The Black Queen @ The Deaf Institute
The Dillinger Escape Plan and Nine Inch Nails collide with glorious results
Words: Phil Weller | Photos: Jack Kirkwin
At one point tonight there was a glint in Greg Puciato's eyes where old habits and impulses were on the verge of taking over and launching him into the tightly packed, arms-aloft crowd of The Deaf Institute. The past few years have seen the 36 year old, with life in The Dillinger Escape Plan winding down, spread his artistic wings somewhat, but for a man who cut his teeth fronting an act defined by a full throttle, spasmodic fury - and one famed for their chaotic live shows - it is taking a little time to adjust to these new, more ethereal and tranquil settings. But while his environment may still be a little alien - with this only their seventh show - his vocals sound completely and utterly at home atop the glittered, synth pop soundscapes of The Black Queen.
London quartet Collapsing Scenery had gotten things moving with a loud, decibel-puncturing set of fizzing synths and, thanks to their two drummers, a real room shaking presence. A vibrant light show was beamed over the band, giving it all a very dream like visage, and it crowned a live show which their recorded material does no justice in preparing you for. But, as enjoyable as they were, they always felt like a pleasant distraction ahead of the main attraction.
A true artist doesn’t limit their creative boundaries, doesn’t confide oneself into a specific niche or outlook, and for Puciato, The Black Queen represents both a breath of fresh air - where his incredible singing voice is perhaps most potently utilised - and a fruitful future for his post-Dillinger career.
The hip-swivelling, glitching beats of Secret Scream give us a tantalising early highlight; a song which tangled wonderfully with Puciato's seductively purred vocals. Consumed meanwhile, which generated one of many crowd sing-alongs, managed to sound agonised, spooked and gracious all the same.
Despite the absence and feel of a live drum kit, former Nine Inch Nails collaborator Joshua Eustis, behind a table littered with geeky technology, provided enough rumbling low end to bring their modern sound to life which was particularly important for the many metalheads in the crowd. Steven Alexander, always prowling stage left, who has worked as guitar tech for both TDEP and NIN previously, amplified their depth with swathes of effects drenched guitars. Together they fused with a vivaciousness, Puciato's animated voice and engaging persona the icing on the cake.
Maybe We Should and Ice To Never, two of the strongest songs on their début record, Fever Daydream, are well placed between slower, more meditative and gloomy songs in their set. Brimming with a special energy and swagger, they warm the atmosphere in the room and, if you’ll forgive the cliché, it’s smiles all round in a room populated by a hugely diverse set of people.
The journey for this band is just beginning but after tonight you just know that this is a project with bright horizons and a graceful longevity.
The Black Queen: http://www.theblackqueen.com/
The Deaf Institute: http://www.thedeafinstitute.co.uk/