Photographer: Tim Sin, courtesy of Bar Sinister
With seminal darkwave act Attrition in the house, the audience was ready for a night of operatic and decadent electronics. First, though, was surprise opening act High Blue Star, a trip-hop duo out of Minnesota. Their music was both menacing and beautiful, heavy on the bass-end but all in fuzzed-out minor keys. Vocalist Laurie Reade twisted and gyrated across the stage like some demon-possessed robot while eerie occult imagery flickered on the video screen. It was an atmospheric and memorable performance for those lucky ones who arrived early enough to see it. Reade is also featured as the female vocalist in Attrition for the current tour, and her performance in the headlining act was just as mesmerizing. Attrition’s founder Martin Bowes brought his dry British style to the stage, growling into the microphone and gesturing dramatically with a bundle of incense while studiously avoiding eye contact with the crowd, but it was Reade who stole the show. Vocally she ably filled the shoes of Julia Waller, who does most of the female vocals for Attrition in the studio, and her manic physicality gave Attrition’s set a far more dynamic stage presence than most all-electronic acts could hope for. The audience was into it as well, and Bowes seemed unprepared for the level of response he received; when the fans demanded an encore, he had to do a reprise of “Dante’s Kitchen,” which the band had already played earlier in the evening. No one seemed to mind, however, which just goes to show that you can’t have too much of a good thing.
Check out High Blue Star at www.highbluestar.com and see www.attrition.co.uk for the latest news from Martin Bowes and friends.