self-thaught Tuvan throat-singing that allegedly he picked up while sitting on the lap of a NY-based Mongolian musician whose name unfortunately I can’t recall.
NY-based taiko and flute player and teacher Kaoru Watanabe sat in and played several type of japanese bamboo flutes called fue (although no shakuhacki).
Obviously, with a multi-racial line up and all the experiences that such a richness alone brings to the table, in addition to their individual research, interests and travels and the exposure to all american pop culture (they are all US born after all), the broad spectrum of influences to draw from is obviously enormous, so these four guys HAVE fun and ARE fun (every time they take the mic between songs to give a little explanation they manage to collect more laughs and giggles than some comedians I have seen).
The visual highlight of the evening was probably the Miyake-style taiko performance by two of the musicians, who stand on either side of one horizontally placed O-Daiko and hit it forcefully and following patterns in what almost looks like a duel.
On Ensemble’s two sets of this powerful concert are like a musical chair game in which instruments and positions are constantly reshuffled to suit every new piece. They struggled to make it happen on Drom’s small and abstractly shaped stage, but they managed just fine. A great evening well worth the $15 cover.
Sonically impressive and visually stunning, I would recommend this highly to anyone bored of the same old concerts and looking for something new to experience.
Both Kaoru and On Ensemble have sveral CDs released or about to be released, so definitely check them out as well.

Unter Null: 11 July 2008

 Posted by Michelle Russo  United States  Edit (4531)
Jul 16 2008
Live Act(s): Unter Null
Event Date: 11 July 2008
Type of Event: Small Club Concert
Venue: Underground Lounge (@)
Promoter/Organizer: Kinetic
Rated: *****
On July 11th, 2008, I goth to fufill another dream by seeing Unter Null for the first time in Chicago and the states. Needless too say it was the most awesome, indeadstrial, power noise show ever. Erica has the most energy ever and truely is the most kickass woman I have ever met. Wow she blew us away with her dramatics and her powerful lyrics that we can relate to. Her counterpart had a strong voice, provided great electronic music that complemented Erica's strong, "harsh delayed electronic vox. Her lyrics were harsh and defiinately something we can all relate to. She did classicks like " Sick Fuck". " Feed the Lie " and " Play the Fool " that were heard loud and the audience turned into a danse floor frenzy, paying oath to the one that created it all. ~ All hail Erica, you rock and have made me believe again. Kinetic did a kick ass job putting this event together, that was definately long awaited. C/A/T/ and Critical System Error rocked the house and kept us entertained. This was definately a four star event. I interviewed Unter Null and was honoured to do so. Look for the interview to be on this site soon. It rocked my socks off. Catch Unter Null on their tour, you won't be disappointed. Tour details on http://www.myspace.com/unternull

" The Truth is Out There ." ~ Michelle Russo




VARIOUS: 28 June 2008

 Posted by Michelle Russo  United States  Edit (4511)
Jul 06 2008
Live Act(s): VARIOUS
Event Date: 28 June 2008
Type of Event: Small Club Concert
Venue: NIGHT LITE CAFE
Promoter/Organizer: JANET
Rated: *****
ON JUNE 28TH, 2008 EVE OF THE FALLEN PRODUCTIONS JOINED FORCES WITH THE NITE LIGHT CAFE AND DID CD GIVEAWAYS AT THE NITE LIGHT CAFE COURTESY OF METROPOLIS RECORDS, PROJEKT RECORDS, UNDERGROUND INC, WAX TRAX II AND VAMPIREFREAKS.COM. IT WAS A VERY SUCCESSFUL EVENT WITH MANY GREAT BANDS THATMADE IT WHAT IT WAS. THE OPENING BAND FOR THE GOTHIC PART OF THE EVENT THAT PLAYED WAS LEPER THAT ALWAYS PROOFS TO BE AMAZING. SCOTT THE LEAD SINGER SANG TALES OF HARD TIMES AND HOW HE AROSE FROM THE PIT OF BLACKNESS. SCOTT'S OTHER COUNTERPARTS PROVIDED HARD GUITAR AND BEAUTIFUL AND HYPNOTIC DRUM BEATS SET THE AMBIENCE FOR THE EVENING. CHECK OUT http://www.myspace.com/leperdied. FOLLOWING AFTER WAS THE BAND EOWYN WHICH SANG FOR US LEAVING US IN AWE OF THE DARKNESS THAT SURROUNDED THEM AND HOW THEY ROSE BACK UP TO THE LIGHT. CHECK OUT http://www.myspace.com/eowynmusic. SHORTLY AFTER FOLLOWED ANANAIS WHICH WAS A BAND I MISSED DUE TO GETTING READY FOR MY GIVEAWAY BUT IM SURE THEY ARE WORTH CHECKING OUT. CHECK OUT www.myspace.com/ananiastheband THE NEXT BAND THAT PROVED TO LIVE UP TO THEIR STANDARDS WAS BRIDGESHADOWS THAT HAD A LOVELY LEAD FEMALE SINGER NAMED BETHANY THAT SANG LIKE A MELODIC SONGBIRD CRYING OUT FOR THERE TO BE RAIN AND PEACE. JONATHAN AND KL WERE PROVIDED THE HARD GUITAR ANTICS AND GOT THE CROWDS MOVING. AND ALL AND ALL IT WAS A MYSTICAL GOOD TIME. CHECK OUT BRIDESHADOWS, http://www.bridge_shadows. ONE PARTICULAR BAND THAT STUCK OUT FROM THE REST WAS THE BAND SPIRIT CHILD. THEY WERE A LIVE GOTHIC OPERA THAT WAS ONE OF THE MOST AMAZING PERFORMANCES I HAVE SEEN. HANDMADE WINGED COSTUMES WITH A LIVE SCENARIO TO GO WITH THE THEME WHICH WAS FOCUSED ON BETRAYAL, BEING UNWANTED, BEING IMPURE AND THINGS OF THE LIKE. THERE WAS A LIVE BAND THAT PLAYED IN THE BACKGROUND ACCOMPANIED BY A LOVELY SIREN JENNIFER THAT SANG OPERA LIKE NO OTHER AND TIAVI THE LEAD VOCALIST AND LEESA THAT PLAYED CHELLO. THAT CHILLED US TO THE BONE WITH DARK LYRICS AND INTENSE GUITAR ANTICS. THIS WAS PURE EYE CANDY. THE PERFORMANCE WAS EQUIPPED WITH LIVE BALLET DANCERS, COLOUR GUARDS, AND SWORDSMANSHIP. IT WAS TRULY THE MOST SURREAL EXPERIENCE ONE CAN EVER EXPERIENCE. TIAVI IS THE LEAD SINGER AND TOLD TALES OF DESPERATION THAT LEAD INTO BELIEF WITH BACKING LEAD VOCALS BY LEESA THE MOST CLASSICALLY TRAINED OPERETTA VOX I HAVE EVER HEARD, TRULY A GIFT. THIS BAND TOOK THE TIME TO MAKE ALL THEIR OWN SET AND IT REALLY PAYED OFF. THIS IS NOT A BAND TO MISS LOOK FOR THEM TO PERFORM. CHECK OUT, http://www.myspace.com/spiritchildmusic . THE NEXT BAND THAT WAS THE BEST LIVE BAND AND HEADLINER FOR THE NIGHT WAS THE AWAKENING THAT PROOFED TO LIVE UP TO THEIR STANDARDS. THEY ROCKED THE HOUSE WITH ALL THEIR CLASSICK DARK ROMANTIC MUSIC THAT SHOOK AND SHATTERED LIKE LIGHTENING THAT AWAKENED US FROM SLUMBER TO DANSE THE BEAT, FEEL THE HEAT AND MOVE OUR FEET. AN AMAZING TIME WAS HAD BY ALL. CHECK OUT http://www.myspace.com/theawakeningband
ALL AND ALL OUR NITE LIGHT CAFE PERFORMANCE WAS ONE OF THE BEST LINEUPS AND SOME OF THE FINEST DARK ROMANTIC GOTH TALENT ON ONE STAGE AND I AM HONOURED TO BE A PART OF IT WITH THEM. IT WAS AN HONOUR DOING CD GIVEAWAYS FOR THE VARIOUS LABELS AND BEING SURROUNDED BY AMAZING TALENT. 4 STARS, MICHELLE RUSSO

. 4 STARS ~ MICHELLE RUSSO

THE AWAKENING: 5 July 2008

 Posted by Michelle Russo  United States  Edit (4510)
Jul 06 2008
Live Act(s): THE AWAKENING
Event Date: 5 July 2008
Type of Event: Open Air Event
Venue: Cornerstone
Promoter/Organizer: John Herrin
Rated: *****
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CORNERSTONE ~ THE AWAKENING

LAST NITE AT CORNERSTONE ~ ON THE LAST NIGHT OF THE FESTIVAL WHICH CELEBRATED 25 YEARS LAST NIGHT OF DOING THIS FESTIVAL IN BUSHNELL, ILLINOIS. FAR OUT IN THE SOUTHERN PART OF ILLINOIS WHERE NO ONE WOULD EVEN THINK SUCH GREAT TALENTS WOULD COME TOGETHER IN UNITY AND HARMONY FOR 5 NIGHTS, THIS WAS TRUELY THE MOST AMAZING EXPERIENCE I HAVE EVER HAD. FIRST OF ALL FOR ANYONE THAT HASN'T EXPERIENCED THIS, YOU SHOULD.

AT THE HM MAGAZINE STAGE.. THE GOTH/INDEADSTRIAL PART OF THE FESTIVAL WAS WHERE YOU WANTED TO BE FOR SOME OF THE BEST MUSIC TO DATE.


.LEPER FIRST OPENED THE NIGHT TO WHAT SOUNDED LIKE THE BEST LIVE PERFORMANCE I HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED.BEAUTIFUL DARK LYRICS, HARD GUITAR AND ENTRANCING DRUM BEATS THAT SET THE AMBIENCE FOR THE START OF THE NIGHT.
CHECK OUT, http://www.myspace.com/leperdied,
NEXT WAS PARIS OROBORUS WHICH PROVED TO BE ONE OF THE BEST HELLEKTRO CYBER BANDS I HAVE SEEN IN A LONG TIME...ELECTRO DANSE BEATS SURFACED CAUSING THE CROWD TO DANSE HARD AND DANSE STRONG.LECTRA PARIS STOOD TALL AND GALIANT IN HER PLATFORMS AND HER DESIGNS SHE SPORTED.CHECK OUT, http://www.dementiaclothing.com,

AND THE BAND~ GOOGLE PARIS OROBORUS YOU WILL BE SURPRISED.

THE NEXT ACT WAS FROM SWEDEN THAT WAS A COMBINATION OF NEO FOLK AND ELECTRONICS MIXED..PROVED TO BE ONE OF THE MOST UNIQUE BLENDS I HAVE EVER SEEN. THE BAND HAD VISUALS OF BLACK BIRDS OVER DARK WATER AND STATIC AND SOLORIZED IMAGES OF SHARKS, STINGRAYS AND OTHER CREATURES FROM THE DEEP.TWO SINGERS WHICH WAS UNIQUE IN ITSELF SANG OF TALES OF REVOLUTION AND EVOLUTION AND WOKE THE CROWD UP WITH THEIR STRENGTH AND THEIR MIGHT. PERSONALLY THINK THIS MAYBE A NEWFOUND GENRE THIS BAND HAS BROUGHT TO ME.

CHECK OUT, http:// www.myspace.com/sanctumcrescenscollective

SAVING THE BEST TO LAST , THE HEADLINER WAS THE AWAKENING WHICH BY FAR PROVED TO LIVE UP TO THE STANDARDS IT POSSESSES.A SOLID CROWD STOOD AND WAITED FOR THEIR CORNERSTONE STABLE BAND THAT HAS GRACED THE STAGE FOR MANY YEARS AT THIS FESTIVAL.

SOME SOUND PROBLEMS HAD TO BE FIRST WORKED OUT THAT SEEMED LIKE FOREVER TO A FORMING BIG AUDIENCE THAT WERE PATIENT AND WAITING.TO THE MAKE THE MOST OUT OF THE WORST...TECHNICAL DIFFICULITIES ARISEN BUT IN THE BEST SPIRIT POSSIBLE AFTER A 15 MINUTE SOUND TESTING THE AWAKENING TOOK STAGE AND BY FAR STOLE THE SHOW FOR PROVING TO HAVE THE BEST LIVE PERFORMANCE OUT OF ANY BAND I TRUELY HAVE SEEN...AND LET ME ADD.I HAVE SEEN MANY IN MY TIME. 3 DARK SOLIDERS TOOK THE STAGE AND THE CROWD STOOD IN ANTICIPATION . ASHTON NYTE LOOKING SHARP AS EVER TOOK THE MIKE AND OPENED THE NIGHT WITH " RAZOR BURN "WHICH STARTED THE NIGHT AFLOAT. THE LARGE AUDIENCE RECIPROCATED BACK WITH A DANCING FRENZY THAT SEEMED TIMELESS.ASHTON PROCEEDED ON WITH HIS WELL KNOWN SONG, " VAMPIRE GIRL " THAT WE ALL KNOW AND LOVE. SINGING IN PERFECT KEY AND CUE, IT CHILLED OUR BONES TO SEE SUCH PERFECTION. NEXT WAS " MIRROR TRICKS" WHICH REMINDING ME OF EARLY MANSON BUT A LITTLE SHARPER OF THE BLADE WHICH PUT THE AUDIENCE LIKE THEY WERE LOST IN TIME AND LOST IN SPACE. NOTE: IF YOU EVER EXPERIENCE AN AWAKENING SHOW YOU ARE ENTRANCED AND LOSE YOURSELF WITH THE ADDICTION THEY PROJECT UNTO YOU. NEXT WAS A HEARTFELT NEW TRACK " AGAINST THE WAVES " WHICH TOUCHED ME LIKE NO OTHER. BEAUTIUFL CHILLING LYRICS THAT SEEMED TOO CLOSED TO HOME AND DEJA VU TO ME , PERSONALLY. IT'S A NEW TRACK THAT WILL BE RELEASED SOON, LOOK FOR IT. WE THEN MOVED ON TO " DESSCENT " THAT ALSO STAYED ALONG THE MANSONESQUE TREK AND KEPT US DANCING AND ALIVE AND IMUNE TO ALL OTHER DISTRACTIONS THAT WERE AROUND US. NEXT UP WAS THE CLASSICK , " MARTYR", ANOTHER TRACK WELL KNOWN AND TO DIE FOR. TRUELY ONE TO NEVER FORGET AND TO CHERISH. JUST WHEN THINGS COULD NOT GET ANY HIGHER ASHTON BROKE OUT WITH " DARK ROMANTICS " WHICH IS A TRUE DARK ROMANTIC GOTH ANTHEM FOR US AS ASHTON SAID, " THIS IS FOR YOU...THIS WAS THE KEY FOR ALL TO DANSE AND GIVE IT ALL BACK TO THE MASTER THAT PROCLAIMED IT.THEN THE LIGHTS GREW DIM AND JUST WHEN WE SAID A PRAYER TO HIGH ABOVE FOR AN ENCORE, KNOWING THE NIGHT COULD NOT END...NOTE : THIS WAS THE AWAKENING'S LAST SHOW ON THE TOUR...ASHTON AND HIS DARK COUNTERPARTS CAME OUT FOR ONE ENCORE TO PUT OUR DARK MINDS AND DARK HEARTS AT EASE...WE WERE FULFILLED, TRIUMPHANT AND HAD HOPE FOR THE DARK FUTURE. I PERSONALLY WENT TO THE LAST LEG OF THEIR TOUR SHOWS AND HAD THE MOST AMAZING TIME WITH THEM AND PLAN FOR A BIG SURPRIZE COMING IN OCTOBER THAT WILL TRUELY PROVE TO ONLY PROVE TO YOU, " THERE IS TRUTH OUT THERE ." AND THAT " IF YOU ARE AWARE YOU CAN BE AWAKENED"

CHECK OUT THE AWAKENING ~ http://www.myspace.com/theawakeningband

~ ETERNAL THANX TO THE AWAKENING ~

~ 4 STARS MICHELLE RUSSO



~ CD 1334 oF cHICAGO

Holy Fuck: 20 March 2008

 Posted by Michael Grillo  United States  Edit (4280)
Mar 24 2008
Live Act(s): Holy Fuck (@)
Event Date: 20 March 2008
Type of Event: Small Club Concert
Venue: Johnny Brenda's (@)
Rated: *****
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Using live instrumentation that includes miscellaneous instruments and non-instruments (including a 35 mm film sequencer, toy keyboards and toy phaser guns) to achieve electronic-sounding effects without the use of laptops or programmed backing tracks, Holy Fuck is an extremely fresh and innovative band that puts on a top notch show of quirky, yet danceable electro-funk. I have always been of the school of thought then when you are playing a live show, live drums are essential as it gives the set a powerful backbone that is extremely difficult to achieve with drum machines and synthesizers alone. Holy Fuck understands this dilemma well and overcome it with the use of an extremely solid rhythm section that includes a very technical drummer and a rock solid funk player. This coupled with their innovative use of electronics creates a sound that is comparable to an intelligent fusion between early Cabaret Voltaire and Curtis Mayfield, yes you read it correctly Curtis and the Cabs. What is even more impressive is how the band makes crappy low quality keyboards sound better than the latest rehash of the Korg Triton. This band is one of the best electronic acts that I have seen in a longtime and is quickly becoming my new favorite band.
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