On January 12th we celebrated the first fantastic 8static of 2013 and pulled no punches in doing so! The show was not only mostly comprised of national musical acts like Crashfaster and SSD Engage, but also the visualist (a personal favorite of mine), Party Time! Hexcellent!, came all the way from Austin, TX!!
I knew we were in for a good night when, less than 30 minutes after doors had opened, the place was already packed with people! I looked over at the entrance line to see an entire group of friendly faces that had came from NYC and my night had already been made. People from all over the region were had shown up from places such as NYC, Cincinnati, Kentucky, Virginia, Seattle & Baltimore; many hoping to do open mic. Rather than turn away such a great talent pool, the open mic was extended to one hour and it turned out to be one of the best to date! One highlight was the fantastic southern rock hybrid teamup from Kentucky of Solarbear & Mr. Wimmer (who had incited the crowd into demanding he get off the stage shortly before he began playing)
But it didn’t end there, we were treated to plenty of other national guests showcasing different styles! (click the artist’s name to see the video of their performance!) Firedrill came all the way from Seattle and Tony Ness shared an awesome new rap. Kentucky’s Mr. Wimmer made all the ladies swoon with his Roy Orbison-inspired song and Inverse Phase got everyone singing with his cover of Information Society’s “what’s on your mind?” on the POKEY chip. 17 year old newcomer, MiLs DJ, played his second live song ever and introduced to his latest choreographed dance routine, the brick breaker! (“it’s easy to learn!”) NYC’s favorite dragon, Fumu Battleship, brought us some noisy nanoloop music & Ro-bear debuted a beautiful new LSDJ song on his gameboy, ending the open mic perfectly.
After that fantastic open mic the stage was cleared to make room for our first main performer, SSD Engage, coming off their excellent recent release, “Nostalgia Paradigm“. SSD Engage is a trio from Cincinnati comprised of S.P.R.Y., Sp00ked and Disabletron in which they make improvisational dance grooves with two Gameboys and a MPC1000 sampler (for drums). These guys did a fantastic job and are serious emerging talent to keep an eye on this upcoming year!!
Next up was Crashfaster from San Francisco. Having just come off an amazing performance at MAGFest 11 and finishing up with their East Coast tour here at 8static. The last time Crashfaster played 8static, two years prior, it was a one-man show; now expanded to four members and definitely benefitting from that decision. Their musical style sounds like it has roots in electronic industrial / EBM music with intense vocals heavily distorted by a vocoder plus guitar player, live drummer and beautiful backup vocals by the lovely Keiko Takamura. Starting the set off with a fantastic cover of Nine Inch Nail‘s, “Closer” (performed by special request for 8static) they tore into their regular set and brought the house down. Their set ended with a cover of Weezer’s party time favorite, “Say it ain’t so“, that literally had the entire audience singing!
Void Vision is a well-established name in Philadelphia outside the chip scene through coldwave & darkwave circles. It had been a couple years since she last performed at 8static and, being a recovering goth myself, I was pretty excited to see her play again. Void Vision plays with an assortment of vintage synthesizers and gear all while singing. Part of the enjoyment of the performance is knowing that the setup is old school and more challenging than using modern gear. Shari may play hauntingly dark music and sing heartbreaking lyrics, but her intimate set and candid, down to earth personality drew the audience in even closer as she manually loaded and prepped each component of gear between songs. She also played a few songs arranged on LSDJ which, complemented by her amazing voice, ended the night perfectly!