The New Year’s Eve festivities at Bar Sinister started off rather quietly with a performance from ethereal trio Claire Voyant, who started their set off with the beautiful but sedate “Love Is Blind” from their album of the same name. Things picked up a bit with “Pieces,” but overall the band’s set was more of a relaxing backdrop to the early part of the evening than a full-on party, with singer Victoria Lloyd’s throaty, sorrowful wails delivered over guitarist Ben Fargen’s effects-laden strums and keyboardist Chris Ross’s subtle beats and textures on such epic gothic ballads as “Close To Me” and special rewritten version of “Majesty,” originally released on 1998’s Time and the Maiden. The three were in fine form, despite the fact that they haven’t released in album in four years, and if anything sounded better than ever. If this performance is anything to go by, their forthcoming album Lustre should be their best yet.The Birthday Massacre
Toronto up-and-comers the Birthday Massacre took the stage at the stroke of midnight amidst much hooting, hollering and champagne guzzling, all dressed in matching black and white formal outfits decorated with numerous bracelets and skater shoes, and played a spooky instrumental introduction before lead singer Chibi took the stage.Chibi
Chibi is visually reminiscent of Bjork, only more engaging and not irritating at all, and within seconds had the crowd eating from the palm of her hand, toying coquettishly with her skirt on the upbeat numbers like “Horror Show” while growling with a cute but convincing menace through the chorus of heavier songs like “Lovers End” or fan favorite “Happy Birthday.”
This was the band’s very first California show, and their audience was nothing if not eager, hands outstretched to the stage, screaming along the lyrics to their personal favorites. Apart from Bella Morte, I can think of no other band in the current underground gothic scene with as much commercial potential as the Birthday Massacre, and seeing them in the flesh only cements that opinion. Catch them on tour in 2006 if you can, because it will probably be your last chance to see them in such an intimate setting.
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