LIVE REVIEW: Holograms & TV Ghost

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Holograms

Last year around this time everyone I knew was nervous about the world ending.  At the very least, friends of mine made Mayan Apocalypse jokes until I wished the sky would just blow up already.  But on the morning of December 21st, everything was the same as it had been the morning before.  There were no explosions.  There were no human sacrifices and no meteor and no floods and no getting sucked into a black hole.  The world went on unchanged.

If you’re ever in the mood to fantasize about where humanity might be if gravity had reversed, causing catastrophic disasters, shortages of resources, and mass rioting, and you need some kind of soundtrack to compliment it, you could certainly do worse than TV Ghost or Holograms.  Both bands played 285 Kent last Friday and the mood was calamitous to say the least.

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Holograms
Holograms prefer to play in the dark behind a veil of fog and wall of synths

Holograms hail from Stockholm, an area of the globe closely linked to black metal and kidnapping.  In December they only get six hours of daylight.  In terms of culture and architecture and progressive politics though, it’s probably far less bleak than living Lafayette, Indiana – the birthplace of TV Ghost, and of Axl Rose.  Both bands released highly-regarded records this year – Holograms’ sophomore effort Forever is an unflagging deluge of melodic Scandinavian post-punk, and Disconnect promises to be the dark gem that will finally put enigmatic no-wavers TV Ghost on the map after two stellar but mostly underrated albums.  They’re on tour together throughout December and one can only imagine the conversations they have (or don’t have in favor of morosely staring off into space), but if their albums are any indication then disillusionment, synths and slasher flicks are topics that probably come up frequently.

On stage it’s interesting to note the way each band’s approach to live performance skews Scandinavian vs. Midwestern.  TV Ghost frontman Tim Gick swivels and stumbles like a drunken Frankenstein, climbing speakers one second and crawling through the crowd the next, black curls trembling on his forehead, his voice somewhere between haunted croon and hollow moan, Adam’s apple looking like it’s about to burst through the pale skin at his throat.  He’s fascinating to watch, at once unabashed and seemingly wounded, his bandmates plugging away with intense focus, as if there is no maniac writhing between them and the audience.

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TV Ghost
TV Ghost creeping out 285 Kent

Gick’s gothic antics come off distinctly American next to Holograms’ minimalist approach.  The band was mostly obscured by fog machine and strobes (and by the synths that took front and center stage).  But somewhere in the haze, past the tumultuous mosh pit, Andreas Lagerström’s monolithic howl rang out, ominous and urgent.  It’s the constantly undulating synths that permeate each track and pierce the somber moodiness of the band’s shows.  I saw Holograms last fall on the tour that famously broke them before sending them back to Europe destitute and both times I was astounded by the sheer energy Holograms project and inspire, regardless of the weightiness of their work.  On their Facebook page, the band implores followers for floors to sleep on, on “Ättestupa” Lagerström wails “I’m so tired”.  Maybe that’s true, but you also get the sense that Holograms are plodding ceaselessly onward toward some indefinable future, and will continue to do so until the fire so frequently mentioned on Forever consumes the Earth and each of its inhabitants.

When that day comes, lets hope our record players are still working.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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