Karl Mohr and Ivan Blackbird, Cameron House
I must begin this review by confessing that I did not stay for all of Ivan Blackbird’s set. Ruth Cassie (the singer/songwriter of Ivan Blackbird) writes great songs and has assembled a fantastic band, but I was operating on three hours sleep the night before, had already had two beers, and had to bike home – so I left after her third song.
Anyway. Karl Mohr and the Fallen Angels began their set with slamming guitar tritones and Karl shouting “SUBMISSION!” multiple times before segueing into the first song. This is not a band that wants you to like them. They don’t want to draw you in before going balls-out weird. More than one punter came into the back room of the Cameron, saw what was going on, and left.
However, I like agressive and weird things, and Karl Mohr and the Fallen Angels excel at aggressive weirdness. Karl is a sort of leather-clad Viking David Bowie; his singing ranges from steely to sweet and his performance is awesomely charismatic. (Perhaps too much phallic mike stand stuff for my taste, but then I’m kind of a prude.) Anyone who can write a lyric like:
Hold out your hand.
I’ve got a flaming human head behind my back.
Or maybe –
Maybe I’m the one on fire.
has my full and undivided attention.
This is never going to make it to Top 40 radio, but if you enjoy weird, aggressive, awesome songs with some BDSM themes then this is a band you want to see.
Full disclosure: Karl Mohr is my friend. Ben plays in his band. I used to sing back-up in his band. That doesn’t mean I can’t find his act awesome and tell you why.