Over the Weekend...The Silver Cord, Split Second Massacre, Slight Harp @ Cafe Cero

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The Silver Cord w/Split Second Massacre and Slight Harp Friday, May 30, 2008 Café Cero, Denver Better Than: Going to The Shelter to hear faux-Goth EBM.

Unfortunately I arrived just as Slight Harp’s set had ended and didn’t get to enjoy its experimental ambient/post-rock goodness. When they say the show starts early at Café Cero, they’re not kidding. Originally, avant-punk outfit The Construct was going to be performing but Jeremy Gregory tore an abdominal muscle and had to bow out. So last minute, Split Second Massacre joined the bill.

In the past, I’ve really disliked all of Cristophe Cranberri's projects. And Split Second Massacre is no exception. They all seemed half-baked ideas to be dark and artsy while still rocking but came off as just so much uninspired metal. This night, though, the band fared a lot better. Its attempt to synthesize metal, reggae and punk rock has completely failed in the past but it somehow made it work for this show. It opened with a pretty decent straight ahead reggae number. Much of the rest of the set was a combination of straight ahead metal (as in the song “Crystal Death”) and pop punk informed by ska. To the band’s credit, they played well. Cranberri, unlike way too many metal singers, doesn’t go in for that silly screaming or Cookie Monster growling and they played like they actually cared about their music even though the crowd was somewhat slender when they performed. Part way through the set someone from Café Cero came to the stage and said they needed to turn down because their neighbor was “going bonkers” and had called to complain. Oddly enough, Split Second Massacre is one of the few metal/punk bands that doesn’t rely on pure volume to get the point across and were in fact not that loud. But they didn’t complain and just turned down and got back to playing like professionals.

The Silver Cord opened its set with one of its best numbers, “One Lonely Star,” with its haunting, ambient opening sequence and martial rhythms once the percussion, guitar and vocals kicked in. After playing one of its expansive new songs, “Veil,” this band, too, was asked to turn down for similarly ridiculous reasons as the previous band. Nonetheless, the band performed like they were having fun despite the bleak and harrowing subject matter of its songs. It performed the entirety of the group's unreleased EP, The Choir of Chaos. It was some of its earliest material and some of its best, reminiscent of Pornography-era Cure. Some people make music to celebrate, some to exorcise and externalize personal demons. Even though this band, especially with “My Faded Spirit,” paints a perfect portrait of anguish in music, its shows expunge the negative electricity in your brain when you have too much time to yourself to dwell on the roots of your despair.

Personal Bias: I like the dilapidated yet semi-classy vibe of Café Cero’s main room. Random Detail: There is an aquarium filled mostly with cichlids between the bar and the performance space. By the Way: Don’t live next to a bar if you’re easily bothered by noise.

-- Tom Murphy

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