COLUMBUS, Ohio — More then a hundred weary souls braved the cold and ice of the Feb. 2, winter-night as they ventured through the elements to Outlands Nightclub, here, for a triple-bill performance featuring darkwave, goth, industrial-dance acts – Ego Likeness, Ayria and The Cruxshadows.
Flyers for the show announced a prompt start time of 9 p.m. Promptness was replaced by flexibility as the Baltimore based Ego Likeness hit the stage just before 10 p.m. But hey, this is a Goth show, so the later the better, right?
Donna Lynch led the vocal attack as Steven Archer slung his Gibson Les Paul and Justin "Dingo" Sabe worked his keytar to perfection. Ego Likeness played through a nearly 45 minute set, immersing the crowd in their lush soundscapes of heavy electronica blended with a dash of darkwave.
Toward the end of their set, Lynch, a classically trained pianist, sat down behind her keyboard and enchanted the crowd with her masterful playing and vocals. Ego Likeness is a tight act who've demonstrably put their time in on the road as evidenced by their playful interaction and easy manner on a somewhat crowded stage.
Offering a counter to the darker sounds of Ego Likeness, up next was Toronto's Aryia, a high energy, industrial-dance, two-piece. For as long as I've listened to this sub-genre of music (it’s got so many names these days, I don’t even know what to call it all) I’m still constantly blown away by the massiveness of sound capable with just two people manning the helm.
Ayria was no exception as Jennifer Parkin, vocals and music programming, and Joe Byer, keyboard, took to the stage and launched into a throbbing mash of heavy beats and textured sounds. Ahhh, to have the energy of youth as both Parkin and Byer jumped around the stage letting loose tracks from the bands 2005 release, Flicker, including the dance floor hit "My Revenge on the World." Byer almost seemed like his keyboard may have offended him in some fashion as he jumped about, slamming his fingers down onto the keys, demanding sound from the instrument. Parkin was equally engaging, her pinned up locks flailing about as she jumped up and down inches away from the crowd, challenging them to one-up her energy.
While they might not have one up her, they did keep pace, waving their hands in the air in an almost hip-hop concert moment, mouthing the words to each song. Going strong for an hour, an understandably out of breath Parkin announced the final song of the evening followed by The Cruxshadows.
I must give kudos here noting that Outland Nightclub did a really good job of making up for that lost hour earlier in the evening with barely enough time between sets to dash outside for a quick smoke. I missed the first minute of Ayria's set. As I was sucking down my cancer stick, I heard the throbbing beat coming through the wall, snubbed out my butt, and dashed back inside.
The Cruxshadows is currently in the midst of a grinding tour that’s taken them across the globe in support of their latest release, Dreamcypher. The band is as much about their stage performance as they are their music and both were in top form – lead singer Rogue, emerged from the crowd and the performance began. The Cruxshadows, fairies; Jessica Lackey and Sarah Poulos, hypnotized the crowd as their scantly clad bodies swayed and moved to the music. More then just dancers, Lackey and Poulos vocally backed up Rogue as he emotively gave voice to songs spanning 13 releases and, at least it seemed, the Columbus crowd knew every word of every song.
I was particularly enchanted by the lithe figure of Rachel McDonnell, who will leave the band after this tour, as she occasionally moved to the front of the stage, her violin in hand culling from the four strings sounds of beauty and wonder. It struck me clearly and with full intensity why the violin was ever given "devil's box" moniker as I watched McDonnell's finger masterfully run up and down the neck of the gentle instrument pulling such beautiful melodies something diabolic had to be afoot. Cruxshadows played for more then an hour as pockets of dance circles sprouted around the floor. Much to the crowds delight, Cruxshadow came back to the stage for an encore presentation of their singles "Marilyn, My Bitterness" and "Dragonfly."
Cruxshadows continues their world tour through the U.S. until March 10 when they head across the Atlantic, April 27, to begin a European leg of the tour featuring a detour through Beijing for the MIDI Festival, May 2.