• On Mesh and Depeche Mode

    Nov 18 2008, 6:16

    ...(I heard it from my friends about the things you said... but they know me better than that....)

    In response to a few comments I've seen calling Mesh a "Depeche Mode wannabe":

    Get some ears! :P

    To reduce Mesh to what you call "imitation DM" or "wannabe DM" suggests that you haven't fully grasped one or both of the bands.

    There is no question that DM influenced Mesh. But Mesh took some elements from DM and went in their own direction. They haven't replicated DM's sound; they have renovated it and made it their own. The main difference between the two, in my opinion, is how they approach their dark sides.

    While both bands have mastered combining lush, chilling vocals with both haunting and cheerful synth lines, DM rarely, if ever, reached the level of anger and aggressiveness that Mesh often did. Mesh is much more volatile: one of the things I found most appealing about Mesh when I first discovered them was that they often switch effortlessly mid-song from deeply, hushedly reflective to a more raw, agitated frustration. (example: Leave You Nothing ; Needle in a Bruise) Actually, Mark Hockings can pull off switching in the middle of a word.

    DM, on the other hand, started out as a synthpop band with a usually-upbeat sound, then gradually moved into the much darker sound of the Black Celebration album. This, along with the subsequent Music for the Masses and Violator, proved just how comfortable DM is with darkness. Their darkness is pretty much a luxuriously soft blanket that you'd want to wrap around yourself on a cold night. The closest DM gets to Mesh's anger that I can think of is Ultra's opener, Barrel of a Gun, but that entire song has the same mood. It's as if they had to get it out of their system, after which they can sigh with relief and continue the album in a more subtle dark style.

    While Mesh has often interspersed their dark side with expressions of defiance and frustration both in Mark's style of ripping his heart out as he sings and the industrial-influenced, harsh guitar sounds, DM has more often treated it as an old friend and slipped into it like a cashmere robe. DM is more likely to use the soothing vocals and the subtle, haunting synth lines by themselves, with a mystery that makes the listener hang on to every sound in anticipation. You might prefer one or the other (I love both equally) but the two approaches set the two bands so strikingly apart that I have to wonder if people who call Mesh "wannabe DM" have even listened to Mesh more than casually.

    It is much easier for a casual listener to claim that all bands in a genre sound the same than to become familiar with the genre and learn what makes each band unique. If you don't know anything about electronic music (for example), you might say that it all sounds the same, whereas if you sink your teeth into it, you will notice that different types of synthesizers, different vocal styles, different tonalities, different additions of instruments, etc. can create dozens of sub-genres and styles that you can distinguish (coldwave, synthpop, house). The same goes for labeling bands as "wannabe" this or that. If you pay attention, you might eventually realize that both bands have more depth than you thought and despite their similarities, they also have unique qualities that clearly distinguish themselves from each other.

    Of course, you have every right to continue labeling Mesh as "wannabe DM", but when you do, we will continue to laugh at you. :P
  • My Crüxshadows experience

    Nov 14 2008, 9:04

    I just got back from the Crüxshadows show in Cincinnati at the Dock, and what an entertaining night it was. First off, when I arrived, I immediately started a search for the bathroom (my first time at this venue) and accidentally busted in on Rogue (vocalist) backstage. I said, "Hi... I'm actually looking for the bathroom, but it's nice to meet you!" He laughed and his friend directed me to the bathroom. I thanked her and said to Rogue "See ya later!" He laughed again and waved. Haha... I feel like such a dork.

    I:Scintilla was up first, whom I liked. The vocalist enjoyed dancing back and forth across the stage and singing directly to most of the people in the front row individually, all up in their face, which two guys in the front row almost had a (joyful) heart attack over.

    Then Ayria was up, also enjoyable. My favorite moment:
    Vocalist: All right, the next song is dedicated to...
    (Random guy cheers wildly)
    Vocalist: (laughing) You don't even know who I'm dedicating it to! Well, okay, how about this... this song is dedicated to any of you who are having a bad day.
    Audience: (fervently) YYYEEEEEAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Vocalist: ....I feel so sorry for you guys!

    Right before the Crüxshadows came on, the guy next to me warned me that he and his friend were planning to start a violent mosh pit. Sure enough, the band took the stage and the guy waited aproximately ten seconds to start moshing wildly to "Intro (And I Believe)". Yes, there is nothing like a slow-to-medium-paced intro song to make me want to mosh like there is no tomorrow. Nice try, dude. Although it actually was kind of hilarious.

    I won't give you the exact setlist yet since I don't remember it all, but it included Winter Born (Yay!); Dragonfly, in which Rogue wandered amongst the crowd, climbed a light fixture, and sang to us from up above (he also did this again later and a violinist joined him); Deception, in which Rogue had a hoedown with someone from the audience; and Marilyn, my Bitterness, during which he pulled about 20 audience members onto the already-packed stage. After the song was over, everyone stayed on stage to chat with/hug Rogue, so I met him properly (and apologized for busting in on him!).

    If you love entertaining, dramatic shows, you must see the Crüxshadows if you have a chance.
  • Seabound and De/Vision coming to the US in January 2009!! :-D

    Nov 1 2008, 23:11

    To Chicago on a Saturday.... I WILL BE THERE! Finally!

    Jan 9 2009 8:00PGround Zero (with De/Vision) Minneapolis, Minnesota
    Jan 10 2009 8:00PThe Abbey (with De/Vision) Chicago, Illinois
    Jan 13 2009 8:00PThe Opera House (with De/Vision) Toronto, Ontario
    Jan 15 2009 8:00PDon Hill’s (with De/Vision) NYC, New York
    Jan 16 2009 8:00PElysium (with De/Vision & Iris) Austin, Texas
    Jan 17 2009 8:00PLakewood Theater (with De/Vision & Iris) Dallas, Texas
    Jan 22 2009 8:00PCervantes (with De/Vision) Denver, Colorado
    Jan 23 2009 8:00PRespectable Street (with De/Vision) West Palm Beach, Florida

    (From the official site)
  • Assemblage 23 fall 2007 dates

    Lug 4 2007, 21:02

    Assemblage 23 Meta Tour

    Sep 09 Seattle, WA El Corazon (w/ God Module)
    Sep 11 San Francisco, CA Mezzanine
    Sep 13 Los Angeles, CA Knitting Factory
    Sep 15 Tucson, AZ Asylum Nightclub
    Sep 17 El Paso, TX Lucky Devil's
    Sep 19 San Antonio, TX White Rabbit
    Sep 20 Dallas, TX Lizard Lounge
    Sep 21 Tulsa, OK Mooch & Burn
    Sep 22 Fayetteville, AR Dart Room
    Sep 24 Nashville, TN Code Blue
    Sep 26 New Orleans, LA The Hiho
    Sep 27 Tallahassee, FL Beta Bar
    Sep 29 Miami, FL Studio A
    Sep 30 Orlando, FL The Club @ Firestone
    Oct 03 Raleigh, NC Legends Nightclub
    Oct 05 New York, NY Knitting Factory
    Oct 07 Philadelphia, PA Grape Street
    Oct 09 Pittsburgh, PA Pegasus
    Oct 10 Indianapolis, IN Birdys
    Oct 11 Detroit, MI Small's
    Oct 12 Columbus, OH Outland Night Club
    Oct 14 Madison, WI TBA
    Oct 18 Kansas City, MO Davey's Uptown
    Oct 20 Denver, CO Cervantes
    Oct 22 Portland, OR Berbati's Pan

    I will attend at least one of these... possibly four! (Have to make up for the lack of this sort of thing in the Midwestern US)
  • John Cranley witnessed me buying cereal while campaigning for Congress

    Nov 8 2006, 3:53

    I was at Meijer yesterday, minding my own business and looking at the cereal. I was trying to decide between Strawberry Fields and some sort of granola when I turned around to see a guy in a suit standing there. He said, "Hi, I'm John Cranley!" and smiled. At first I thought it was some kid joking around, because I don't normally have politicians approach me at the supermarket. But then I realized that not only was he not a kid, he also had a posse of suit-and-Cranley-sticker-wearing supporters behind him. I shook his hand and introduced myself. He continued, "I hope you vote for me!" I told him, "I sure will!" John finally told me that it was time for a change and after I agreed, he walked off into the night.