Project Pitchfork/Ayria/Columbine @ Miramar Theatre
I think the best part about the all-ages Project Pitchfork show Friday night at the Miramar was that the band didn’t take themselves too seriously. Their set was very professionally done, but they had fun with it. After playing some very ominous-sounding intro music, the 3-piece (keyboard, drummer, and singer – one member, Dirk, a keyboardist, was recovering from an operation and therefore not able to perform) German band took the stage and launched into the first song of their set.
For as creepy as these guys looked (all wearing white face paint – most of which was sweated off during the show), they played some pretty danceable music. The crowd, which was mostly what you’d expect at an industrial show – lots of people wearing black with tattoos everywhere – also included a few guys you’d expect to see at Landmark, wearing baseball hats with sunglasses positioned above the brim (like the sun’s going to come out at around 11 p.m. inside the venue???). They really seemed to enjoy themselves, with many people dancing in front of the stage.
Spilles’ dark, growling vocals contrasted the synthesizer well. He was a very animated performer, although the several times when he dramatically waved his hands in the air seemed a bit much. But he’s from Germany…maybe they do things differently there… Part of the time, it sounded as though there was some kind of special effect put on the vocals, but the transition (if there was one) to his bare voice was so smooth, I’m honestly not sure.
Drummer Achim Faerber kept up well with the songs, and performed a few solos throughout the set. It was a nice touch, being that one might expect some guy in front of a computer with a pre-recorded drum track or, at the very least, an electronic drum set in an outfit such as this.
Ayria, who appeared just before Project Pitchfork, is a Toronto-based future/synth-pop band. Singer Jennifer Parkin looked rather like Britney Spears with pigtailed dreads, but really knew how to carry a tune. As disturbingly energetic and happy as she was (I was, after all, expecting a goth/industrial show, not a cheerleader dressed in black and hot pink), her glittery eyeshadow and Hot Topic-purchased apparel belied her vocal talent. To illustrate, the band’s myspace page lists their sound as similar to “pink unicorns attacking us all”. Sounds about right to me. The crowd seemed to enjoy the show almost as much as the keyboardist, who did something resembling jumping jacks while keeping one hand on his instrument. These guys, also, seemed to have a sense of humor. As an introduction to one song, Parkin announced “this song’s supposed to be pretty” and proceeded into a tune whose only lyrics I could discern were something about a stranglehold and choking someone-or-other – or at least, I think that’s what she said.
Included in the ticket price was free admission to Club Anything on 5th and National for an after-party. The musicians from the evening’s show did, in fact, show up and obligingly agreed to photos while mingling with fans. Most interesting to see bands who don’t encase themselves in an army of security guards to separate their royal selves from their audience but rather appreciate the people who buy their albums and pay to see them perform and realize that they would be nothing without the fans who support them.