DJ Rony, Pharmakon, Form 30, Chloe Day
Birdy’s Bar & Grill
Danz Poeta, DJ Caroline
Wednesday, Dec. 27
One of Indy’s hidden jewels is an unsigned band most would pass over if unheard live. Brilliantly reviving Tori Amos through the veins of Advent Sleep and shards of Fiona Apple, the Pharmakon (www.myspace.com/pharmakonmusic) quartet crafts emotive darkwave originals with a sultry jazz overlay. Though still recording a debut album, the skillful musicians have paid their dues.
Vocalist, keyboardist and violinist Suzan M. grew out of Fate of Ashes, a former Circle City gem in itself, where she shared musical duties with Jamie Vitro, the founder of new project Danz Poeta. She even played violin on “All Your Tears” for Vitro’s debut solo album, Pray for Rain. Ironically enough, both Danz Poeta and Pharmakon (which also includes bassist/vocalist Tom H., guitarist/vocalist John S. and new drummer Joey C.) performed shows on the same night, Dec. 27, displaying some of the best electronic music this city has to offer.
Pharmakon’s performance at Birdy’s played to a crowd of about 30 people — a shame for such a gratifying gig. Suzan’s keys had a cabaret feel, though occasional ethereal melodies (like “The Grande Parade”) brought to mind Christian Death’s softer side — think Rozz Williams in “Flowers” — and Switchblade Symphony’s rare whimsy. What Pharmakon needs now is a strong visual element, perhaps a video backdrop of imagery to complement their music.
With several musical theater undertones, the band expressed aural poetry, emotionally triggering the imagination. Intricate melodies and synchronized notes between the four main instruments kept the players captivated on stage and relatively still.
Form 30 played next after a 20-minute sound check, displaying the hassle of electronic feedback. The trio’s metallic, thick sound on opener “I Don’t Want Anything” built momentum, preparing them for a pending 2007 tour. Since his Nimbus days, founder Jase’s music has matured. It’s all or nothing nowadays.
Indy’s Spellbound Soapworks (www.spellboundsoapworks.com) sold demented rubber duckies (ninjas, devils and more), as well as handmade, scented soaps (embellished with shapes of ankhs, brains, teeth and cats) at the event — quite the after-Christmas best buy.
Jumping across town (and unfortunately skipping the final Birdy’s performance by L.A.’s trip-hop mistress Chloe Day), DJ Alyda Stoica bid adieu to her monthly “Anything Goes” event at the Melody Inn with Danz Poeta’s live show, featuring DJ Mister E on keyboards and backing vocals.
Opening with “Mortal Coil” from Pray for Rain, fog, lighting effects and cigarette smoke filled the compact bar, and soon many of the Birdy’s crowd shifted to this location. A danceable EBM vibe pulsated through Danz Poeta’s live set, bringing handfuls of onlookers to their feet. Debuting a new song, “Shock Theater,” the duo also pulled off an industrial cover of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” and a second rendition of “Mortal Coil” as a favor for scene-mate DJ Zlaya.