Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Live Shows: Charming Disaster, Secret Location, Charlestown, MA 3/12/23

There are just some bands you don't want to see in a standard rock club setting. Sure, it would be fine, but some bands might work best in an artist's space in a former coffin factory along with poetry and an aerialist. That was the setting where I finally got to see Charming Disaster.

It was a weird, magical, and wonderful night. The evening was set up as two separate sets. Each set saw Peter Bufano playing a few songs on accordion to get started, a few poems read by traveling Austrian poet Rudolf Stueger, and then Charming Disaster. Their sets of songs about murder and the supernatural were selected by audience members choosing tarot cards (except for a couple that were pre-selected so the duo could be joined by Bufano on accordion. For their live show, Jeff Morris played guitar and Ellia Bisker was on ukulele and a cymbal/tambourine that was played with a foot pedal. 

The level of theatricality for a small show was perfection. For "Ghost Story," both Bisker and Morris started off with their backs to the audience, turning around for their verses and the chorus. One song they played blindfolded. They had the audience respond to every tarot card selected with an "OooooOOOOooooh!" Charming Disaster are the kind of band that takes pure delight in the dark and mysterious, and their audience is drawn by that. If you find songs about a couple's relationship after one tragically dies, an ogress that cooks and eats children, and Marie Curie, chances are you already love Charming Disaster.

The other predetermined song was for the end of their second set, which saw Bufano rejoin the duo and aerialist Rachel Barringer perform on the other set of the room. She performed on a hoop suspended from the ceiling, and mesmerized the crowd with intense and beautiful acrobatics while Charming Disaster played. (There was a red circle on the ground that was referred to as the "Circle of Decapitation" throughout the night as the audience was warned to stay out of the area during the performance to avoid personal harm.) 

Sure, Charming Disaster could have played any of Boston's small clubs that night, but would any of them been as perfect and unique as this one?

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