Legendary Pink Dots at Crescent Ballroom and Kepi Ghoulie at Trunk Space
It wasn't just Depeche Mode that brought their road show to the Phoenix area last night - - though you'd never have known it by the seemingly endless amounts of pictures and videos that were flooding Facebook all night.
Downtown's Crescent Ballroom featured another prolific band formed in early '80s England, the Legendary Pink Dots, who are in the midst of celebrating their 33rd tour--yep, three decades-plus.
Edward Ka-Spel, Phil Knight and Eric Drost gave the modest but obviously devoted crowd a taste of their avant-experimental songs that come from the union of keyboards, electronics, and guitars.
In general, the band has mastered fusing elements of synthpop, noise rock, neo-folk and psych to create layered pieces that, especially at live shows, provoke a simultaneous response of equal parts dance frenzy and heady restraint, keeping you riding a consistently boisterous wave, sometimes moving you into a closed-eye dream state. Ka-Spel's voice may sometimes sounds like a bastard child of his peers Peter Murphy and Current 93's David Tibet, but the way he commands it sets it apart. His vocal power and interest in lyrical tales of lore came through with some real intensity, especially in songs like "Casting the Runes."
It would have been easy to shut the night down on LPD's ambient and oft-relaxing sounds, but I thought, "nah, screw that," and headed to Trunk Space to catch Kepi Ghoulie (of the Groovie Ghoulies), who, lucky for us, tours so much and plays in Phoenix so often that tonight I overheard an argument in which one party insisted that he is a downtown resident.