Photos by Tanner Pikop
On Friday night, Bay Area locals Chasms and Wax Idols took the stage at the Independent with Weekend. And what better time for a night full of goth music than the middle of the chilly part of the summer.
There’s something completely unbeatable about a band with amazing live performance quality. You can listen to your favorite band’s record on repeat all you want, but if you see them live and they suck, that whole facade of their recordings falls to the floor. You feel ambiguous loss. As if your best friend went to Burning Man and took some crazy psychedelic drugs on a steam punk bus full of aging hippies and came back totally different, and you realize your friend was a burner on the inside all along, and you feel cheated.
On the other hand, when a band puts on an amazing live performance, connects with the audience and builds a reputation for some totally badass, highly anticipated thing they do at all their shows, that’s when you know it’s good. Enter Hether Fortune and her band, Wax Idols. Perhaps the best new band pulling off a real orthodox goth sound, and they’re making music right over the bridge in Oakland.
When Wax Idols walked onstage at the Independent on Friday night, there were already a few things I was anticipating. The first one is the band’s onstage dynamics with one another; on one end there’s bassist Amy Rosenoff, stoic as a marble statue with her asymmetric platinum hair always covering half her face. On the other end of the stage there’s guitarist Jen Mundy, her delicate strumming and timid onstage presence a perfect weight to balance the scale of the dominant Heather Fortune at the middle of it all. The band as a whole played so tightly on point as they traced through Discipline & Desire. Meanwhile Ms. Fortune didn’t just sing and play guitar, she danced, whipping her androgynous hair back and forth, slowly disrobing – one of the other anticipated qualities of a Wax Idols show – until she stood pantsless in a lace leotard. One of Fortune’s most powerful qualities as a front woman is her ability to be both intimidatingly badass and also so grateful, thanking the band and the audience multiple times, really connecting with each person before leaving the stage.
Headlining the show was the noisy post punk band Weekend. The band had made a few big changes since I last saw them in the summer of 2012. The trio moved from the Bay Area to Brooklyn, added a fourth member for the tour, and released their latest LP, Jinx, via Slumberland Records. On Friday night Weekend played a mix of old and new songs, including “Mirror”, and “Hazel”, finishing with a one song encore, the drone-y, obscure “Coma Summer”.
Weekend’s sets have never disappointed me in the past, and this show was no exception to the rule. Their brand of goth-infused, post-punk centered music is always so vibrant onstage, making the perfect end to the evening after Chasms and Wax Idols.