Photo by Tom Murphy.
Seraphim Shock, Bad Luck City and the Mansfields Friday, June 13, 2008 Gothic Theatre Better Than: Most of the Seraphim Shock line-ups I’ve seen.
Even though Sid Pink didn’t, as is customary, host this show – which meant no “Think Pink” game show in between sets -- with him out, as the fill in host, who displayed enough sardonic wit and contempt to do for the night, noted, this also meant that the show would end on time.
Bad Luck City came out dressed up in suits and better than business casual attire as though attending a funeral. Appropriately enough they opened with the harrowing and electrifying “Bones” from the recently released Adelaide. On “Night Town” the band seemed to have reworked the song so it sounded more like a wicked, Irish ballad of doom than the recorded version — not unlike New Model Army revisiting and reinventing their earlier, musically darker material. The band closed with a song I’d heard before but didn’t recognize from their albums; the track’s beautiful, gently glimmering guitar sound conjured images of sitting in a darkened room, staring at a ceiling dappled with reflections of the sun off a pond creeping through a crack in the curtains.
The Mansfields have long been one of the best and most underrated bands in Colorado. Their sound is one of yesteryear, but they perform that music with a passion unmatched by most other musicians we see on a regular basis. The band’s set was a mixture of punked-up pop and inspired roots rock, including some straight ahead rockabilly numbers -- minus a perverse need to stick to formula. I’ve never seen this band be anything less than spectacular, and this night was no exception. If anything, they’ve gotten better. And, of course, they closed with a cover of Generation X’s “Dancing With Myself” (not the Billy Idol solo version, thanks).
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After being told by the host that we were about to see a band that spends more time in the gym than recording albums, Seraphim Shock took the stage with the attendant drama and fanfare. Charles Edward came out looking like a vampire devil, horns and all and opened with what I assume is a newer song that sounded like the type of sleazy glam metal Edward’s embraced on Halloween, Sex ‘N Vegas. Sometimes that kind of music is purely laughable, but Seraphim Shock, despite its distinctive sense of style and theater, manage to make it fun rather than artistically contemptible. That number was followed by “Shapeshifter” and “Halloween, Sex ‘N Vegas,” before Edwards and company reached back to Red Silk Vow for “After Dark,” with Charles gesturing as if to give the audience and unholy benediction.
The act closed its set out with “Little Gothic” and “White Trash Satan,” a newer, retro rock song that sounded like a ‘60s pop tune shot through with metal guitar. After a brief intermission, the band came back with an encore of “Morning Star,” I think “Mommy Strange” and another new song. Overall, it looked like Charles and the band were having fun again. I’m not sure if any curiosity seekers were there to check out what Jim Compton dubbed “Marilyn Manwich” in action from his appearance on VH-1’s Rock of Love 2, but I am sure that a large group of Seraphim’s old fans had a devilishly good time.
-- Tom Murphy
Critic's Notebook Personal Bias: I’ve been a fan of Seraphim Shock for over eleven years. Random Detail: The gracious Nichole Covington was working the ticket booth. By the Way: This same line-up played The Ogden on January 9, 2004