Show Pics: The Soft Moon @ Barracuda (4/20)

This show was immediately on the gotta-go list, The Soft Moon with Boy Harsher? Yes. I know both were about during SxSW, but I wanted full sets and the stars never aligned to allow for viewing freeing time slots for other acts from overseas. Double win. When you add in local openers Troller, you have a show that has great potential to sell out Barracuda.

…and sell out it did.

I’ll share a few thoughts about each of the band’s sets and plenty of photos right after the jump. Sound good? OK.

I apologize for not wearing all black. There was apparently a dress code on the ticket that I didn’t know about. Kudos to the guy with very intricate gold makeup, sorry I could not get a reasonable shot in the limited house-lighting. Stunning work.

Troller is a project anchored by Adam Jones of Holodeck and SURVIVE fame with Amber and Justin Star-Goers, so a Holodeck family affair. An ARP synth and some loops and effects serve as a groundwork as bass, guitar and vocals are mashed and melted together to bring about a hypnotic state that elicits your body to move. It is a weighty sound, best taken in live and loud. Big early crowd, thankful for that.

Boy Harsher took to the stage, ironing out a few technical glitches before easing into things with subdued opening track “Underwater” that eschews the punch of drums for melodic tension. The effect of the slow start created a tension that draws an audience member in. The hooks are there, but you don’t necessarily get the cathartic release until later in the set as they escalate and eventually play the dark-electro bangers the fans crave. The scene up front was bordering on that of a punk show, dancing as a means of collision and interaction with only brief interruptions of stillness between songs for Jae to adjust vocal effects and Augustus to queue the next sequence of audio intoxicants.

The Soft Moon has a harder edge than Boy Harsher, but the crowd was more subdued. Maybe subdued isn’t the right word, I think more entranced. You are somewhat paralyzed by the wall of sound that hits you square as Luis blasts on a garbage can as fuzzed repetition from the bass is met with vocal flourishes and synth hooks as punctuation. This is music is made for catharsis and hypnosis, sparse lyrics allow your mind to fill in the blanks with your feelings and experiences. Finish the live experience off with effective use of bursts of light, strobes with much more roll on/roll off to cut severity and convey ebbs and flows in sync with particualr notes, lyrics or percussion.

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