and Wax Idols
embarked on their co-headlining summer Levitate
tour last month. The two groups began their stint of West Coast dates alongside infamous heavy metal founders Pentagram, but dropped out after situations with the band and crew became less than ideal.
The act of leaving reinforced the ever so slightly intimidating, forcefully strong image that both bands, and specifically lead singers Kristina Esfandiari and Hether Fortune, project.
Levitate is an ideal name for the tour. King Woman initiated a psychological movement and Wax Idols initiated the physical motion. There is creation and discovery, and the music guides you to a safer place in the end. The relatively small crowd present at Siberia, which doubles as a restaurant serving impeccable pierogi and other Slavic dishes, accentuated every detail of each set, allowing for a personal experience with each song unimpaired by elbows or telephones.
Esfandiari’s intensely poignant delivery draws forgotten feelings from deep within as the rhythm crawls and the guitar beautifully flies from droning to screaming and back again. As she closed her eyes and began to sing in a soft, yet deep voice, a feeling of calm descended upon the room. Made up of vocalist Esfandiari, guitarist Colin Gallagher, bassist Peter Arensdorf and drummer Joseph Raygoza, King Woman‘s massive sound is neither subtle nor arrogant. There is a vulnerability to lyrics like “Love I cannot keep, only in my sleep, only when I dream,” that puts you in a state of discomfort, but that is instantly soothed by dreamy, atmospheric instrumentals. A power issue forcing a premature show ending was hardly noticeable as the brooding, trance-like environment created by songs like “King of Swords” and “Wrong” encased Siberia.
A forgotten relic from CBGB, Wax Idols weave stories of love and lust into David Lynch-esque landscapes. Where you became introspective and in silent awe of King Woman, you waited for Idols to summon Dave Vanian and Robert Smith from the dark corners of the stage. Naturally commanding attention with her height and presence, Fortune easily balances the fast-paced intensity of “The Cartoonist” with less frantic moments on “I’m Not Going.” Sitting on the edge of the stage or stepping down to be eye level with the audience, she conveyed a sense of deserved power and uncertainty found also in her lyrics.
King Woman and Wax Idols deliver impeccable live shows that rival their recorded albums. The understated beauty of King Woman segued seamlessly into the more extroverted mystery of Wax Idols. From doubt and confusion to elation and freedom, the night addressed every emotion I felt seeing the two for the first time and left me feeling fiercely alive.