Check out more scenes from the show in Shannon Cottrell's photo gallery.
If you read our interview with L.A. duo Faith and the Muse back in December, then you know that William Faith and Monica Richards had ambitions for a “slightly more grand show” to follow the release of their most recent album :ankoku butoh:. Saturday night at Bar Sinister, we caught that show, the first date of their North American tour, and “grand” would be an understatement.
Live, Faith and Richards perform with more than a full band. There are strings, taiko and dancers who combine tribal fusion with butoh. Musically, the band hits one striking curve after the next, combining traditional sounds from both the East and the West with modern rock and electronic without ever losing sight of Faith and Richards' punk rock roots.
What made this show most impressive was the venue. At Boardner's, where Bar Sinister is held every Saturday night, live performances take place in the courtyard. It's a beautiful space with a New Orleans gothic quality that suits the bands playing this club, but the stage is tiny. Somehow, though, Faith and the Muse managed to fit seven musicians, two dancers and a fairly wide variety of instruments on that stage. Beyond that, the band was able to transition between vastly different numbers, from string-heavy ethereal pieces to taiko-based work, without any sort of hesitation.
Opening up the night was San Francisco-based singer Jill Tracy, whose husky voice and cabaret style of performance was a perfect fit for the venue and the crowd. Tracy performed with her lucky playing cards taped to her keyboard and was accompanied by violinist Paul Mercer, who also plays with Faith and the Muse. Her special guest for the night was renowned theremin player Armen Ra.