While I wouldn’t go as far to say that The Hindenburg celebrates disaster, it certainly has a weird way of commemorating a positively tragic event that happened almost 80 years ago.
This, of course, is in reference to Shindig’s first semifinal night of 2015, to which the venue was host. With a lineup that covered an eclectic musical spectrum, it really was anyone’s game, with no sure bets who would make the finals.
The night’s opener, The Dark Dials (formerly The Vaporettos), hadn’t actually won their preliminary night, but were instead filling in for Pale Red, who couldn’t make the show. Regardless of their somewhat tentative turnout, The Dark Dials made sure to impress upon those who had denied them previously that their presence that night was deserved. The three-piece post-punk outfit filled the room with distorted fuzz and their characteristically casual vocal melodies lying overtop tinkering guitar leads whilst flying around with a fair bit of energy. Whether or not they were seriously considered for the win, their performance was properly appreciated nonetheless.
Up next was Revered, a bizarre operatic duo who fall closer to performance art and overall spectacle than as some sort of conventional group or band. With a bevy of choreographed dance moves, and a particularly interesting master/slave dichotomy between lead singer/mastermind/sadist Emmett Hall and underling Pietro Sammarco, the bustling crowd was privy to a hysterical and completely charming performance.
Despite the obvious parody Hall is engaging in, the insight and overall construction of his lyrical staging is incredibly intricate and full of depth. Playing songs such as “Cold Cheap Son,” “Middle of the End,” and “Capitulation,” we were treated to a combination of ’80s synth, Michael Jackson-esque moves, and the sterling confidence of a Las Vegas performer. Upon their conclusion, I was almost certain that they were fated for the win.
But, whenever Still Creek Murder takes the stage, you’re always in for something special. Samuel Dick (guitar/vox) and Shay Hayashi (drums/vox) are a rock duo well worth admittance alone, and on a night where they’d take a unique approach to their own brand of music, we were treated to more than our fair share.
With plenty of personality and a surplus of talent between them, the two-piece supplemented their sound with a trio of featuring artists. Starting off their set in a more familiar fashion, the duo played through “Formaldehyde,” “TV Headache,” and “King.”
Sam Dick tends to his guitar like a patient in hospice care, comforting it as it violently comes to terms with its own mortality. And with Hayashi both confident and incredible on the drums, Still Creek Murder has a winning recipe almost every time. But with Shindig on the line, other avenues were deemed necessary to explore.
With the inclusion of bass, keys, and cello, which followed in the next two songs, we saw another side of SCM. Despite moments of estrangement during “Lunatic,” their first song together as a full ensemble, the combo bounced back and won the room with an impressive performance of “To Bite Again.” For a band with such a big sound already, this five-piece rendition put them on a new scale of grandiose. So while the band’s charisma and expertise lies in their original lineup, it was the inclusion of these other artists that I’m sure won them the night.
Congratulations and good luck to Still Creek Murder in the final and forever afterwards. Here’s to another successful disaster at The Hindenburg.