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  LEVINHURST w/ Envie and Silence Siren  
  The EARL  
  East Atlanta, GA  
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The first act tonight was the debut performance by Silence Siren. This is a side project featuring members of The Black Kites. I guess this is the project that the rest of that band will be doing while the lead Black Kite vocalist has her baby and plays mom. Who knows?

The set started out with the drummer and the meditteranean-looking Black Kite girl singing and playing piano. Pleasant enough. This Black Kite (and i apologize for not knowing her name) has a decent, husky female voice vaguely reminsicent of PJ Harvey or Shannonwright. Eventually, she switched over to guitar and other Black Kites joined her on stage. Then, there were three guitarists, a bassist, and the drummer on stage. And, by god, the music at that point became somewhat generic. That is to say, the first two tunes were performed as a two-piece, and they at least seemed a little different. When the rest of the band joined the crowd on stage, well, it just didn't work for me. Of course there were some nice moments: a good bit of singing here, a nice guitar lick there, some really nice basswork in a few places. Overall though, the band just didn't jell together for me. I suppose that this being their first show might have something to do with it. Still, seeing as most of these people are already in a band together, i would have expected more sonic cohesion. Oh well. Give them more time i guess.

It seemed like Envie went on as soon as Silence Siren was over. Only tonight, the lineup was a little differnet. Suzanna Barnes from Silence Siren played bass. Apparently the regular bassist was defending his dissertation. At least, that is what i was told. I can't imagine he needed to defend it at 11 pm on a Friday night, but who knows really. At any rate, Jared's absence seemed to ruin the band's concentration. Tonight they were just a little off. They played at a breakneck pace, and it didn't really work for all of their tunes. Still, it was fun, even if a bit sloppy.

And then came the main act for the evening, Levinhurst. I was really expecting The EARL to be insanely packed out when they performed, but there was only a very modest crowd in attendence. Strange, considering that Levinhurst is the band of Lawrence Tolhurst, who you might remember from such bands as The Cure. He played keys with them up through Disintigration and is sort of famous. I would have expected the rabid Cure fans to pack The EARL. But, I guess that either there are not as many rabid Cure fans as i had thought, or they didn't know about the show. Either way, it was largely empty.

So, Lawrence Tolhurst is in Levinhurst. There are two other members -- a female vocalist (who introduced herself to the crowd as "Cindy") and a guitarist. Mr. Tolhurst played a lot of electronic percussion, but also had some samplers and keyboards set up. For the first half of the set, he mostly played "drums" by beating on some little electronic thing with a drum stick. Who knew that he was a frustrated drummer? This half of the set was sort of generically ravey. With Cindy's vocals, it sounded like any number of trip-hop acts from a few years ago (Lamb, Mono, Sneaker Pimps, etc.). I was not that impressed.

Then Cindy announced to the crowd that the dance half of the show was done, and the music became more introspective and interesting. Mr. Tolhurst twiddled with his keys and sequencers, and this was much more exciting stuff than the ravishness of the first half of the set. A few of these songs sounded like good EBM tunes slowed down -- like Front Line Assembly with less distortion and a slower pace. Very nice, actually.

After about 45 minutes Tolhurst announced to the crowd that they had played all of the Levinhurst songs they had, so he was going to do an older tune. And they played a long, slow, distorted version of A Forest that was very very nice. I hate to say it, but that was the real highlight of the set for me.

Overall, well, it is obvious that Mr. Tolhurst has talent. He and his new band just need to decide exactly what they want to do with their music. It really seemed as if they were unsure of which direction to go -- pure dance music or experimental electronic music? I suggest the more experimental side as reflected in the second half of the set.

So, i had a good time tonight. Aside from the first band i enjoyed the music, and their failings may be due to it being their first ever show. Overall, i guess this was a so-so night.

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