Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Show Review - 5.2.05 - Hungry Lucy & Bloodwire

Let me start by saying that War-N Harrison & Christa Belle (of Hungry Lucy) are two of the nicest people I've come across in the music business. I first got introduced to Hungry Lucy back in 2002 when booking the lineup for SynFest, an electronic music conference and concert. Their first album, 'Apparitions', had just been released. I was impressed with it and worked with War-N to bring them up to Cleveland. They put on a great show, as they have every time I've seen them since. I was saddened, though, as running around helping out with the rest of the show prevented me from simply sitting down and enjoying their set.

The next time around was in 2003, during the tour for their second album, 'Glo'. This time around, instead of booking them, we (Subliminal Self) got a chance to open for them. It was probably one of my favorite shows of ours and favorite shows of the year, period. Yea, we were still, at that time, working out the kinks of our live performances, but it was still great fun and I got a chance to sit down an enjoy a good show, after we were done.

Skip forward to 2005, now they're on the tour for their 3rd album, 'To Kill a King'. I'd heard from War-N when he was booking the tour, to see if I'd be able to arrange the Cleveland show (and, of course, open for them). Unfortunately, at the time, I was working two jobs and Greyson was still off the radar, so I really didn't have the time or energy to put into making the sort of show I felt they deserved. So I was delighted when I discovered that they were still coming to Cleveland (along with Bloodwire) and playing a free show, nonetheless.

Doors opened up at 9:00pm (and, like a goob, I showed up on-time). Hungry Lucy were still soundchecking at the time, so I sat down, spilling some beer on myself in the process, when I discovered that the couch doesn't really have any spring left to it's springs. They went on at 9:40 to a mostly empty room. That's not to say the *bar* was empty. Mondays also happen to be 0.50 PBR draught nights, so the "I'm so ironic" indie rock crowd was there in force. But, they weren't moving from the bar for anything. So, the band played to about 5 people (unfortunately, no exaggeration), probably the smallest crowd I've seen for them. Like true professionals, though, they proceeded to put on a great show, complete with their trademark video projections, the quality of which I've seen improve by leaps and bounds each time I see them. The video is usually some abstract film, very well edited and filmed (I believe this is the realm of the singer, Christa). I'd be very interested to see them release a DVD of just the films. They performed songs from all three of their albums, with the older songs updated to liven them up a bit. I was a bit saddened that they didn't play one of my favorite songs from 'Apparitions', "Bound in Blood", but they did have a great set, playing songs like "Bed of Flames", "Fearful" (my favorite song from 'Glo'), and "You Are". They also had the addition of some live drumming from War-N (which worked really well) and a bit of live keyboard from Christa (which worked fine. I mean to say that it didn't really add to the performance, for me, but didn't take away from it either. It simply was.) Overall, a great set. I didn't want them to stop.

Once they got offstage, I said hello to War-N, who, even though I've only really met the guy twice before, he knew me and treated me as a good friend. We shot the shit about how their tour was going; I bought some cd's ("to help pay for gas"), etc. I've seen, from their online forums, they treat all their fans like that. This is awesome. I've seen bands avoid fans, running to the backstage once their set is done and I've seen bands hang out behind the merch booth to sign autographs after the set, but very few who treat their fans simply as their friends who came out to the show. Instead, they have an amazing rapport with their fans, one which, I believe, will give them the loyalty that will make people go out of their way to support them (at least, so I hope).

Anyways, up next was Bloodwire, a band who, to be honest, I hadn't heard much of. I browsed through their website, before the show, but not much more than that. I was very impressed, though! Again, like Hungry Lucy, Bloodwire is another couple/duo with I-Li Chang (on vocals and guitar) and Shawn Brice (previously of Battery fame, on keyboards and guitar). They ran through a set which one person described as "European sounding" electro/industrial pop. Particularly, their songs "Hallway" and "Remains" blew me away, both becoming instant favorites. It's, by far, the best thing I've heard come out of the breakup of Battery. This 70-year-old guy in a windbreaker, who danced his ass off during most of the set, also enhanced their performance. You, truly, expected the guy to drop and start breakdancing at any second. This was how energetic and absurd this guy was. The crowd loved him, the band loved him, I want to pay this guy to come to *my* shows. The show ended at 11:30, amidst cries of "encore!" (unfortunately, Bloodwire, being a new band, has a very limited catalog and had played through all of it). Oh, Genevieve will enjoy this; they also played a cover of "Three Imaginary Boys". What is it with these electronic acts covering obscure Cure songs?

I'm already looking forward to the next Hungry Lucy tour.