BLOOD AXIS, CHANGES
THE LINDBERGH BABY, DREAM INTO DUST
27th March 2005
Reprinted from www.heimdallr.ch
Presented by Tesco USA as either 'A Descent into the Maelstrom' or a celebration of the Black Easter, this evening gathering for the first time well known names of the American experimental/industrial/folk scene such as Blood Axis, Changes and Dream Into Dust was a rare event, even on American soil.
Despite the change of the venue (caused by the usual pressure from the usual obscurantists) and the +21 age restriction of the private club, the Demerara, soon became the meeting point for about 150/200 persons, all non violent just present to see their 'local' bands perform and enjoy an evening of friendly atmosphere.
The merchandising stands of the bands and Tesco USA was localised downstairs where the trailer from the forthcoming DIJ Documentary 'Behind the Mask' was also projected in repeat. Only a few minutes running time that predict to an unusual and very professional documentary. The strange (but hypnotising) set played by DJ Darryl Hell combined with the visual focusing on Douglas P. created a particular atmosphere at this corner of the room...
The opening act for the evening was the New York based formation Dream Into Dust who appeared for the first time on stage as a quartet leaded by Derek Rush (vocals and acoustic guitar), Bryin Dall (electric guitar), Isaiah Singer (bass) and Eric Schlappi (keyboard). I was curious to see them live as, from what I had heard on record, I considered Dream Into Dust as an interesting band, able to fusion different styles (from noisy experimental to (dark) folk compositions) while keeping control and never sounding cacophonic. So I expected an unclassifiable performance and that's what they delivered... a set made of a subtle and balanced mix of dark folk passages and industrial/ambient/experimental electronic elements. I guess that everyone who paid attention to their set felt carried away by their soundscapes, intrigued by the machete that Bryin used on his electric guitar and convinced by the vocals and Derek's stage presence and the talent of the four musicians.
Followed a short set from The Lindbergh Baby, the project of the Blood Axis percussionist Scott Broderick (vocals and guitar) assisted by Michael Moynihan (accordion and bodhran) and Annabel Lee (violin). It was the very first concert of this new trio and no doubt that their 'impromptu' performance will have pleased to those who have an inclination for American country folk ballads (in the vein of 16 Horsepower). A nice transition between the experimental sounds of Dream Into Dust and the folk acts that were to follow...
It's a bit delicate to comment the Changes concert as I had the huge honour and pleasure to play drums with them on a few songs. No doubt that the Changes fans present in the audience will have enjoyed that they passed in review a good part of their repertoire... where classics ('The Saddest Thing', 'Fire of Life', 'Icarus'...) alternated with songs from their last album 'Orphan in the Storm' ('Sailor's Song', 'Somewhere in the Night', 'Changes (Theme)'... ) and unreleased compositions such as the beautiful 'Autumn Day', 'Book of Misery', 'Candle Light' or the instrumental 'Guitar Interlude' played by Nicholas alone.
The warm applauses that punctuated each song and the end of their set, were obvious signs that the folk noir duo has (at last) conquered its peers and new fans or that the American fellows have (at last) 'realised' that they had their 'own' folk pioneers to be proud of.
Michael Moynihan joined Robert and Nicholas on vocals for the two last songs ('Waiting for the Fall', 'Twilight of the West') that definitely convinced an audience already under the charm of their timeless love and/or apocalyptic folk songs. I guess that people won't contradict me if I mention the simplicity and kindness of Nicholas and Robert on stage... even if their set was over, they still played 'R.I.P. Van Winkle's Pipe Dream' as an ultimate one (and after playing a long set of 21 songs!) just because a fan in the audience requested it.
Blood Axis was the most expected moment by the audience, of course that soon appeared to be more numerous and absolutely fascinated by what was happening on stage as soon as Michael began to play the first notes of 'Herjafather' on his accordion. Accompanied by Annabel Lee (violin, accordion, vocals), Bob Ferbrache (guitar, effects), Jonathan Loose (bass, vocals) and Scott Broderick (drums, vocals), they played a fine selection of classics ('Eternal Soul', 'The Hangman and the Papist', 'The March of Brian Boru', 'Lord of Ages', 'Reign I Forever' ), new songs ('The song of the Comrade' with Annabel on accordion and Michael on bodhran really convincing live and that contains all the musical and lyrical ingredients to please to the neofolk lovers) or songs played for the first time (a lively 'Wir rufen deine Wölfe', an impressive and minimal interpretation of the English folk ballad 'Twa Corbies' by Michael alone on vocals and bodhran), or played only live like the beautiful 'Life' and, as usual, the cover of the Joy Division 'They walked in Line' was played as an encore.
A strong and impressive performance! I think that everybody will have appreciated it at its true value, knowing that (as mentioned by Michael during the concert) it's unlikely that Blood Axis will ever play in NYC again. There are real reasons to nourish regrets for those who have missed them, as this band really deserves the cult status they built up over the years, thanks to their persistence, talent, professionalism and intelligence It's a vain task to try to describe such a performance... since there are no convenient words to express the power of the most electrified and tense part of the show as well as the intimate and traditional facet of the songs played in their most humble expression. You just had to experience it for yourself.
The same conclusion applies to the whole evening that was definitely a successful event. I wish the Tesco team to keep the faith and the energy to reorganise such events in the future.
[Nathalie F. has several more photos of this event and several links to people involved with its organization at www.heimdallr.ch/Live_Reports/2005/Maelstrom-NYC.html] -ed.