As I walked up the Thalia Hall stairs and over heard the opening band just about to start their set, I was filled with an overwhelming energy. There is just something about the that retro synth sound that has become synonymous with a pulse raising atmosphere that can’t be denied. As I made way through the crowd (including someone dresses as a nun) I couldn’t help but be completely pulled into the the night’s intensity. With a lineup of Replican, Gost, and Perbutator, I knew it was going to be a non stop evening of dark synthwave treats (and thankfully it was great!)
Replicant‘s started off the night with the kind push it needed. Their sound is incredibly palatable and and danceable, as vocalist Garrett Vernon’s voice rumbles lyrics of dystopian themes with goth grace. His voice is low and all consuming as the electronic synth coming from Justin DeLay and Jordan DeLay’s impressive bass power along. Replicant’s cool air of mystery, enhanced by their illuminated logo in the background and the darkness of the night letting them play in sillhoutte (as the rest of the evening’s acts were), really meshed well with the enthusiastic crowd.
The same goes for GOST, although in a completely different way. While their sound too fed off the retro futurism of unwavering synths, the vocals and rapidness of the sounds were a completely different monster. Instead of the theatrical almost operatic goth vibes that exuded from Replicant, GOST came at the crowd with hellish screams escaping with demonic fury. It fit incredibly well with their darker, more metal like tone they presented: white and black paint covering their faces while flashes of white light emanated from behind them. The first half of their set was completely devoted to more instrumental heavy songs, driving relentlessly into the crowd, before their explosive vocals came forth. It was an aggressive and heated set that definitely had the crowd riled up for more.
Before I knew it, Perturbator came to the stage accompanied by his drummer . In an instant i was met with their wall of sound that nearly sent me to me feet. strong, blistering synths underlines by the live drums were invigorating and bordering on masterful and the blinding (and I mean BLINDING) lights danced around them. As the lights waved around, emitting their heat as they floated across one’s skin, Perturbator unleashed song asfter song of mind altering synthwave the drove the crowd crazy.
I first head of Perturbator’s music through the two Hotline Miami soundtracks. The games’ 80s drenched style mixed with the modern ultra violent gameplay (which were being satirized to the point of condemnation by the game itself) felt perfectly in line with Perturbator’s lively sound. Much like the other artists in the night, Perturbator strives on these ever escalating tracks that come to a head in particularity intense ways.
The crowd was definitely reflected that it as crowd surfers and mosh pits spread throughout the audience. This wasn’t music that you just stand around and sway to, this demanded something more. The audience became more immersed in the atmosphere with every passing song, letting the rush of the darkly themed synthwave carry them away.