This past Thursday I ventured to the Pico-Union neighborhood of Los Angeles to catch Black Marble, co-headlining with Uniform at the Union—a nightclub tucked away between a residential neighborhood and shops, that also allows the audience to get up close and personal with the performers.
I arrived just in time for the first act to begin—a solo performer by the name of Anzano. His glittering knight getup was intriguing and he opened the set with some trance-enducing industrial electronic music. The second opening act, Hive Mind was more noise-electro, this time sans vocals. I was hitting “next” in my head, but it somehow wasn’t working, so instead I imagined the best way to describe what it was I was hearing. Electro pots n pans was the best I could come up with, and “doing” sound, rather than playing music. This electro-freakin’-Schoenberg did beg the question I’m sure we have all asked ourselves at some point, which is “at what point is art just mocking us?” You know, that time when found art became a thing and minimalism could equate to calling a blank canvas art and that was acceptable. The same can definitely be said for music, as everything Hive Mind produced appeared to be thought out and intentional, I can assure you that most people in the audience were just pretending to be into it. As I get older, I have a hard time pretending—pretending that I enjoy exercise or going camping or enjoying the hard rock revival and “noise” rock.
Then Black Marble finally took the stage nearly two hours later, and it was like a breath of cold fresh air. To me, they are everything I want to hear in emerging music—palatable goth music and new wave wrapped for this decade. This Brooklyn duo was as charismatic as any goth could be…reserved yet hoping for intimacy and the crowd was ready to reciprocate. They opened with “A Different Arrangement” and played basically all of their “hits” from both A Different Arrangement and It’s Immaterial. It was clear that most people in attendance were there for Black Marble, as the crowd meandered outside and then dwindled for metal duo, Uniform.
Things got angry inside for Uniform, as the atmosphere turned to moshing and screaming. I watched intently for a minute, but the sound was just a little much and I left feeling confounded by the lineup selection. Maybe because they have “Black” in the name, the booking agents thought Black Marble would also play some metal. Or maybe they were just going for a night of darkness and doom. It was a little baffling, but I was still riding on a high from the dreamy Black Marble set that I left feeling content.