Kaeleigh Morrison

Matthew Dear @ El Rey – 10/26/2012

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Promoting their self-titled synth-riddled and distortion-soaked late spring release, Light Asylum opened for Matthew Dear at the El Rey Friday night.

Vocalist Shannon Funchess has worked with many notable acts such as !!! and TV On The Radio, creating a buzz around her addition to the Brooklyn duo, however, it was Bruno Coviello’s Nintendo-inspired melodies that really caught my attention. The stream of keys and MIDI tones was a beautiful, grounded background upon which Funchess spit dark, electro-goth vocals in a furious, Jackson Pollock fashion. During “Pope Will Roll,” Funchess begged “charge me cause I’m feelin’ dark, honey,” after which she began slapping herself while her body twitched and cringed in what looked like the unexpected ecstasy of a musical exorcism.

While most took an anarchy-meets-American-Apparel approach to their evening’s garb, the more Halloween-inclined audience members donned everything from simple masks to thought out costumes. A girl in a petal-coated full-body leotard was dating a skeleton in Clark Desert Boots, who was overheard that his costume was a reference to how he “wouldn’t be caught dead without them.”

A panda, a pig, and a kangaroo drank merrily pressed against the stage while awaiting the headliner to take the stage. Before Dear even took the stage, the venue shook like a New York subway tunnel or an earthquake with some great musical inspiration. Dear, promoting his Ghostly International album Beams, planted himself before the mic, not daring to interrupt the organic explosions of birdcall samples and creamy bass and erupting from the stage. The live band slowly joined Matthew Dear onstage, each taking their place behind respective instruments to dive into an outstanding performance of “Up & Out.”

Reflective light shows danced around the stage as reverb drowned the audience in dance fever. Despite his showy sinister pinstripe suit tucked into his black leather military boots, Dear has a modest yet sincere showmanship. He didn’t waste time to talk to the audience at all, but that didn’t seem too much of a problem to anyone. His persona consisted of dancing around the stage, bobbing his head, and jiving in time with the music.

Marching in time with the music, Matthew Dear led a musical revolution with a shaker as his baton. As the night came to a close, a voice so deep it climbed up his throat and rattled out from behind his molars and said “this is the scariest song I’ve ever written. I like it when you dance. Dance with us. It’s so nice.” Dear and his live band encored with “Her Fantasy.” A strobe light effect stripped and remaining sanity from Dear’s already flamboyantly crazed act.

Dear goes on to complete his worldwide tour, hitting music centers across the US and Europe, completing his promotion of Beams in Paris’s Rex Club December 8th.

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