Graveface Records Roadshow at the Triple Rock, 2/25/14
|Photo by Erik Hess|
Graveface Records Roadshow
The Casket Girls, Gramma's Boyfriend, The Stargazer Lillies, Dreamend
Triple Rock, February 25, 2014
Last week the Graveface label tour van was totaled in New York City. Despite the accident, their Graveface Records Road Show made its way safely to the Triple Rock last night, bringing electro-goth headliners the Casket Girls to the stage alongside a trio of other Graveface artists.
Graveface Records is an independent record label based in Savannah, Georgia. The label is owned and operated by Ryan Graveface of Black Moth Super Rainbow, and has released recordings by Twin Cities musicians Dosh and Haley Bonar. Bonar's spazz-rock side project Gramma's Boyfriend is soon to release an album on the label, and joined the Road Show's other three touring bands for their Minneapolis performance.
Graveface's shoegazer group Dreamend opened the show. "I ate a lot of poutine before this," he cautioned audience members in between their first couple songs. "I should have had a salad. Anyway, that's what's going on." Despite the apparent overdose on gravy-covered fries and cheese curds -- the Triple Rock does serve up a wicked poutine concoction -- Dreamend filled the dimly lit room with their unique blend of styles.
Graveface sings into a microphone concealed within a mask, the sound emanating as if from within a metal tube. Their songs rose and fell in swells, with slow sweet guitar lullabies rocking the audience gently and gaining momentum to crash like violent waves against a shore at each peak. Peter Seeba's drumming was prominent, providing a driving accompaniment to the textured guitar work. The music was loud, alluring and intricately layered.
|Photos by Erik Hess|
North Pennsylvania based outfit the Stargazer Lillies took to the stage next, again with Seeba on drums. Vocalist and bassist Kim Field began singing in a throaty voice to a backdrop of guitar providing enough noise to drown out her vocals almost entirely. While the distorted wailing of John Cep's effects-laden guitar created a fascinating wall of sound, Field seemed to have trouble maintaining her pitch as she struggled to find footing within the cacophony. Unfortunately her high notes were obviously off key, and faltered in achieving the same brilliant luster of Cep's brilliant dance between darkness and light.
For their third song, Cep took a bow to his guitar, causing an eerie dreamscape of haunting melodies to echo endlessly over the crowd. As the set continued Field seemed to slowly gain more confidence, her voice increasing in volume and precision though she remained motionless with her eyes turned to the floor. Their last song, though, was entirely devoid of vocals, effectively propelled by a dark bassline into a sprawl of screaming guitar effects. At its end the Stargazer Lillies ran from the stage into the greenroom, without a word.
Gramma's Boyfriend was a welcome departure from Field's lackluster stage presence. Bonar has her own special swag reminiscent of a cheerleader scorned. Gramma's Boyfriend is frisky, with music that immediately got the audience nodding their hands and moving their feet. It is obvious that Bonar has fun being on stage. She stomped around like a renegade marching band member, waving her hands menacingly through the air.
|Photos by Erik Hess|
Short spazzy songs like "Donkey Donkey 2x4" packed a serious punch. "First Last Reunion" was a musical ode to Bonar's high-school band Frankie Horseshit, which she claimed to have christened at the age of 16 while learning to make pizza in her Home Economics class. Another notable moment of their set was a surprisingly triumphant rendition of Daniel Johnston's "I Live My Broken Dreams." They were refreshingly spontaneous, choosing to vibe off of the audience rather than sticking to a set list.
"What do you want to hear?" Bonar asked. "We're taking requests. No we're not. Just emotions." The caliber of Bonar's powerful vocals was just as impressive as her endearing quirkiness. She transitioned seamlessly between velvety singing and punk rock shouting, giving just enough sharp edge to each piece.