The Cruxshadows have a grand reputation as one of the world’s greatest live acts within the dark music scene. They promote a message of love and their songs blend elements of classical, Industrial and darkwave music. The band (made up of two violinists, two singer / dancers, one guitarist and one…’Rogue’ on vocals put on a show in York tonight that is nothing short of epic.
First, we catch a glimpse of opening band and York’s favourite sons of darkness (and wit), The Screaming Banshee Aircrew. In fact we caught a little more than that as Mister Ed (vocalist) is so happy to see us, he gets his chest out – truly delightful. It is a short but sweet reunion for us but we are treated to the band’s unique, brash, intelligent and hard-hitting post-punk sounds and the chest… that made us (and the country) fall in love with this lot in the first place. It’s the general opinion that this lot are getting better and better each year – we definitely agree and are excited to see what the SBA have in store for 2010.
Now, we have long considered follow-up act Ayria to be one of standout electro-Industrial bands in the world. Her sound is an instantly accessible mix of rock, Industrial and cyberpunk influences. Tonight the Canadian two-piece are on top form – it’s a shame that there is now a few foot between the stage and the crowd (presumably in preparation for the mass onslaught of The Cruxshadows). Behind the newly placed barrier people are bouncing around and getting their groove on after Jennifer Parkin works hard to motivate and excite both established and new fans. Standout tracks from the set include particularly energetic renditions of ‘The Gun Song’ and ‘My Revenge On The World’ – these are angst-ridden and synth-driven rocky beasts that will appeal to fans of everything from Angelspit to Collide via Jack Off Jill. Having already notched up some impressive support slots over here, we imagine that the next time we see Ayria they may well be on a headline tour of their own.
Headliners The Cruxshadows are something different – really. The seven-piece have created a something grand – like an Industrial opera featuring everything from metallic guitars to ballet dancing and movement improvisation using cloth. There is nothing typical about this band, and we can’t really pick a flaw within their glittery black armour – each member looks and acts the part, bouncing around and thrashing their instrument to the delight of the glowstick-wielding crowd.
Their sound is wholly uplifting, passionate and emotive throughout, standout tunes include, ‘Deception’ and ‘Birthday’ – these tracks are packed with lyrics and melodies that make one feel grateful, determined and inspired all at the same time. On our favourite, ‘Winterborn This Sacrifice’, JoHanna Moresco and David Wood’s tandem violin work intermingles nicely within Cassandra Luger’s frenzied guitar strumming and Pyromantic’s less visual but equally as important keyboard contributions. Indeed, Rogue is one of the most captivating vocalists we have seen in a long while (of course, he knows it), he gets in with the crowd, stands on the seating areas and takes the show to pretty much everyone in the room – it’s an nice change to see this level of interaction in Fibbers. Of course, we should not forget the contributions of the singer / dancers. Jessica Lackey (Rogue’s wife – we checked this because they shared a passionate snog mid-audience), and Stephanie Griffith produce some astounding dancing (and backing vocals) with movement dealing in a variety of styles including ballet, progressive and just plain sexy.
It’s very positive for Northern dark culture to see one of Goth’s most successful bands (The Cruxshadows’ recent single ‘Quicksilver’ went to number one on the US Billboard Charts ahead of Lady Gaga…), rock York this evening. We hope that more popular “underground” dark music makes it this far North in the new year. You will never see a show like this anywhere else – to anyone reading, check out a CXS live show. This is a group that has far more to offer everyone within the alternative market than just being a band full of good looking Goths with impeccable musical talent and wicked dance skills. We’d never seen this group live before tonight and they are one of the best acts we have seen all year.
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