This was a show I’d been looking forward to for a little bit now. And by “little bit” I really mean “skin of the teeth” *(even though teeth don’t really have skin, they have enamel – – – you should already know this – – – why do I feel like I have to teach people everything – – – Oh, Messianic Complex, I forgot). Let me explain . . .
THE FEVER is an excellent post-punk/rock-n-roll band from Berlin, Germany, generally very well liked and respected by a large portion of THE INTESTINAL FORTITUDE staff as a whole (yet particularly myself, AndroidVirus, and MoJoe, my co-host on 2 IN THE SAME BOAT WITH MOJOE & VINCENT *(our weekly Monday night live radiocast, 9pm EST to 11pm EST, if I’ve never mentioned it). I did review their DIRTY HOT ep several months ago, here amongst the Rosetta Bones, and loved it. Now an incredibly rare and rather sudden chance to catch them live *(and a mere 20 minutes from where I’ll be living for the next two weeks).
So photographer Lisa W. joined me in this venture, which I found out also included openers VOLTHEQUE *(a long-running, quite decent Philly gothatronica act), and a band I’d never heard of called BLOOD SOUND.
The “skin of the teeth” remark above has to do with the fact that both THE FEVER & AndroidVirus had asked what was available in Philly club-wise that may play them. Now, I am no promoter, but I’ve lived in this area my whole dreadful existence, and been to more places/seen more shows than I can actually remember. The Trocadero here in Philly is a long standing musical bastion, at least 25 years running as an establishment for music, and located in the heart of Philly’s Chinatown. It also has a somewhat sordid history of having been many other things, long before the rock club of dubious legend it is now. I explained it in another show review I believe *(the TESTAMENT/EXODUS live review – – – go read that, I’m not writing it twice). Anyway, I ended up throwing out some club names and numbers, and of all places it was in fact Upstairs At The Troc *(the 2nd stage upstairs; a small & intimate closed off bar on the 2nd floor of the facility) who replied, and headlined them. And, according to lead vocalist COCO, is the only club, outside of one in Berlin, to use a particularly nice picture *(the dead-sexy one emblazoned on the t-shirt I bought), on the flyer. *(Kudo’s to the Troc for that – – – ahhh, Philly, I both love it & hate it. Go figure.) Either way, they got the gig, and I was thrilled. It was all fairly last minute, too. Hence this paragraph’s, hell, this whole article’s, opening comment.
VOLTHEQUE was the first band to perform. They’ve been around the Philly “scene” for some time, and are really only one of but a small smattering of half-decent post-punk/gothatronica bands that I’ve seen come from this area in years. And this was the best I’ve seen them yet, in my many times of seeing them. The music was tight, the sound near-perfect, and lead vocalist Simone Strange is almost serpentinely entrancing as she sings and sways to the rhythms of retribution & regret behind her. They seem to conjure a sound that harkens back certain nostalgias of early-goth era’s THE CURE and SIOUXSIE & THE BANSHEES, while still retaining and creating their own distinctive, modernized sound and voice. Overall, it was an excellent, professional performance. *(Follow the links below about VOLTHEQUE.)
The next band was new to me, BLOOD SOUNDS, and I am assuming are rather new. I could be completely wrong *(if so, send me a disc or something to review). They were interesting, almost a danceable, ambient-yet-together, a three piece resembling nothing of what they played. The lead vocalist worked manic triple time in front of a series of machines, both while singing and not, as the guitar supplied an ambient backdrop, and the bass *(the payer of which remained with his back to the small turnout most of their set) a steady rhythm for which to accompany it and the odd, fluctuating and forever oscillating electro drum accompaniments. It was interesting, possibly falling into the “witchhaus” subgenre. To me, it’s gothatronica. *(Yes, my word, officially coined henceforth.)
Finally, headliners THE FEVER took to the stage. Two people, male and female, standing upon that small stage like immense teutonic gods of yore, shirtless and electrical taped X-nippled and wild and “fukk you” *(in the best possible of ways, of corpse). COCO thrashed about the stage, controlling (half) the music *(and the stage) and full-on performing all at once, without the skip of a beat. Guitarist and backing (occasionally lead) singer TEUT splashed even more kerosene onto their slow heat flashburn of a set. It was like a two-person BLONDIE *(though far more punk, in the true sense of the word, the philosophy, even including a spectacular cover of THE RUNAWAY’s classic “Cherry Bomb,”– – – than DEBBIE HARRY ever was), but the “real deal,” so to speak. I got to spend a good bit of time talking to and just hanging with the band, and they’re two of the most humble, down to earth people I’ve met. They’ve no ego, no grand delusions – – – they do it strictly for the love of the music, the performance, being natural-born artists, nomads of sound, almost like future troubadours of the now. Their set was sexy, raucous, and fun. If they come to your town GO SEE THEM. Preferably at a 21+ gig, to get the full effect. I seriously can’t wait til they come around again.
Plus, we got some great photos, not just of THE FEVER, but VOLTHEQUE and BLOOD SOUND as well.
All in all this was a great show. The most disappointing part? The turnout. I know it’s a Sunday, and it’s raining. BOO FUKKIN’ HOO. This is why your goth/post-punk scene fell apart to begin with. The apathy. And don’t give me that “I have work in the morning” crap. If these bands can play and get up for work – – – then work even more to entertain you – – – you can come out to a show. It’s shameful, really, to not even come out and support your own, let alone others who deserve the attention. But, hey, that’s the City of Brotherly Love for ya, in a nutshell. *(And I’m not claiming that I’ve never been guilty of this either.)
All three of these bands do deserve your attention, so check out what links I could dig up below, and contact them, come out and see them, and buy their music. You’re only cheating yourself otherwise.
Vincent Daemon, writer, editor, musician, photgrapher, film/music buff and historian, and rabblerouser, can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/vincent.daemon.1 as well as his spontaneously updated blog of writing news and nonsense THE WRITINGS OF A DEPRAVED MIND http://vincentdaemon.blogspot.com/Some of his music can be painfully experienced at http://www.reverbnation.com/vincentdaemonsageofdesire3 His email firstname.lastname@example.org