SLEEP GENIUS SHOWCASE w/RINGO DEATHSTARR
BAD NEWS/CHASMS/NEVER KNOWS/CRY
THEE PARKSIDE, SF, CA
A recent field trip to San Francisco yielded great dividends in the form of a Sleep Genius Records showcase at Thee Parkside. Special guest Ringo Deathstarr from Austin, Texas held down the headliner slot, putting a cap on a lineup that otherwise spoke to the vision and diversity of the label. Bad News, Chasms, Never Knows, and Cry filled out the bill, each bringing their own twist to the proceedings. Cry kicked off the label's first showcase since their formation a few years back, and the male/female synth duo was perfectly placed, a party starter if ever there was one, rocking their Rolands with an attack reminiscent of the late Handsome Furs. Covering Prince's "Nothing Compares 2U" was merely the icing on the cake. Never Knows picked up the gauntlet, sticking with the machine theme, but taking things to a darker place entirely. The beauty of the dark wave of '80's dance music was its insistence on The Journey, that it would take you somewhere, as opposed to the weak-kneed Sudoku of much of today's EDM, and whoever the mysterious Never Knows may be, he adheres to that statute, knowing that it is, to paraphrase those great American philosophers Funkadelic, the brain that will set the behind free. Any friend of these pages is more than likely already conversant with SF dark noise duo Chasms, (Jess Labrador and Sky Madden), whom we last encountered earlier this year in Davis, CA. This evening marked their first hometown show of the year, and the evidence is viewable below, from the opening notes to the closing chaos, the siren song remains the same. The big news on their front is an upcoming LP, Subtle Bodies, and a series of Southern California shows celebrating the release, one of which we will most certainly catch. Bad News hews back to the early days of industrial, before the dance element was totally sandbagged for nu-metal. The duo was anchored by the intense stage presence of Sarah Bernat, while Alex S. Lukas churned up great clouds of noise. Highlight of their set was the song that took the phrase 'Apologize' through commanding repetition to a universal accusation on into salvation. Utterly overwhelming and spellbinding. Ringo Deathstarr more than lived up to their name, with the trio kicking out dark clouds of shoegaze goodness, unflummoxed by recurring sound issues, they kept it short and taut and winning, working out songs from their new LP God's Dream. While it was hard to recreate the lushness of the vocals with mic issues, they kept the overall volume loud enough to get lost in the waves of sound. It was great to finally catch them live, and a good opportunity for them as a tuneup for their forthcoming tour which sees them working from their homebase in Texas up to NYC, where they'll pick up a number of shows across the North and Midwest opening up for Peter Murphy.