Sounding the 805
Cirque de L’estrange brings the darkness, and local punk bands start the year off right
By Chris Mastrovito 01/06/2011
If you are one of the people who feel that a. the modern age lacks a sense of wonder and darkness, b. there is an unacceptable underuse of candles as a mainstream source of utility lighting, or c. Victorian vampire fashion is the most authentic expression of how you feel inside, and Friday, Jan. 14, finds you without a midnight ball to attend, you have somewhere to go after all.
Cirque De L’estrange, the goth carnival event that has gained a local following with its nightclub happenings centering around dark vaudevillian theatrical performances and mostly goth, industrial and darkwave music, returns to Pangaea 2.0 (formerly the Dirty, and even formerly-er, the Dirty Vinyl) for its first event of the new year. Yes, there will be dim lighting, fire breathing, dancing and, of course, live music.
Returning to Cirque De L’estrange is Cirque Noir, a local band, or more suitably, a local act, that fits the same eccentric bill and appeals to general proclivities toward the bizarre. While musically distinct from both goth and metal, as generically defined, Cirque Noir elicits the same dark atmospheric feel and lyrical themes of both, but with the added interest of having its nocturnal music interlaced with comedic skits and other such audience participatory theatrics of late nineteenth century burlesque. Says frontman Crazy, “We have been called steampunk, burlequse, blitz bizarre and dark cabaret — whatever that is.” Consisting of six human musicians (five if you don’t count the nameless man-rabbit playing bass) and one stagehand to help execute their onstage antics, “We try to turn the show into a modern-day vaudeville, but putting our own twist on it,” says Crazy, who, along with co-founder, frontman and ringleader Grasshopper, has been at the project since 2008 perfecting the idea.
Proudly hailing from Ventura, Cirque Noir fixes its gaze in 2011 on expanding to performances in the L.A. area and the completion of a long-labored, full-length album. Cirque De L’estrange will also feature the award-winning L.A. musician Jon Magnificent. Carnivale-themed or otherwise dark attire is strongly encouraged.
It’s a good weekend for all-ages punk shows at Rock City Studios in Camarillo. On Jan. 8, the widely popular Blasting Concept (Santa Barbara), Black America (awesome Santa Cruz band) and Dead Relatives (from L.A. and sporting a killer Corey Feldman look-alike lead singer) kick off the weekend. Then on Jan. 9, catch the one-night-only reunion of Oxnard punk/hardcore band Total Resistance (2003-2009), along with special guests from the local scene Retaliate (ex-In-Control), Trial by Fury, Crucial, Full Blown Aids and, in true underground punk fashion, almost too many other bands to squeeze on a flier.
High-testosterone heavy metal and hardcore punk reign on Jan. 7 at Billy O’s Bar & Grill for the CD release by Ventura’s Beachside Stranglers, together with American Hoss and probably Ventura’s loudest band, The Generator. Be careful out there in those Billy O’s pits (Watch those bar corners, punks.)