Gospel Claws, Crescent Ballroom, 11/30/12
Troy Farah Joel Marquard of Gospel Claws Rocks Out (Literally)
Gospel Claws, Sleep Money, Vial of Sound, Knesset, Zero Zero, Me Vale Madre @ Crescent Ballroom|11/30/12
Leave it to Crescent Ballroom to have such a fantastic representation of local acts here in metropolitan Phoenix. Last night may have been an LP release party for Gospel Claws, but the lineup (including Knesset, Me Vale Madre, Sleep Money, Zero Zero and Vial of Sound) was almost like a mini-festival, an excellent eclectic exemplification of what the Valley has to offer.
With so many bands, it's understandable that the 8 o'clock start time wasn't honored. I arrived a little before 7:30 and just caught the end of Sleep Money's act, but damn, I wanted more. Singing from behind a podium decorated with Catholic prayer candles, frontman Adam dented his washboard with a tambourine, giving this awesome percussion sound to their sampled drums. It was dark, sort of gothic without being cheesy and overall fantastic.
Tony Squid of Me Vale Madre (who played next) lamented to me that his band's technical difficulties with their laptops held them back, but I disagree. They killed it, especially with their sudden transitions from melodic, progressive rock to disoriented, balls-to-the-wall noise. It brings me back to Tony's Attack of the Giant Squid days in the best possible way.
In total contrast was Vial of Sound, who probably had about 20 keyboards on stage. I sometimes wonder if I'm too easily drawn to anything synth-related, but yeah, it goes without saying I loved this, even their use of the vocoder for incoherent banter between songs. It was danceable, and kickass projected visuals evoked The Matrix. Too bad it was so dead on the dance floor.
But there is one thing Vial of Sound was lacking: a female. Always have a chick in your band. You not only have instant sex appeal, you can do the whole contrasting male/female vocal thing, sort of like The Kills, which is fucking sexy. Zero Zero, who were up next, get the idea. Lead singer Nicole Laurenne wore stark white go-go boots and commanded the stage, playing two keyboards at once and belting her heart out. She was the only feminine aspect on stage the entire night and she was a breath of fresh air.
Eric Graf of Knesset told me they're planning to release an EP soon, possibly in January. Not sure if I should dispel that rumor just yet, but, hey, get excited, you guys! Knesset was as good as ever, even keel with their spirals of early Death Cab-inspired waves. They closed with an untitled new song, in which Evan Fox's vocals are far more aggressive than usual. "I'm trying to branch out," he later explained.