Posts Tagged ‘Theatre’

Futura Futura Records – 6th April 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Ah, romantic love… that all-encompassing, all-immersive burst of excitement that comes with the new. It’s that euphoria that drives people crazy, that people spend half their lives chasing, only to find it elusive, and it’s the blinding dazzlement of this ‘love’ that’s inspired infinite pop songs and poems through the ages: it was the very cornerstone of the tropes for the Elizabethan sonnet, and not a lot has changed in five hundred years, in real terms. It’s not that it’s a myth, it’s just that it’s fleeting at best.

Subterranean Lovers know this when they sing ‘I want to love you like a mother / I want to love you like a king / I want to love you like a god / I want to love you more than I’ve loved anything / I want to love you like a poet / I want to love you like an artist…’ and this makes ‘Brilliant Things’ a savvy slice of gothy pop.

Building from simple acoustic guitar and vocal and introducing the other instrumental elements of drums, bass, synth in succession, ‘Brilliant Things’ may glow brightly, but there’s a dark undertone beneath the lustrous, basking glory of these elevated aspirations, as if the weight of them drags such perfection beyond reach. This, in itself, brings a twist of anguish, the realisation that perfection is even more unobtainable than that magnificent, pedestal-standing object of desire.

‘You’re silver and gold / you’re mine to hold / you’re everything’ hints at the all-consuming and ultimately potentially damaging way obsession isn’t healthy, and the delivery is bold and dramatic, with a captivating vocal melody that’s enriched by enticing layers of harmony that leave you aching for more. Brilliant indeed.


Artwork - Subterranean Lovers

23rd July 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

The new release from Dutch duo Vaselyne, consisting of singer Yvette Winkler and musician and producer Frank Weyzig is sold as a maxi-single, and sure enough, with the track accompanied by instrumental and demo versions, it does replicate the feel of the old 12”, which in time became the CD single.

If I’m habitually ambivalent about versions and remixes, it’s because they often feel like it’s an attempt to eke out a limited amount of material over the most space, and back in the day – the day being the late 80s and through most of the 90s – as a completist collector of a number of bands, I’d feel a bit swizzed over B-sides consisting of acoustic versions etc spanning multiple formats, and much preferred the first half of the 80s when the 12” single often meant no more than an additional B-side not on the 7”, or at most, an extended version, and there as only a 7” and 12” on offer, rather than a 7”, 12”, limited 12” and likely a standard and limited CD, all with different tracks, plus a cassette single that was likely the same as the 7” but well, you couldn’t just leave it, could you? Especially if it was in a nice card slipcase or a cover like a cigarette packet.

I digress, just a little. Firmly rooted in the brooding corners of theatrical gothic rock, the piano-led ‘Waiting to Exhale’ is six minutes of poised, dramatic splendour, a work of melancholic beauty. Yvette’s vocal are rich, bordering on the operatic in places, although never overdone: there’s no bombastic emoting here, just controlled reflection. The production is full, but again, uncluttered, not over the top. In this respect, there isn’t much difference in the song’s evolution from the demo to the final version, other than the fact that the final version is fuller, more polished, but with no loss of resonance.

And if it invites comparisons to Evanescence, this is perhaps the key difference: Vaselyne keep things real and resist the overblown, and in doing so, render the more understated emotional qualities more sincere-sounding. A mournful string scrapes across the layered vocal and carries the listener into a space of aching reflection.



Christopher Nosnibor

Indie Noir have been putting on curated nights catering to the tatses of people with a preference for indie from the darker side for around three years now, with eleven previous events in and around London and Brighton. This is the first event in the north, and coincidentally the first show in York for Mishkin Fitzgerald, whose operation it is.

She’s already established something of a cult following with her band Birdeatsbaby, and is making progress toward the same as a solo artist, and tonight’s show represents the third night of a UK tour in support of her new EP.

Mishkin is joined by local talents Flora Greysteel and Vesper Walk, and despite being up against the Wales v. Belgium match in Euro 2016, and all of the other goings on (and drunken lunacy that is commonplace in York on a Friday night), it’s a respectable turnout.

I happened to have ‘discovered’ Flora Greysteel less than a week ago, appearing on the same bill at an anti-fracking open mic event. I’m not sur if they were taken with my performance of a brace of ‘Rage Monologues’, or if they were even in the room at the time, but I enjoyed their set. Off the back of that stripped-down set, the bearfooted minimalist duo have spent the week tweaking their songs, and the results are a compelling set. Simon Bolley’s taut, restrained drumming is admirable, while Emily Rowan uses voice and a range of obscure or otherwise unconventional instruments to conjure. Haunting melodies. The pair seem rather disorganised on the surface, but musically, they’re tight and display an idiosyncratic charm.

Flora Greysteel

Flora Greysteel

Mishkin Fitzgerald may be slight in build and quirky, even vaguely nerdy in appearance, but her piano-led ballads are rich in emotion and heavy with personal meaning. Her all-too-short set features three tracks (I think!) from her new solo EP, the last being title track, ‘Seraphim’. Touching. Alongside a number of track culled from her 2013 solo debut Present Company, including ‘Hanging Tree’, she covers ‘Help Yourself’ by lesser-known bluegrass country goth act The Devil Makes Three. Without the bombast and theatrics of her band’s material, the songs are stripped back and simple, and in this setting it’s apparent she’s an adept pianist. ‘Sugarknife’ brings a dramatic change of tone and tempo as she ditched the piano and belts her vocals out against a full prerecorded backing. It isn’t strictly heavy metal, but is a bold chunk of operatic rock and powerful at that. Closer ‘Stitches’ is a rich, brooding work leaves an ache hanging in the air long after it’s ended.


Mishkin FItzgerald

Vesper Walk are many in number and fancily-dressed. In fact, most of the oddballs I’ve seen floating around the venue are suddenly on stage. Glitter, kohl, cat ear headbands, crazy eyebrows and more theatre than the Apollo. The six-piece vocal collective with piano, cello, cajón and occasional flute, are accomplished in their harmonies. Extremely accomplished, in fact. As one may expect from an act who are well accustomed to performing in theatres and have featured at the Edinburgh Festival, they’re high on drama and theatricality, both in terms of performance and presentation, and the music itself. It’s hard not to be impressed by their composure, the way they command the audience’s attention, and they really do know how to entertain, providing a splendid finale to an enjoyable and appropriately offbeat musical evening.

Vesper Walk

Vesper Walk