Winter Wave Fest
Tuesday, Jan. 24, 9 p.m., $5
Continuing what seems to be a trend of Scandinavian music hitting the Indianapolis scene, the Winter Wave Fest, promoted by DJs Empress Alyda and Copper Top, brings Scandinavian synthpop and EBM to the American masses with live performances from Moulin Noir and Run Level Zero, and music spun by DJ Rauz, house DJ for Tech Noir in Stockholm.
Moulin Noir is headed up by Anders Wikholm. Formerly known as Moulin Rouge back in the 1980s, Moulin Noir is a gothic/synthpop group with oddly upbeat tempos. Their sound is definitely a product of the New Romantic 1980s, revised for a new era. A listen to some of their latest work indicates influences from (and on!) groups as varied as The Cure, Sisters of Mercy and Information Society. Wikholm is as well known for his eccentric stage presence as his music.
The Stockholm duo Run Level Zero brings a more electronic and eclectic sound, from their self-described influenced by European and Canadian industrial masters. "Art and literature and whatever we think is important enough to put into a song eventually end up in the soup," they say in their notes. "Easy to swallow for some - noxious for others." In my mind, their work goes down easy; they blend electronics and traditional sounds so smoothly that it's nearly impossible to pick out the influences. With their keyboards and orchestral mixes, comparisons to Sisters of Mercy are nearly impossible to avoid, but they from apparently unintentional noise to intentional noise. At one point, a man across the room shouted out for the "Sound Marshal."
Colorado's CAT-A-TAC finished the evening with a set that was not quite as good as Svetlana's, but far superior to the Rivulets. To say the group is Shoegaze would be false. They are certainly inspired by the genre, but they are actually more stripped down, basic rock. They had moments and guitar riffs that reminded me of Tom Petty or The Rolling Stones, and would make a good addition to Bloomington's WTTS play list. The drums were strong and consistent, but the vocals were not fantastic, but they sufficed for the brand of music they were playing.
Five bucks is pretty cheap for a good show, and the price was certainly worth it, but the audience would have been better served if the show had been an hour shorter, without the memory of "Shoegazing pedal twiddlers" hanging in the back of its mind.