Holy shit, I love this place. Besides that it’s in Glendale, which is weird and cool, it smells like a gay bar (deodorant free) and it’s basically one room with a bar and that’s it. It’s like a really nice warehouse, and that’s awesome. The Complex was just opened last year by John Giovanazzi, who also does industrial/goth night Das Bunker at Jewel’s Catch One. His new venue has a lot of that same vibe, minimally decorated and with great sound.
|Body of Light|
The first band I saw was called Body of Light. They were a two-piece; one guy played moody synth chords and triggered primal drum machine beats while the other sang. I was really struck by the singer’s charisma. Besides being very handsome, he really owned the stage, clutching the microphone intensely and raising his tattooed arms up like he was laying back in a hammock. A couple of their songs were really catchy — one saw the singer delivering a repeating vocal with no less passion each time, over a stately four-chord part; another had a three-note bassy riff driving the song, while the keyboardist piled sound above and the singer held out long intoned notes and kneeled before the audience, raising the mic skyward. This was some real rock star stuff. The singer even came into the crowd and sang into my boyfriend’s face.
Pure Ground was next. Their songs had cool goth riffs and pretty complex programmed beats, with long interludes in between. They followed the Ian Curtis school of deep-voiced, echoed vocals, which was well-suited to their slowly constructed songs. I felt like there was something to hit you at each level of frequency, rather than a pile of mashed notes. One song reminded me of Berlin’s “Riding on the Metro”; another kind of had an Atoms for Peace vibe of dense, paranoia-inducing synth stabs. Despite the fact that they faced one another the whole time, they maintained interest throughout and came up with a variety of sounds within strict guidelines. At one point I was sitting and they had so much bass on that it felt like a massage. They also did this thing at the end of their set where all of their equipment seemed to be on at full blast and the sound poured over you like molten rock. I thought that was pretty cool.
Pharmakon came on next. She moaned over a more free-form track and got the audience used to her confrontational structure. Then came her “hit,” “Crawling on Bruised Knee,” which if you haven’t heard it yet, listen here and be very jarred and excited. Pharamkon aka Margaret Chardiet scream-sings through echoed-out diatribes over airplane-drooping beats. It sounded incredible; seeing this song live was definitely the highlight of the show. Chardiet was a maze of blonde hair, strutting across the stage alone over murdery synth stabs on her Psycho-ish third song (I think it was “Milkweed/It Hangs Heavy,” the harrowing opener to her awesome album, Abandon). It’s hard to describe how cool it was seeing this cute little blonde girl sucking up the microphone and vomiting noise into it.
Lust For Youth singer Hannes Norrvide sized up the crowd as a series of samples played — “so was she like the first big girlfriend or something?” asked a disembodied woman’s voice over and over again, and a synth field eventually grew as Norrvide stared hard into the audience. Norrvide stayed in watch mode until their second song, in which his synth player upped the beats and Norrvide took to the mic for seemingly dispassionate proclamations that nonetheless felt emotional. Single “Breaking Silence,” from the recently released Perfect View, was bassy as hell. Norrvide took off his jacket so that both members of the band were in plain white T-shirts. The next song rumbled me from head to toe. It was really just two synth chords and a glitchy beat programmed to run to infinity, but Norrvide made it memorable by owning the stage. Their next song sounded like propaganda, full of explosions and a lockstep beat for a sort of government-mandated dance party. Washes of synth noise drowned out the duo as they exited a show radiating seductive cool.