Concert Review: LIGHT FIRES, CHROME & THE ICE QUEEN (2012-04-19 @ Cinecycle)
*CHROME AND THE ICE QUEEN – photo courtesy of the band
Walking down Queen Street on a Thursday night to a location unknown – new to myself, at least – I saw a handwritten sign that said “Cinecycle This Way” with an arrow directing me to the left. I turned and walked down this dark, seedy-looking alley with potholes where a creepy guy leaned against the wall smoking a cigarette. The only light I could see was up ahead: I felt like I was in a scary movie, not on my way to see a show. The light at the end of the tunnel (so to speak) shone on yet another sign that slowly came into focus, reading “Cinecycle”: I had found my venue.
I walked into hipster heaven: the only thing to drink were cans of PBR and there were so many thick-rimmed glasses I thought they were mandatory (I’m not a hater like some of the non-hipster world, I just felt left out – my inner Hipster just wanted to escape).
I got there just in time to catch some of LIGHT FIRES’ set. A collaboration of GENTLEMAN REG’ Reg Vermue (in alternate persona as Regina the Gentlelady) and James Bunton of OHBIJOU, I’d done my homework and watched their stuff on YouTube beforehand and knew this was something I didn’t want to miss.
Donning an “all that glitters is not gold” t-shirt and stiletto heels for a solo set, Regina, was strutting her stuff in the audience singing her electro-pop heart out. Fully-equipped with a few choreographed ninja high-kicks and punches, she looked like the ‘totally fab’ Power Ranger as she sang “If You’re Bored” off last year’s Ten Feet Tall 7″, alongside a song with lyrics “first we break up, then we make up” – if anything, LIGHT FIRES’ songs have a strong message and a back-story – definitely stuff we can all relate to.
As we waited for the band of the night to serenade us with the positively eerie-sounding songs off their debut release Diane – a Twin Peaks inspired project – I gave the room the once over… the good old “elevator look”. CHROME AND THE ICE QUEEN (Lisa Conway, Tyler Belluz, Ira Zingraff and Karen Ng) really know how to set the tone – a theme if you will – to allow you to succumb to their sound. I felt like I was in some seedy cocktail lounge talking to some ‘fat cats’ as the jazz band played slow songs in the background.
Starting the set with “Sycamore Trees”, the band soon enlisted the help of HOODED FANG/PHÈDRE’s Daniel Lee for his kick-ass Barry White-esque vocals on “Stealing Hearts”. The ensemble was fully-stacked with a saxophone, trumpet, synthesizer, electric and double-bass, and vocalist frontwoman Lisa Conway’s great sense of humour shone through it all.
They powered through with “Young and True”, “Between The Pines”, and “Black Lodge” as a friend blew bubbles into a dish on a projector that looked like it came from my Gr.8 classroom (hipster, retro, shocking). Nonetheless, it made for some very appropriate – almost creepy – images on the big screen behind them.
CHROME AND THE ICE QUEEN closed the show, with guest singer Matt in tow, on their so-called, self-proclaimed monster hit “Sway” and left us all wanting more. Seriously… I wanted an encore but sadly, never got one. It was almost as bad as when I went to the COUNTING CROWS concert and they didn’t sing ‘Mr. Jones”.
How dare they, right?