Review: The Soft Moon, Group Rhoda @ The New Parish, 12/14/12
December 17, 2012
Written by Tim Draut
The Soft Moon began their West Coast tour with Group Rhoda in Los Angeles on Wednesday. This past weekend, the bands celebrated the end of the world a week early with apocalyptic sets at The New Parish in Oakland. Both acts were originally scheduled to perform at The Mezzanine in San Francisco on Saturday, but the show was canceled. San Francisco fans who made the trip across the Bay Bridge were treated to a dark dance chamber of controlled chaos. The Soft Moon also recently announced an East Coast tour this January with Majical Cloudz. [Ed. note: They also just announced a Rickshaw Stop show on 12/27.]
Group Rhoda, the solo project of San Francisco resident Mara Barenbaum, opened the stage at 10pm. Barenbaum, armed with a synthesizer and a microphone, delivered a set of dark and dreamy goth-pop with deep tropical bass vibes to get the crowd moving. Group Rhoda’s Out of Time, Out of Touch LP is out now on Night School. Hear a track from that record called “At the Dark” below, and stream additional songs at Group Rhoda’s website.
The Soft Moon is the nocturnal post-punk project of Oakland’s Luis Vasquez, now backed by bassist Justin Anastasi and percussionist Keven Tecon. The trio casted a dark silhouette against the back wall of the club, which was illuminated by strobing video projections of black-and-white circles and lines. Vasquez said, “It’s good to be home!” as he and his band powered through cuts from 2010′s self-titled debut, last year’s Total Decay EP, and the band’s latest release, Zeros, out now on Captured Tracks (hear Zeros single “Insides” below). The band tried out some new material as well. Vasquez modestly told the crowd, “This is a new song, you’re gonna hate it.” Judging from the reaction, the effect proved to be the opposite.
When Vasquez wasn’t busy shredding his guitar or yelping and whispering into the microphone, he tweaked the distortion knobs on the synthesizers and frantically kept rhythm on two hand drums that were positioned on stage. Always maintaining the intense, primal energy that propels The Soft Moon’s live sets, the band kept the crowd moving up until a thunderous finale.
The band returned on stage for an encore, performing early favorite “We Are We,” and Zeros highlight “Want,” on which Vasquez displayed his hand-drumming skills for a final time. After the band finished, a young lady jumped on stage and tried to keep the party going by shredding on the drum kit, but was quickly pushed off the stage by security.