Photos & Text by Bobby Cochran
All good things must come to an end, and tonight was the end of Chelsea Wolfe’s wildly successful Hiss Spun US Tour, which was rife with sell-out shows and record audiences. Tonight’s near-capacity show at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco left no doubt in anyone’s mind about why she and tour mates Youth Code are filling rooms and blowing minds night after night.
Entering the stage to the droning, ethereal sounds of “Welt” and straight into the sludge-factory volume of “Spun”, the days of Chelsea as the goth-folk chanteuse are in the past. Tonight’s Chelseais powerful and commanding, though the soft, sweeping beauty of her voice is front and center, balancing the weightiness with delicate, clear emotion. Pulling primarily from Hiss Spun and 2015’s Abyss, Chelsea made nods to past work like “Tracks (Tall Bodies)” from 2011’s Apokalypsis and the brilliant encore performance of “Halfsleeper” from 2010’s The Grime & The Glow.
Youth Code are a powder keg of industrial-strength sonic blasts. Vocalist Sarah Taylor’s incessant stage-prowl and distorted barks and screams alongside keyboardist/ machine guy Ryan George’s barely contained post-industrial fury, YC commanded and controlled, and didn’t take no for an answer.
Show openers Screature hail from Chelsea Wolfe’s hometown of Sacramento, and joined the tour for a couple of California dates. Revitalizing a classic death-rock sound that harkens at times to Rozz Williams-era Christian Death, the droning, incessant drive of Joy Division and the haunted caterwaul of vintage Siouxie. Screature made it clear that true Goth isn’t dead, it’s just hiding deep in the reeds. Anyone needing confirmation just need listen to their newly released single “Hit The Void” and experience the cathartic fury firsthand. This is a band to watch for in 2018.