Friday, September 7, 2012
Dead Can Dance: Live Review
Dead Can Dance has been one of my favorite bands for some time , in the musical spectrum I have viewed them as the Yin to Swans yang, dark but uplifting to the more sonic pound of Gira and friends. I attempted to see them 16 years ago but my drug intake that evening had other plans , so this was the second chance I was certain I wouldn't get, so the ticket price was of no consequence.
I was Asked for a play by play and this is what they got...
8:36 never seen as many tattooed house wives in one place
8:38: opening act done
8:46 they haven't started playing yet but their equipment is in place
8:48 there are definitely a lot of carry overs from dragon con here
8:49 they tested the smoke machine
9:00 they are goin on
9:16 in the third song and already this shit is awesome
9:57: Lisa is wearing a gold cape
10:27 left the stage waiting for their encore
10:44 they are doing a weird cover of song to the siren
The Cobb Energy Center which is an arts complex now home to both the Atlanta Opera and Ballet was a surreal experience which located in the very conservative suburbs out side of Atlanta was spitting distance from a strip mall. Inside the venue which is around five years old still retains the new car smell. The crowd made it seem as if the Tardis had transported me to an art gallery circa 1995, as it was goths carrying the torch as well as suburban grey hairs and affluent gays. I came across a grey haired man wearing a Feilds of the Nephillim shirt and found it so odd I had to strike up a conversation with him. The state of suburban goth girls grown up was a sad one as most consigned themselves to being arm candy to beer bellied I.t guys, i guess when your dreams of being whisked away to Robert Smith's castle in the sky vanishes settle for whatever eharmony throws your way.
They too the stage with little fanfare despite Lisa Gerrad's regal prescene. I think she has eclipsed Siouxsie as goth royalty and having seen the Banshees twice it is safe to say Siouxsie can't hold a candle to Lisa's power . The solid drumming on the operner allowed me to key in on the slight "tomorrow never knows" cadance to "children of the sun" Lisa stood up front and played the yanqin a Chinese hammer dulcimer and took the back ground to key synth on some of Perry's songs, during the trade offs Perry would play a mandolin for the majority of the show he did pick up a guitar for a song.
So almost two hours of entrancement,the only thing keeping this from being the best show ever was the set list was primarily new songs, not that I don't like the new album but for 80.00 dollars there are others songs I would have preferred to have heard and they haven't played them in Sixteen years so they can't very well be burned out on them. "the Umbiquitous Mr. Lovegrove" was the shows high point for me and overall all Brendan Perry's performance almost stole the show, though when Gerrad did open her mouth the sing her voice held a timbre that invoked Majick. When I first started listening to Dead Can Dance I would fast forward past Perry's songs because his voice reminded me of Neil Diamond...and yes the albums I had were on tape that's how long I've been listening to them. I grew into his songs and now they are among my favorites in fact I wished they would have preformed " the Carnival is over" as that is my post dragon-con theme song.
Any excuses you make regarding your favorite singer not quite nailing it due to their age are now null and void after this performance as Gerrad cut through with a power the albums just don't convey. While live several I note similarities to Sade, who smooth studio work isn't the clearest indication of her true capabilities . Also the very sensual nature of what they do is tangible but with a coat of melancholy Sade of course does not possess.
It was interesting hearing brendon perry cover Tim Buckley's "song to a siren" as the Elizabeth Frasier sung version which overshadowed the original is on the same This Mortal Coil album that Dead Can Dance is on. It proved to be a fitting tribute to the ands reverent relationship with their fans. How many shows do you hear the singer say " this next song is 800 years old" , which I think says volumes about what they do and the lasting power their music will have as it was clear even though the came from the 80s goth scene, they transcend that where other bands become weighed down by the restrictions of genres and trends they rode in on . I doubt there will be another chance to see them since it took sixteen years for this to happen , so I can accept this as their swan song though if presented again with another opportunity to see them what would pay whatever the ticket price.