Jul 2017 05

Baltimore Soundstage, Baltimore, MD – 06/16/2017
 
The Birthday Massacre - Under Your Spell Tour 2017


 

There are few things more fulfilling, more captivating than a night when everything works as it should – the venue is on point with establishing a welcoming atmosphere whereby both the performing acts and the audience are engaged and feeding off of each other so well that even a mistake becomes an opportunity for a memorable experience. Such was the case when The Birthday Massacre, Army of the Universe, and Sumo Cyco took to the stage at one of Baltimore, MD’s most esteemed and active venues, Soundstage, for the Under Your Spell Tour. The all-ages event took place on a hot summer Friday night in Charm City, and long before the doors opened, this writer could sense the gleeful anticipation of those waiting in line for a V.I.P. meeting with the headlining act, immediately creating a communal ambiance and a sense that a great time was in store for everyone… and boy, was it!

 

Hailing from Hamilton, Ontario, Sumo Cyco had the unenviable task of taking the place of Ludovico Technique on the tour, replacing that band’s bleak and scalding industrial with a bombastic and festive brand of punk/rock that started the night off marvelously. Formed in 2011, the band’s onstage presence was the stuff of seasoned veterans, full of adrenalized in-your-face power that sent the crowd into a fast frenzy. Fronted by the vicious melodies of Sever – a.k.a. Syke Sweetnam – and the breakneck riffs of MD13, and backed by the equally spastic yet precise rhythm section of drummer Matt Trozzi and bassist Oscar Anesetti, Sumo Cyco is best described simply as “pure manic fun.” Though unfamiliar with the band prior to this performance, this writer became a fan almost immediately following the first song’s conclusion. With two albums already released, including 2014’s Lost in Cyco City and this year’s Opus Mar, Sumo Cyco is on the fast track to greater heights of underground rock stardom.

 

Milan, Italy’s Army of the Universe has made waves on this side of the Atlantic opening for such heavy-hitters as KMFDM and Skinny Puppy, and now on the Under Your Spell Tour. From the sensual rock star swagger of vocalist Lord K, the trance-laden electronic groove of Albert “Trebla” Vorne, the crunchy guitar riffs of Dave Tavecchia, and the thunderous percussion of drummer Giuseppe Amato, the band was at the top of its game, delivering a punchy brand of electrified danceable rock that has made the band a modern staple of the underground music scene. From tracks like the aggressive and anthemic “Kill the F______ DJ” and “1999” to the darkly alluring “Good Nite,” from the insidious attraction of “The Magic” to the strutting and striking “A Visionary Story,” Army of the Universe presented a diverse set of tracks that demonstrated the band’s incendiary presence and singular style that despite the few expletive lyrics appealed to the now revved up all-ages audience. Adding to the festivities was the appearance of a giant inflatable unicorn… yes, you read that correctly; as one would expect, Vorne took up the challenge of riding the mystical balloon creature in lieu of the more customary crowdsurfing, making for quite a spectacle that sparked a bit of vocal envy from the headlining act and ensured Army of the Universe’s performance would stay in the mind long after the night’s conclusion.

 

Bathed in purple light and adorned in black punk/rock chic, The Birthday Massacre takes to the stage amid the celestial swells of magically drenched keyboards. A few seconds pass, and then the band blasts out “One,” the opening number from the latest album, Under Your Spell; filled to the brim with the group’s trademark blend of rocking gothic melodies and saccharine electro-pop, the track immediately establishes the setting for the next hour-plus as the band delivers a plethora of beloved songs from a distinguished discography. With the current trends of ’80s revivalism in rock and electronic music, The Birthday Massacre’s sound is more relevant and identifiable as ever, with longtime favorites like “Red Stars,” “Looking Glass,” “Video Kid,” and “Lovers End” playing alongside later mainstays like “Destroyer,” “Pins and Needles,” and “Leaving Tonight.” Suffice to say, the main stars of the set list included tracks from Under Your Spell; as the band had successfully funded the album via PledgeMusic within a single day, the fans in attendance were elated beyond measure to hear new selections from Under Your Spell like “All of Nothing,” “Counterpane,” “No Tomorrow,” and of course, “Under Your Spell.” As ever, the band’s interaction with the crowd was exceptional, with vocalist Chibi as entrancing as she is menacing, switching between her lush and angelic melodies and a monstrous rasp effortlessly, like a demon trapped inside the image of a demure gothic handmaiden. The interplay between guitarists Rainbow and Falcore is always a pleasure to see and hear, with the former’s rhythmic showmanship standing in stark contrast to the latter’s more restrained soloing, while Owen was not to be upstaged behind his keyboards, climbing the rig and engaging the audience. Bassist Nate Manor stood as the epitome of cool, clearly enjoying himself without the need to erupt into any antics of rock & roll pageantry, while the drummer (whose name this writer never did get as he was a replacement while the tour was already in progress) fulfilled his end with composed excellence. Throwing in the cover of “I Think We’re Alone Now” for the encore and concluding with the blast from the past that was “Broken,” The Birthday Massacre is showing no signs of letting age or experience take away from the outright thrill of a stellar live show… and I think it can be said that the crowd just loved it!

 

A little bit punk, a little bit electronic, and a lot of rock & roll, the three bands on the Under Your Spell Tour gave Baltimore’s audience more than its money’s worth, with fans of all ages leaving Soundstage more than satisfied. Bravo!

 

Article by Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)
Photography by Tabetha Patton (MizTabby)

 

The Birthday Massacre
Website, Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, YouTube
Army of the Universe
Website, Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, YouTube
Sumo Cyco
Website, Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, YouTube

 

The Birthday Massacre


 

Army of the Universe


 

Sumo Cyco


 

Leave a Comment

*

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!