A note to up and coming bands: Your PR pics matter! Good ones relay what your band is about, capture a casual glance and raise interest. And I have to say photographers Cody Bourdot & Kristi Fox Fräzier certainly managed that for Minneapolis’ Wax Lead. I was scrolling through the Icehouse’s show listing the image for Wednesday night’s show was oozing dark, mysterious and edgy. So of course I had to click and find out more. Long story short I found myself walking into the Icehouse ready for a night of moody darkness and I was not disappointed.
I knew it was going a good night when I was greeted by the sounds of the Cruxshadows as I walked into the venue. DJ Mercury played a very interesting dark set that also had Tom Jones “She’s a Lady”.
Witch Watch got the action started on stage. The band got its start in 2017, put out 2 albums and released a cassette that night. Their sound is quite layered with 2 guitarists weaving a complex web. If I had to shoehorn them into one category it would be shoegaze but there are so many influences that pop up in their music making their live show quite interesting.
Set List: Ivy / Transparencies / Ash & Apple / Greater Ex / Eclipse / Decap F. Nov / Triformus / Seconds / Growing Gold / Champion Sleeper / Gravity GrooveWax Lead took lights and sound a bit darker than their opener. Singer Holly Axelrod wrote the first song “Pit Of The Apricot” when she was 19. It instantly set the mood for the set. There was an eerie quality to Wax Lead’s sound. In part it was the vocals but I found my eyes being drawn to a strange instrument on stage that looked like it came out of a science fiction movie. Turns out the instrument was a Theremin and actually was created in the 1920 by a Soviet / Russian scientist as an offshoot to proximity sensor research. Checking out the Theremin on YouTube led me down a bit of a rabbit hole (how cool is a laser harp?), but I digress.
Wax Lead’s sound immerses the listener, at one point I was reminded of scenes from Apocalypse Now. Axelrod’s vocals remind me of Fiona Apple, but without the “the girl is troubled” aura that Apple projected early in her career.
Turns out it was Axelrod’s birthday – band and audience sang “Happy Birthday” over her protests. A love song on the setlist was dropped by mutual consent. “We’ll skip the love song, and go straight to regret”, she informed fans.
All said, I enjoyed both bands they will remain on my radar. They should be on yours as well.
Set List: Pit Of The Apricot / When I Learned Your Name / 16 Candles / I Hear You’re Here Again / Shoals & Shallows / Honey On The Moon / Out Of The Light / Lucky In Love / No Man’s Land / Forgive Me / Walk On Water