Show Review: Poptone @ The Mohawk (12/7)

Bauhaus was a genre defining band. BUT, it was Love and Rockets, Bauhaus minus one Peter Murphy, that I really fanned out about. And then, Tone On Tail, Love and Rockets minus one David J., that created and whole new thing to one-up friends. The curious case where a group minus a member could improve or be a complete thing unto itself was on full display last Thursday night at The Mohawk when Poptone, Daniel Ash and Kevin Haskins with Haskins’s daughter Diva Dompe, brought songs to life that I never thought I would get to see live. The fuzzed out basslines, the distant nearly monotone vocal, the ringing twelve-string or echoed out saxophone – this was as important a show to me as Belle and Sebastian would be to Nathan.

Click through for the rest of my thoughts and so many pics of not just Poptone, but the opener Geneva Jacuzzi and her girl in the bubble performance. …and holy crap it was cold.

Geneva Jacuzzi is a long-running project by Geneva Garvin. To say it is an interesting live set is to point out the obvious. Crawling on to stage, lights held low, she made her way into a plastic bubble connected to a fan. That fan would run controlled by a switch inside to inflate and create a space for her to perform in, a safe place perhaps, using a small flashlight to punctuate expressions or poses. She freed herself of the protective confines to meander through the crowd, singing into her wireless headset, making a runway to strut back and forth. Synth pop, dark tinge, quirky edge, worth a try…

Poptone took to the stage with little fanfare, black lights blazing the black and white theme on stage. Their set naturally split time between Ash’s tracks for Love and Rockets and Tones On Tail songs. “I Feel Speed” followed by “Heartbreak Hotel” certainly set the table for fans. Interaction was minimal, but appreciative. The music spoke here, big fuzzed out basslines or delicate synth, shimmering twelve-string or reverb electric, the set meandered through LnR-by-Ash and ToT hits including “No Big Deal”, “Mirror People” and, of course, “Go”. Delightful surprises? “Lions” and show closer “Sweet F.A.”. Sing-along with cheat sheet? “Ball of Confusion”.

Something I did not expect was Kevin Haskins’s musicality on drums. Just phenomenal, and the apple doesn’t fall far as Diva was an extension of Kevin’s kit. In the case of “Go”, Diva set the time and her father kicked in after a couple bars of that iconic bassline. Brilliant. Maybe not enough Seventh Dream of a Teenage Heaven for me, I would have loved to have “The Game” or “Private Future”, but so be it. The best thing? They did not play “So Alive”. Kudos.

It was so damn cold. I had an amazing time. Snow be damned.

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