Chasing September’s blood moon, Chelsea Wolfe and Mamiffer put on a hypnotic show at The Rickshaw last week, enchanting a sizable Wednesday-night audience with their distinctive brands of infernal hymns and apocalyptic lullabyes.
One might have expected that, as the lone opening act, Mamiffer duo Faith Coloccia and Aaron Turner faced an uphill battle to capture the attention of diehard Wolfe fans; but their dark, smoke-shrouded set began without fanfare and immediately rooted the crowd to the spot with languid melodies. Their particular approach to contemporary classical weaves in and out through slow passages of light and shadow, serene yet serrated, dressing cold spaces with buzzing drones and warm, whirling trails of Coloccia’s echoing voice (highlight: “Flower of the Field”; the Celtic lilt of its haunting vocal melody and simple accompaniment is strongly reminiscent of Irish avant singer-songwriter Laura Sheeran‘s early work.)
The listener’s perception of time was so dilated by the experience that an hour-long set passed as a single, protracted moment, subsequently broken by a different kind of spell when Wolfe and her touring band launched into “Carrion Flowers”, the opening track from her latest album, Abyss; although fans and critics alike have remarked on its substantive metal sound, Abyss nevertheless strikes one as being more firmly rooted in early industrial/no-wave music than metal, as demonstrated by the Swans-like “Carrion Flowers”.
Wolfe and company played through most of the new album with only a handful of tracks from previous releases (i.e. “Kings”, “Mer”, “House of Metal”, and “Pale on Pale”) and even fewer words uttered between songs; sometimes less is more, but coupled with the stark backlighting and heavy fog effects that reduced performers to silhouettes for most of the show, the preservation of Wolfe’s mystique seemed to walk a thin line bordering on the agoraphobic.
In any case, while editing the images for this event’s photo gallery, we decided to frame them with vintage-style borders to emphasize the dark, otherworldly beauty of these acts. Enjoy.