Choir Boy took us to the goth cathedral for a night of hauntingly beautiful dream pop curated by DREAM Presents.
As the brisk Tuesday night beckoned most of the audience to huddle into the tiny Whistle Stop Bar (cash only, don’t you forget!), the music was just beginning to start. It’s exciting to catch a show at this legendary South Park venue (known famously for its Booty Basement nights), without a stage and the audience has to cozy up with one another to catch a glimpse of the band. The lineup for this show was tastefully assembled by DREAM, with each band rooted in a similar period yet presenting a different style of the music that dominated the 1980’s.
The Victoriana started the night with goth-tinged new wave songs. The duo, based out of Riverside, dipped into songs off of their DREAM Recording’s debut, Fleetingly, But Completely. “Of You”, featuring a slinking guitar rhythm and twinkling synth flourishes, was a favorite, making me want to put on a black leather jacket and some white make-up, and saunter down a dark alley way with some attitude.
SRSQ was up next, and she hastily built a mound of synths such that she had herself a small fortress of sound by the time she started playing. Her stunning and booming voice (reminiscent to the Cocteau Twins) shook the very foundations of the venue, with her army of synths building and dissolving like stormy waves crashing into the Pacific Ocean. By the end of her set, the crowd seemed to have awoken from a transcendent state. Her new album, Unreality, is a must listen.
After those two bands opened, it was hard to imagine another band that would meet the high bar that was set. Choir Boy stepped up to the challenge and exceeded all expectations. Like their opening set last June for Cold Cave, their deeply felt emotional music was delivered to the Whistle Stop crowd. Lead singer Adam Klopp’s angelic, mournful voice was at its peak, ranging from lovely falsettos to deep croons and screams. The quartet utilized a drum machine for percussion, which expanded their sound with more guitar and synth. Much like their album, Passive With Desire, instruments drifted in and out like figures in a mirage.
The band tugged heart-strings when SRSQ joined them for “Leave Me Be,” and the whole room was swaying to the rest of the set. The dimly lit room shown like desert night stars as a disco ball began to spin throughout the rest of the set, adding to the nostalgia of a bygone era. The mixture of classic artists like the Cure, other amazing artists of the 4AD era gave the band an immediately enjoyable sound, but something about Choir Boy’s music sounded new and fresh.