By Lisa Burke
January 16th 2017, The Griffin, Los Angeles CA: Monday nights in Los Angeles are quite far from ever boring, especially if you are hungry for live music. I made a fairly recent new Monday night live band discovery at an appropriately atmospheric spot for metal and friends on Mondays in Atwater Village, at the Griffin pub. As it was my second appearance there in probably five years or more, on January 16th 2017, I once again had a great relaxing primarily drama-free time watching Black Mare and Deth Crux.
This quiet corner bar has no real stage, but has a select area for bands to set up while the audience gathers around seating and an old-style furnace type fire place to watch the performances. The best part is that the acoustics are perfect in this space when set up well, and the clarity of the tone on this night could not have been better. Two local bands in a chill atmosphere on a night such as this is actually a tough competitor to a bigger venue with four or more bands and an actual stage. For a comfortable hangout between sets, there is a large patio completely encased in barred windows with comfy booths and tables along with heat lamps, to provide an atmosphere much like the most comfortable prison you’ve never spent time in.
On to the tunes, Deth Crux went on a little after 10:30 and if you didn’t see a lit candelabra on stage then you didn’t see Deth Crux. This has become their signature, and they have yet to knock it down or torch any bar or venue in which I’ve ever attended their show. The beauty of this band is the uniqueness found within the live keys, the echo of the vocals which makes for an eerie tone, and then top that with rock n’ roll that has a slight punk, doom, and goth metal flavor, and you have a well-rounded band that sounds like no other. They always have a noble following of fans and this night was full of them. Every performance by this band is as special as the first because it is so clean and unique with its death rock antics. They played with ease and professionalism and made the best of the space with their presence while leaving no one dissatisfied.
As the dark figures gathered back around the second round of performers, it was time for Black Mare‘s set which is lead singer Sera Timms of Ides Of Gemini’s solo project. This being my first time hearing it, I was blown away by the pleasant gothic ambiance that swarmed about the room, and the vocals were, for lack of a more technical term, exactly as they needed to be with a stylistic grace about it all. It served as soothing and cerebral at the same time and harmonized well with the string instruments. The slow pace of bands such as this can sometimes make me anxious, yet this set did quite the opposite as the trance effect of the vocals mixed with the slow rhythms came across as a calm wave before a dark storm. These two bands together played off each other very well as they both brought the strength of their hypnotizing dark vocals to the forefront.
As hard as it is to get out to a show on a Monday night, this casual setting and late but not too late start time feeds the craving with just the right portion of live music for your dark soul. I am sure there are more solid nights of live music at the Griffin to come our way in the future, and it’s definitely an opportunity worth stepping outside of your comfort box to attend.
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