Holygram and The Rain Within at The Wiltern Theater, Los Angeles, CA, December 13, 2018
Cologne, Germany’s Holygram released their debut full-length Modern Cults earlier in 2018 on Cleopatra Records. It’s a favorite in my circle of music fans and for good reason. Their dark, mysterious yet grooving sound reaches into your soul and makes it want to dance.
Pilo Lenger’s icy synths, Marius Lansing’s textured and twangy guitars, Patrick Blumel’s distant and dreamy vocals and Bennett Reimann’s crunchy bass lines got the audience dancing. Touring drummer Nima Divari kicked our butts from behind the drum kit, propelling the grooves to the back of the balcony. As Lansing and Reimann dug into their guitars with abandon, Holygram treated our ears to Dead Channel Skies, the synths and the guitar blending together, shooting out chromatic colors, a beautiful noise.
Daria, from their S/T 2016 EP was a mid-set highlight, a grooving bass line anchored flights of guitar textures, punctuated by airy synths and Blumel’s melancholic vocals. The simple beat got our bodies moving as the song built to a powerful conclusion.
Still There followed, the vocals more immediate, the guitars energetic, both Reimann and Lansing swaying, eyes closed, Divari’s arms flailing, Lenger’s synths almost oppressive.
Holygram’s too-short set ended with Distant Light, the last track on Modern Cults. Reimann’s bass churning from the depths, Lansing’s guitars digging into our psyches, the insistent beat moving our feet. Blumel picked up a black box that had been on a stand the whole set and began pressing a button. It sounded like a submarine sonar ping but in the context of the dystopian death disco assaulting our happy ears, that pinging could have signaled an evil presence entering our dimension. As the noises from the band melted together in chaotic bliss, we caught our collective breath as Holygram waved and quietly left the stage.
The Rain Within
Opening the show was The Rain Within, also known as Andy Deane. Deane sang and danced to programmed backing tracks, adding the odd synth melody and treating his vocals from a small keyboard. His dark synthpop was fun and positive, echoing acts of the past yet adding a modern flair. And one of his songs sounded like and likely was, a Taylor Swift song. Deane’s charisma and interaction with the audience charmed the very early arrivers especially with his laser light gloves that shot out ten green lines of light into the air as he waved his hands. Deane is a fantastic and emotional vocalist and musician. Seek out his latest album Atomic Eyes from early 2018 available now on Bandcamp.
(Review and The Rain Within Photo by Bret Miller – Holygram Photos by Anabel DFlux)