Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Live Shows: Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys and Ruby Rose Fox, The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA 9/9/16

Photo by Ken Sears
A Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys show is always more of an event than just a mere concert. The month leading up to their album release show last Friday at The Sinclair promised a spectacle that any fan simply had to attend. It was a lot of hype, especially considering some of the shows I have seen of theirs in the past, but I headed out to Cambridge to check it out.

The band chose to play their just released that day album, Come Black Magic, in its entirety from start to finish for the main portion of the set. The album/show opener, "Children of the Cauldron," is more of an intro, clocking in at under 90 seconds of noise with Walter Sickert ranting over it. The performance of the song featured vocalist/percussionist/mandolin player Mary Widow painting burlesque performer Belle Gunz's body, nude except for pasties and a g-string. From there, they broke into the raucous main single, "Come Black Magic." It's easy for the loud songs at a live show to take
Photo by Ken Sears
all the attention (they are more fun to bop around, after all), but this night some of the more quiet ones were quite memorable. "Behave," about ghost children, really stood out thanks to the relatively new backing vocals of Mary Widow. Another highlight was the ode to The Shining, "Red Rum." That could partially be because it's been a staple of their live show for a few years now, so the crowd was more familiar with it. It did highlight the only disappointment of the show: The movie footage from The Shining played one song earlier than "Red Rum." It's more disappointing not for the crowd, but that planning went slightly wrong. They also played their cover of Bjork's "Army of Me," and told a tale of climbing a mountain to present their cover to Bjork herself. She was so pleased with it, she didn't throw it off the mountain as she did other gifts. [Editor's note: This story has not been verified by Bjork's publicist.]

Photo by Ken Sears
It's also the only show I've ever been to that was interrupted by a bedtime story for a toddler. Towards the end of the main set, Walter Sickert and Edie Edrie's daughter wandered out on stage for a reading of a board book copy of Jabberwocky. That might seem out of place at any concert, particularly one that goes after midnight and features various levels of nudity. The song before featured another dancer wearing only pasties and a g-string, after all. The Army of Broken Toy's entire catalog is made up primarily of songs involving death, the apocalypse, murder, etc. But, at the heart of it, they are primarily a family band of misfits spreading a message of love, in their own bizarre little way. Not many artists can pull off singing the line "Momma will daddy kill us" with love in their hearts, but the Army of Broken Toys are that band.

Although I didn't catch much of her set, I do have to mention Ruby Rose Fox. People having been raving about
Photo by Ken Sears
her in the Boston area for years, but she's never really done it for me. Her music, while nice, was a little too mainstream for my personal taste. After seeing her live on Friday? Now I totally get it. Ruby Rose Fox is an insanely talented singer and performer who brings a unique spin on her branch of the new soul movement. It is a wee bit more mainstream than I would normally like, but sometimes pure talent defies personal taste. She definitely had her own fans that showed up very well dressed and singing every word to songs like "Bury the Body." She may have seemed to be an odd choice to open up for a steam crunk/folk/punk/metal/burlesque band, but Friday was more of a celebration of the entire Boston music scene than a genre. I wish more shows were booked like this.

1 comment:

  1. This place doesn’t have any 'i'm too cool and busy for you' wait staff. As per me, everyone at venues in San Francisco is nice, friendly, and helpful and they really seem to like their jobs there and that is important to me. We had an awesome experience here.