The Atmospheric/Ambient styling of Jarboe, formerly of the band Swans would perform at a new club called Santo’s Party House in NYC this weekend and I was there to observe and report on what would transpire. The interesting night also found me catching the bands Cult Of Youth and Bloody Panda, one a Celtic Rock act while the other was Doom Metal crushing. Jarboe was continuing to support her latest album “Mahakali” and should you want to learn and see more about the show, just keep on scrolling.
Venue: Santos Party House (New York, NY)
Opener: Bloody Panda, Cult Of Youth
Label: The End Records
Having been left curious and scratching my head just a bit after hearing the two Jarboe CD’s that I’m in possession of, I had to admit that there was enough of a feeling of intrigue in my musical mind to find me open enough to catch her doing her thing in concert. It’s been documented that the singers “J2” CD left me wanting but I had enjoyed enough of its follow up “Mahakali” to find myself at a place called Santos Party House this evening. The interest level arose quite a bit when the prospect of examining a new venue would also be a part of the musical treats this evening and as I arrived at the oddly named venue down on Lafayette Street I realized that it was right around the corner from a favorite restaurant of mine – Nha Trang. For those who are not too clear on Jarboe or what it is she does, well, she is formerly the singer for a band called Swans which was considered a leading Post Punk band. Here is how the event went down this evening.
Cult of Youth: The first band up was a Celtic Folk Rock sounding type of outfit which is always a sound that I like even though I often opt for the heavier and darker side of music. It was a six-piece group that was fronted and apparently led by their singing guitarist Sean Ragon. He used an acoustic while to his left another guitar player ocassionly offered up some riffs as needed. There were two drummers which i found interesting since this is not something one commonly sees anymore outside of jam bands or The Grateful Dead and Allman Brothers. Their keys player swapped between the boards and the bass guitar depending on the tune and there was also the presence of a voilinist. They had a nice sound and much of it was driving and was keeping my interest. They had a nice show of support from their friends and among the songs that I caught the name of was “A New Dawn On The Rise”. I would catch them again and if music that has a bit of classic Rock vibe with a Folk edge is your thing then I suggest you keep your eyes open for them. Bloody Panda was coming up next and would be another new band for me to witness in action.
Bloody Panda: The nights adventure continued with this interesting Doom Metal band who at six members strong all came out wearing hoods. All of them except the female lead singer/screamer/wailer that is. This reminded me a lot of what I had seen when Goblin Cock played a few months ago. I know that Sunn O))) employs this look as well, and perhaps I am missing something by not realizing that this is common practice among the Doom bands that are on the scene today. I really did like the crushing power that they put out and had to say that they were very heavy and also very together in their sound. The cloaked dudes when unmasked are known as Josh Rothenberger (guitar), Blake McDowell (organs), Lev Weinstein (drums), Bryan Camphire (bass) and Gerry Mak (vocals). I had to admire the work put into the outfit by Blake who had a whole Dark Sorcerer motif to him while Bryan reminded me of an executioner. The lead singer is Yoshiko Ohara who does a number of different things with her voice and if you like this kind of thing then you will love them. I was also impressed by Gerry who did a weird effect with his voice that I later learned was called “Tuvan Throatsinging”. They are signed to Profound Lore records and their latest recording is called “Pheromone”. Sadly, Miss Ohara never really looked at the audience once during the performance nor even addressed them. I personally don’t like that aspect of the bands and feel as though I am observing rehearsal as opposed to a show. Of course this could also be something that I was unaware of and a standard practice in the Modern Doom Metal Movement. As their set drew close to conclusion the Wizard spoke softly saying “we’re Bloody Panda and we have one more” and then they were gone. Good luck guys and girl. Now it was time for Jarboe, and the venue seemed to be as crowded as it was going to get with a good hundred or so folks based on my quick observation of the general floor area.
Jarboe: So despite Jarboe being the headliner tonight she was going to go on third as opposed to last and while this would cost me the chance to catch the band IUD, I really didn’t mind in the end for she was all that I had planned on seeing in the first place tonight. Given I had already been afforded a couple of other cool musical surprises this evening I was cool with it and felt that I would probably catch them around the general scene. Tonight would be the final night of Jarboe’s tour and she had only returned from her European shows very recently if not the day before this show. She would be supporting her recent work “Mahakali” which is an interesting piece of music that finds both Phil Anselmo (Pantera, Down) and Attila Csishar (Mayhem) offering up some vocals on a couple of tracks. Jarboe’s music is not easily understood if you are one of those listeners that need a strictly followed format in their songs and while I cannot claim to be as open to everything that is out there as that makes me sound, I do love to find groups experimenting and still managed to found Jarboe puzzling me on “J2” and intriguing me with “Mahakali”. The band began with the tune “A Sea Of Blood and Hollow Screaming” and from the moment they began the night and the venue was filled with an interesting mood at every note. It’s safe to say that while this is atmospheric and avant-garde it is also both experimental and ethereal in its context. Jarboe seemed to be hypnotizing her fans that stood still and quiet as she sang and only broke from this state at the closure of the tune when the applause was necessary.
Joining Jarboe in her band was Cedric Victor (bass), Josh Lazano (guitar), Erik Wunder (drums) and Fade Kainer (keyboards, samples, percussion). I was happy to see Fade working in the band as I had previuosly enjoyed his work with both Still Life Decay and Ascension Of The Watchers. Lazano hails from Inswarm, which is another band that Kainer actually works with at this time. It seemed that most of the nights short set was coming from the singer’s latest album which is served up via The End Records and comes in both a standard and special edition with a few more tracks. “House Of Void” kept my interest quite a bit this evening as this was a driving drum driven track that even found Kainer stepping outside of his keyboard rig to deliver some drumming on an African drum of some kind. It might have been a conga drum, but it was too small for me to think that it was this initially. This was my favorite track of the night and after “Kali Lamentation” was played the band simply walked off the stage while Fade played some additional effects on the boards until it reached its crescendo and then he did the same. In the end there were only five tunes which I felt was a little short, but oh well, the show still served the point and seemed to satisfy all of her fans who had assembled this evening. While it would have been super cool to have the surprise guest appearance from either Phil or Attila; this was not to be the case tonight. Oh well, you can’t always get what you want like the song says.
So in the end I had to say that this was a lot more interesting an fun that I had ever expected it to be, and I was leaving with a better appreciation for what Jarboe does, and also left with some new music in my mind and had enjoyed this in a new venue. As far as clubs go, the Santo’s Party House was pretty cool. The venue I was in was on the first floor and had a reasonably good sized general floor. I figure that about 200 plus can fit there comfortable and there is also a table area towards the back on a riser. There are speakers everywhere and a great sound system. The lighting seemed pretty good as well and I would definitely come to see bands playing here again should the opportunity arise.
1. Sea Of Blood
2. Durga VIII
3. House Of Void
4. Maha Kali, of Terrifying Vegeance
5. Kali Lamentation V