I don’t really give a fuck about Halloween. It comes around every year when it should only be celebrated every two years – just like how they should call Ovaltine “Roundtine.” But though my Grinch-like attitude toward Halloween has grown stronger over the past few years, I was nevertheless taken aback by the performances at Fairmount Theatre on October 8th. The horrific decor of skulls, ghouls, and window structures made the stage and the venue look and feel like a haunted house, although they were closely similar to your typical neighborhood Halloween decorations. The music contrasted with the slightly taboo imagery.
Dressed all in black with a hood over his head that surrounded the black, skull-like mask face covering, Gloom Influx stood alone at the foot of the stage, guitar in hand, playing along to instrumental tracks. Although the crowd did not exude full, hyped-up energy as this EDM-for-horror-lovers blasted through the speakers, they still appeared mesmerized by Gloom Influx’s performance. After a short set of soloing to creeping dance music, done without breaking character by verbally addressing the audience, G.I out his hands in the sky as a way of saluting the crowd before walking off stage.
As the venue lighting remained dim while the stage was lit up in red, haunting music played between sets. Not once was the eerie mood ever broken. It was as if the entire show was one theatrical performance starring three separate acts. The house music and lighting only returned to normal at the end of the night, although the lighting got darker before Le Matos and Dance with the Dead’s respective performances.
The duo Le Matos stepped on stage to low-level cheering coming from the audience, but as their setlist progressed, the applause and receptiveness from the members in the crowd became significantly stronger. The age range at the show was roughly between 25 and 40 years old; so, young enough to tear up the floors with killer dance moves. However, keep in mind that the attendees were mostly punk rockers and heavy metallers which, unless they’re smashing into each other in mosh pits or the infamous, lame-ass “wall of death” (neither of which formed that night, surprisingly) it isn’t likely that you’ll spot much dancing coming from them. (Talk about dancing with the dead – am I right?! Am I right?!) There were a few, however, shaking their shit-stained pants and it was weird to watch.
Le Matos’ Montreal boys, Jean-Nicolas Leupi and Jean-Philippe Bernier, turned it up hard as they stood behind their keyboards and mixing tables, emanating confidence and intense energy while producing live, spooky-yet-very-catchy electronic dance music that blasted such heavy bass, no wine glasses would have been safe in that venue. The white lights intensely flashed, synching up with the music that was never once introduced to the crowd that night. (No artist that night ever spoke to the crowd or gave titles to their songs. So, if you heard something you liked, ya’ gotta go searching for it online.) The fists were pumping and the heads were bumping. When the all-smiling Le Matos got off stage, the crowd’s cheers were almost as loud as the synthesized electronic dance music that the duo charged-up the crowd with, a performance that differed greatly from what would be coming up next.
A projector screen at the back of the stage that showed sinister imagery throughout Le Matos’ set displayed the words “Dance with the Dead” as a voice similar to Vincent Price’s on Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” spoke hauntingly through the speakers, creeping over the audience. Tony Kim and Justin Pointer exploded onto the stage, diving right into a wild performance where shredding, heavily distorted guitars were played along to dark yet incredibly uplifting dance music. The crowd went wild; heads were banging hard. The two of them had the crowd in the palm of their hands. It was like a diabolical underground nightclub where everyone was a zombie or brainwashed by the artists who they were there to worship, maaan!! Kim was a wild performer, hopping up onto the monitors and stage blocks while soloing above those jaw-dropped in the front row. When he wasn’t behind the keyboard, Pointer was standing his ground at left stage showing complete passion in his face and loving every minute of the sound of his guitar and music that surrounded him and everyone else, music that was at times just way too loud and a bit muddy-sounding. That was really the only downfall, but other than that, when they weren’t doing instrumental covers of Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” and Mötley Crüe’s “Kickstart My Heart”, they were bestowing upon us the sounds of their own incredibly composed originals. They must have played 60 minutes straight – no break – before briefly hopping off stage at 11:15pm and coming back on for a short encore which still wasn’t enough!
Written by Keenan Kerr
Photography by Michael Kovacs
*edited by Kate Erickson