BLOOD AXIS, CHANGES, THE LINDBERGH BABY, DREAM INTO DUST
27th March 2005
Presented by Tesco USA as either 'A Descent into the Maelstrom' or a celebration of the Black Easter, this evening
gathering for the first time well known names of the American experimental/industrial/folk scene such as Blood Axis,
Changes and Dream Into Dust was a rare event, even on American soil.
Despite the change of the venue (caused by the usual pressure from the usual obscurantists) and the +21 age restriction
of the private club, the Demerara, soon became the meeting point for about 150/200 persons, all non violent… just present
to see their 'local' bands perform and enjoy an evening of friendly atmosphere.
The merchandising stands of the bands and Tesco USA was localised downstairs… where the trailer from the forthcoming DIJ
Documentary 'Behind the Mask' was also projected in repeat. Only a few minutes running time that predict to an unusual and
very professional documentary. The strange (but hypnotising) set played by DJ Darryl Hell combined with the visual focusing
on Douglas P. created a particular atmosphere at this corner of the room...
The opening act for the evening was the New York based formation Dream Into Dust who appeared for the first time on
stage as a quartet leaded by Derek Rush (vocals and acoustic guitar), Bryin Dall (electric guitar), Isaiah Singer (bass)
and Eric Schlappi (keyboard).
I was curious to see them live as, from what I had heard on record, I considered Dream Into Dust as an interesting
band, able to fusion different styles (from noisy experimental to (dark) folk compositions) while keeping control and
never sounding cacophonic. So I expected an unclassifiable performance and that's what they delivered... a set made of a
subtle and balanced mix of dark folk passages and industrial/ambient/experimental electronic elements. I guess that
everyone who paid attention to their set felt carried away by their soundscapes, intrigued by the machete that Bryin used
on his electric guitar and convinced by the vocals and Derek's stage presence and the talent of the four musicians.
Followed a short set from The Lindbergh Baby, the project of the Blood Axis percussionist Scott Broderick (vocals and
guitar) assisted by Michael Moynihan (accordion and bodhran) and Annabel Lee (violin). It was the very first concert of
this new trio and no doubt that their 'impromptu' performance will have pleased to those who have an inclination for
American country folk ballads (in the vein of 16 Horsepower). A nice transition between the experimental sounds of Dream
Into Dust and the folk acts that were to follow...
It's a bit delicate to comment the Changes concert as I had the huge honour and pleasure to play drums with them on
a few songs. No doubt that the Changes fans present in the audience will have enjoyed that they passed in review a
good part of their repertoire... where classics ('The Saddest Thing', 'Fire of Life', 'Icarus'...) alternated with songs
from their last album 'Orphan in the Storm' ('Sailor's Song', 'Somewhere in the Night', 'Changes (Theme)'...…) and
unreleased compositions such as the beautiful 'Autumn Day', 'Book of Misery', 'Candle Light'… or the instrumental
'Guitar Interlude' played by Nicholas alone.
The warm applauses that punctuated each song and the end of their set, were obvious signs that the folk noir duo has
(at last) conquered its peers and new fans… or that the American fellows have (at last) 'realised' that they had their
'own' folk pioneers to be proud of.
Michael Moynihan joined Robert and Nicholas on vocals for the two last songs ('Waiting for the Fall', 'Twilight of the
West') that definitely convinced an audience already under the charm of their timeless love and/or apocalyptic folk
songs. I guess that people won't contradict me if I mention the simplicity and kindness of Nicholas and Robert on stage...
even if their set was over, they still played 'R.I.P. Van Winkle's Pipe Dream' as an ultimate one (and after playing a
long set of 21 songs!) just because a fan in the audience requested it.
Blood Axis was the most expected moment by the audience, of course… that soon appeared to be more numerous and absolutely
fascinated by what was happening on stage as soon as Michael began to play the first notes of 'Herjafather' on his
accordion. Accompanied by Annabel Lee (violin, accordion, vocals), Bob Ferbrache (guitar, effects), Jonathan Loose (bass,
vocals) and Scott Broderick (drums, vocals), they played a fine selection of classics ('Eternal Soul', 'The Hangman and the
Papist', 'The March of Brian Boru', 'Lord of Ages', 'Reign I Forever'…), new songs ('The song of the Comrade' with Annabel
on accordion and Michael on bodhran… really convincing live and that contains all the musical and lyrical ingredients to
please to the neofolk lovers) or songs played for the first time (a lively 'Wir rufen deine Wölfe', an impressive and
minimal interpretation of the English folk ballad 'Twa Corbies' by Michael alone on vocals and bodhran), or played only
live like the beautiful 'Life'… and, as usual, the cover of the Joy Division 'They walked in Line' was played as an encore.
A strong and impressive performance! I think that everybody will have appreciated it at its true value, knowing that (as mentioned
by Michael during the concert) it's unlikely that Blood Axis will ever play in NYC again. There are real reasons to nourish
regrets for those who have missed them, as this band really deserves the cult status they built up over the years, thanks
to their persistence, talent, professionalism and intelligence… It's a vain task to try to describe such a performance...
since there are no convenient words to express the power of the most electrified and tense part of the show as well as the
intimate and traditional facet of the songs played in their most humble expression. You just had to experience it for
The same conclusion applies to the whole evening that was definitely a successful event. I wish the Tesco team to keep
the faith and the energy to reorganise such events in the future.
I have surely forgotten to mention a few active members of the evening... I think of DJ Leech (for the French touch in
his first power electronics set), and the fine selection of weird folk played by DJ Princess Coldheart too… and finally
all the people that made (by their simple presence and/or kindness) this event even more than I thought it would be.
Other useful and/or informative links in relation to this 'Descent into the Maelstrom':
The bands involved... Blood Axis, Changes and Dream Into Dust (the last two have updated their website with a gallery
of photos and comments); there is no website (yet?) for The Lindbergh Baby.
Blood Axis: welcome.to/bloodaxis - www.diaboli.com/bloodaxis
Dream Into Dust: www.dreamintodust.com
The website of Jonathan Loose is worth visiting too. Not only is he the bassist of Blood Axis but he is also a
metalsmith who creates jewelry and blades... in a traditional way since he works almost exclusively with his own hand-forged
Damascus with an emphasis on traditional and composite patterns.
I recommend to go and read his thoughts (and a few of his impressions about the last Blood Axis 'tour' in Europe);
they reveal a passionate and cultivated person: www.jloose.com
Tesco USA, that made all that happen, had set up a very complete and informative presentation of the whole evening
(flyer, program) and the careers of the bands involved (biography, discography, mp3s); it's still online
Regarding photos of that night, I suggest to have a look to the two beautiful black and white ones taken by Joshua
Weiner; they can be seen here:
Blood Axis: www.grumpymonk.com/index.php?showimage=67
and to stop for a while to check his amazing gallery of photos that hosts some weird clichés: www.grumpymonk.com
Joshua also took great photos of Dream Into Dust, online here: www.chthonicstreams.com/photos032705.html
Jeff (of Heldentod) also put online a few pics (Dream Into Dust, Changes and Blood Axis):