Saturday, March 5, 2011

David J concert review: Riverside, CA

David J made a rare Inland Empire solo appearance on Friday night.

Backed by Portland avant-goth rock band Adrian H and the Wounds, the founding Bauhaus and Love & Rockets member brought his “night of black cabaret” to Romano’s Concert Lounge in Riverside.

Last week at L.A.’s Million Dollar Theatre, the singer performed The Chanteuse and the Devil’s Muse. It's a new short form play with music, based on his previous Black Dahlia song cycle composed for 2007 indie flick “The Devil’s Muse” (where J portrayed a scientist and served as consulting producer). 

This highly intriguing, yet sparsely attended gig was a trip through dim corners of the past. Some selections dated back 75 years or more. The hour-long, 14-song set kicked off well past midnight with “The Boulevard of Broken Dreams” (not Green Day’s tune, but the Warren/Dubin number from 1934 film “Moulin Rouge,” later popularized by Tony Bennett).

Then J and the group delved into Tom Waits’ “Dead and Lovely,” traditional folk song “St. James Infirmary” (Louis Armstrong made it famous in 1928) and “Black Dahlia” tune “Pretty.”

“I wrote this while staying in King’s Cross [area of London] and watching the people who ended up as streetwalkers. One was murdered,” said J, about the origin of “Candy on the Cross” off his great 1992’s Urban Urbane disc. J emerged from a sheet music stand and did a more intensely dramatic delivery as the bleak song was peppered with crazed, John Zorn-like squeals from the band's sax player. Easily a set highlight.

After the 1930s German ballad “Falling in Love Again (Can’t Help It)” and Philip Glass’ piano dominant “Streets of Berlin,” J delved into his first solo effort “The Etiquette of Violence” for a chilling recitation of “Joe Orton’s Wedding” that recalled pirate music.

“Who Killed Mr. Moonlight” (originally sung by J on Bauhaus’ Burning from the Inside) fascinatingly built from tentative moodiness to full on crashing drums and keyboards. A slower, completely reworked “Bela Lagosi’s Dead” (more wild sax flourishes) retained its mournful sense of doom and J gestured as he sang/spoke it.

J’s latest single - the jumping, rave up rocker "Bloodsucker Blues" – injected more energy into the proceedings.

“This is my first time playing this,” noted the singer, before a punchy, music hall-styled “Spirit” by Bauhaus. For the encores, J went to David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane album for a cool take on “Time,” then Love & Rocket’s “No New Tale to Tell,” reworked slowly with sax, organ and a dramatic lyrical recitation.

3/6 The Echo, LA
3/7 The Casbah, San Diego
3/11, 3/18 Supper Club, LA
3/15, 3/29 The Standard, LA
3/26 Million Dollar Theater, LA
4/15 The Lovecraft, Portland
4/22 El Corazon, Seattle

To check out more info on his various projects, including the collaboration with Generation Bass and the progress of recording forthcoming album Not Long for This World, go to:


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dig the review. Dug the show.