If the name doesn't tip you off, when it comes to dark, brooding Sacramento band Screature, singer Liz Mahoney embraces the frights: She says seeing them live is “a way to be scared without having to watch a horror film.”
If that’s the case, then the crowd gathered on a recent Saturday night in Midtown was waiting to see the most polite group of movie monsters ever to start a band.
It was an hour before the group’s record release show, and I was seated at a booth inside Holy Diver with Mahoney and guitarist Chris Orr. She described the pre-show hanging out as “throwing a party and waiting for people to show up.”
Orr said the night felt like a homecoming of sorts: The band had played the venue previously, under the Starlite and Townhouse monikers, so the evening’s return felt “very natural.”
The occasion was Old Hand New Wave, Screature’s 11-track third record that dropped in January. The tracks roll on heavy treads like massive machinery; each is an ominous earth mover. Recorded with formerly local producer Chris Woodhouse — whose done albums with Ty Segall and Wild Flag, among others — the music calls to mind early ’80s post-punk. Think Joy Division and Bauhaus. Or, listen:
The band paints with a bleak palate — anger, bitterness, isolation. But if you think that sums up the people in the band, you’d be mistaken.
“Everyone knows we’re total goofballs,” Mahoney said. She described Screature’s sound as “more like singing the blues.
She says it’s about “being able to relate to pain, being able to relate to suffering, transcending that into something of a celebration, that that’s our natural order.”
Mahoney is expecting to announce a summer tour soon, and she also wants to start recording new music — though that could be a way off yet. “I have a feeling it will be a lot different, a lot wilder,” she said, then laughed.
By the time the first band hit the stage at Holy Diver, the crowd was shoulder-to-shoulder. It was packed. Screature's sound translates really well from the record to a live setting. It's big, lurching — and very very loud. On stage, Mahoney is an imposing figure. If I hadn't spoken to her sooner, I'd think she was trying to summon a demon.
And maybe she was, as the rest of the audience was just as transfixed all the way through Screature's set.
Learn more at ScreatureBand.com.
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