The blinding lights of London's West End were left blurred and obscured by an aural disturbance attributed to LA's nu-noir - The Icarus Line. Equally immersed in the eerie urban underworld of the City of Angels Radio Vago displayed more defiant insanity only distinguishable by a divergence of the x and y chromosomes.
The introduction to this evening's incursion consisted of a barrage of blood-curdling cords by the Icarus Line. Their sound, strongly submerged in a sickness that is deliciously dangerous, lends as much kinship to early 80s West Coast hardcore as to their overt affinity to the hedonistic horror show of the Misfits. Icarus may have been the man who fell from the skies, but these fiends - transfixing with red eyelinered stares - instead surfaced from a realm far below. From the start, the band seems only seconds away from imploding in a fit of insanity, teetering between the vicious stop/start spasms of Aaron North and Alvin DeGuzman's guitars, kept ablaze only by the scorching vocals of frontman Joe Cardamone. With a short yet feverish set, sourced mainly from their debut album Mono (CRANK!), the Icarus line earned their keep this evening, and sent a warning shot to the faint of heart to be afraid of what future carnage they may well produce.
Without a second to breath or a place to hide, the estrogen induced onslaught of Radio Vago unleashed in a synth-layered post-punk permutation - a new wave nightmare drowning in the doldrums of dissonance and dirge. One would be naive to simply attribute their mundane, yet feminine facade to a hybrid of a goth darkened riot-grrrl, their sound is as equally challenging and ambiguous as their sexuality.
From the outset, the Vago's veracious singer Adrienne Pearson seems possessed by an insatiable urge to expel an impending anti-glitz apocalypse. Their set began with the more angular art-rock bass/guitar abstractions from their initial EP Black & White Photo Enterprise (Buddyhead) that are hypnotic and at times even danceable. Stand out tracks included 'Blood on My Hands' and 'Mail Order Bride'. But as the performance progresses, a glimpse of their soon to be released dark-core debut LP, 'Arms of the Holy' exposes a far more sinister syth-driven sound. What emerges on this release is a something that's far more atmospherically abstract, both mesmerising and disturbing at the same time.
Few groups emerge fully and effectively formed, but with the premise behind Radio Vago slowly solidifying, a musical niche seems theirs for the taking. With hometown accolades (recognition by the LA Weekly as one of the city's best bands of 2002), and upcoming shows with more established acts such as the Yeah, Yeah, Yeah's and the Donnas, by the time Radio Vago's dark cloud resurfaces in the UK, their rhythmic wave of sound may well be in bloom.
Photo by Rico Iseppi :: email@example.com