Review – Black Heart Procession at the Biltmore Cabaret, Vancouver, Nov 12 2009
– review by Alicia-Rae Light
The Black Heart Procession, the eclectic melodramatic rock quartet of San Diego/Portland natives, put on a show that was perfectly suited for the dark ambiance of the Biltmore Cabaret on a rainy fall night.
Slow, somber and steady dark guitar chords resounded throughout the room from singer-guitarist Pall Jenkins, eyes hidden by black Ray Bans and a beer hanging in his shirt pocket, and multi-instrumentalist Tobias Nathaniel, his partner in the band. Three touring musicians helped the duo flesh out older songs as well as material from Six, the Black Heart Procession’s first new album in three years,
Bass, guitar, drums and synth mixed with the not-so-usual violin, triangle, and spoons. The highlight of the show was the singing saw, a sheet of metal played with a violin bow exuding sounds of a howling ghost, and on a par with Jenkins’ eerie vocals and emotional lyrics.
“You come to crush my soul, you come to steal my home,” sang Jenkins as the melancholic sounds from the instruments began to lull me into sleep, while at the same time the eerie vocals kept me enthralled.
The Black Heart Procession is definitely not for the casual listener. But the devoted fans, ranging in age from 20 to 40-plus, could be seen nodding their heads in unison to the black emotions churned up by Jenkins, Nathaniel and co. Odes and ballads and tales of heartache and self-destruction and long-distance love, made for an entrancing and satisfyingly depressing show.
If misery loves company, and vice versa, no one had any reason to complain.