The Evening of Sinister Amusement at Hollywood’s Unknown Theatre was a little sinister, a little amusing, and all in all some great entertainment. After a long, long, (maybe I got there too early?) long time to get started, in which I was subject to way too much Ramones, the night finally opened with films by Sandra Powers – she spoke breifly about her films before the screening. She was deceptively cute in appearance and mannerisms compared to her films.
This is a lady with a future in goth music videos. She showed four films, the three best being “Overture”, “Exoskeleton”, and “The Bleak”. Has anyone ever seen that strange foreign film Tuvalu? The gestalt of her film aesthetic is as if Marilyn Manson lived in the world of Tuvalu, and was the film director for the main character’s big operatic debut. Powers’ films are at once beautiful, revolting, and impossible to look away from. Macabre in every sense of the word,Powers’ films are all grainy-filmed, jerky camera worked, with a frantic haunting soundtrack, and jagged, jarring imagery. Four short films just weren’t enough – I will be the first in line to see a feature-length from Sandra Powers.
Next up was Timur and the Dime Museum. Timur provided the vocal soundtrack for many of Powers’ films, and all of a sudden, there they were, playing live on stage. Timur begins acapella, and the three-piece Dime Museum chimed in later, but without the melancholic beauty of Powers’ imagery, it was a bit of a let-down. But it’s always good when a band has a sense of humor, which came through when they began a rousing round of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.” I’ll admire them for their bravery, but that song is a bit like covering Kermy’s “It’s Not Easy Being Green” – done so well to begin with, it’s really, really hard to do better.
And then the headliners came on - Mather Louth and Radio Noir, the hosts of the night. And what a voice! Mather’s like an old, soulful Nick Cave, all gutteral and bellowing, powerful and sexy. Mather Louth and Radio Noir were the best of the night, opening with a soulful, nearly acapella tune, before bursting into a glam-rocky, hepcattish, rollicking good time that gave a breath of life and reawakened the night. Mather’s classy, vintage voice was the perfect icing to the gritty beauty of the rest of the night.
Then they covered Pasty Cline’s “Walking After Midnight” - that song has never been so sexy and dangerous all at once, and Mather and Radio Noir easily got the crowd swing dancing in pairs, and looking around, everyone was transfixed by Mather and Radio Noir. When the stage lights got going, it was like being an extra in an uber-cool noir movie watching the cooler-than-cool live band as some kind of edgy story unfolds around us. Like Urge Ovekill in the Big Lebowski.
Mather Louth and Radio Noir are playing again at the Unknown Theatre in January, so get down and see them!