On Friday, May 11, 2018, The Little Monsters Tour kicked off opening night in Fairfield, Ohio as DF Productions and Events hosted Raven Black, Aboleth with support from Secret Circle Society. The touring bands represented the strong female voices of the Los Angeles scene with each presenting a unique and powerful show.
Secret Circle Society represented western/southern Ohio with a mix of moody alternative rock. Aboleth proved the true performance power of a trio while headliner’s Raven Black turned the private club into a dark nursery rhyme come to life.
The ladies and gents of the Buckeye State, Secret Circle Society, started in the vein of ‘90s alternative rock with the growling vocals of “Recharge” as the six-member sound machine laid the groundwork for the night’s diversity. “Zombiefied” smashed cranberries, pulling out the punk strings with a dedicated rock solo.
Bass led and slow grooved with a murky blues melancholy, “Something About You” which addressed the talents of the beauty queen, drama queen and personal seductress in a snide but sincere open love letter. “Special” continued the snark with shout-outs to YouTube fame, social status and social media drama.
“Sweet Pain” brought out the campfire’s flame at the party where chemicals get the best of you. Waking in a hazy shade of memory.
“Bloodletting” got the goth boots kicking bringing the vampires out and the walking dead. New tunes “Natural Disaster” and “Freak” from the upcoming July release got a tryout, suggesting a newer direction and sound.
The tour began with the first representative from the City of Angels, Aboleth. The group named after a Dungeons and Dragons character dropped jaws with what could be done with guitar, drums and a voice. They were bass-less and didn’t need one. Raven Black also came out to play some opening night pranks.
Vocalist Brigitte Roka performed like a charging warrior queen whipping hair around like a sword in combat, sounding like a screaming banshee. Delivering on mic like the reincarnation of Janis Joplin. Her voice and movements whiplashed listeners back to ‘60s free love and experimentation. Watching her, you could almost hear Pearl singing from the other side.
Playing a set of rock, bayou blues and southern ‘70s groove their music summoned legendary spirits like the ceremonial rattles of a medicine man. Some songs could’ve been soundtracks to grindhouse movies, while others could’ve been played at Woodstock.
It was music to possess the soul, tingle the loins and elaborate the senses – natural, chemical or spirited.
The groove and fuzz of “Wovenloaf” began as the crowd was introduced to Roka’s powerful lungs. Fingers from the ‘70s guided guitarist Collyn McCoy fingers as the jam took everyone back to the garage days as she let out a few well-placed roars.
“Fork in the Road” traveled through dreamy guitar notes, starring at the sun, dodging heat-made mirages chasing the devil’s tail.
“No Good” hit repeated peaks as Roka channeled Grace Slick as the sarcastic outlaw rebel that wouldn’t take shit from anybody or settle for less than she deserved. “Blackbox” went melodic crossing unique territory and chemistry somewhere between Skynyrd and Danzig. The puzzle box brought out the chains but the black box kept the memories and darkness inside.
There were no recycled sounds on “Ode to Plastic’s” dirty dance vibe as Roka sang of hungry-eyed vampiric love and lusting, her voice moving like a ceremonial scribing pen.
They went stylistically rogue surprising witnesses with “Painkiller” matching peaks with the Metal God and a ballsy one guitar attack. Sticking with the heavy, with fire in the tailpipe, they headed out to the highway as “Vinny gets Arrested.”
“Wytches” got the last laugh and cackle with an origin story of a mountain girl born to spellbind the world–a mission statement on drums and guitar and biography on mic.
The playground was set, in a scene that could’ve been touched by Freddy’s glove or a forgotten schoolyard in Derry. Raven played her role like a potent poisoned crossover of Pippi Longstocking and Punky Brewster. This doll was a screaming, yelling, mobile version of her porcelain and raggedy counterparts, scaring other toys with her stories.
Tricycles, party masks and black veils, along with a supposedly innocent teddy bear, came from her collection of misfit toys–scattered on stage under the dim lights, forgotten ’till needed, like a discarded pile of afterthoughts from a haunted house or boiler room.
From the gloom and transparent shadows, Raven appeared like an itsy-bitsy creepy crawling, cute, venomous “Spider” spinning her umbrella on the swing set. Bassist Stitches played the four strings, masked like the by-product of Dr. Frankenstein’s genius, while Muppet took take of all the freaky beats.
It was her first night getting dolled up for the tour, dancing like a marionette. Raven toyed, taunted and teased The Psyche with her handheld playthings.
Throughout the show, her head and neck cranked, cracked and turned like spinning gears off of the bright lights as colors bounced off her face and eyes. With use of a swinging hammer, she proved she could hold her own with Harley for the wicked attention of a clown-faced criminal. The boogie woman to Willy Wonka’s night terrors, with the crack and crinkle of the golden rapper stinging his ears.
Lucid as a shadow, she walked, pulled by invisible strings, making generous use of the ramp. It was a late night, adult version of show and tell, congregating with crowd participation, showcasing props and friendly weapons. None were quite lethal, but it was a bloodless game even Jigsaw would appreciate.
Lucky numbers rolled early as Raven waved the wicked jesters cane on “13.” “Damaged” could’ve described anyone in the room, fan or musician. Muppet hit drums like cracking heads while the little lady lashed out, caressing with a friendly whip playing hell’s hopscotch. She didn’t need to be on Elm Street to make a jump rope look creepy.
Fitting to the show’s surroundings, “Stick N Stones” broke out the ball and chain, hitting hard, adding to the present dark dungeon. “Still Healing” helped pick up and repair shattered psyche’s, emotions and sanity melting away like wax in sunlight.
With Hula Hoop gripped to spin and splatter if needed, Raven asked how many knew this one as the prickling notes of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Scars” began. “Voices,” theirs and others, spoke through the mic as Raven adorned the party mask enjoying the masquerade.
The cracked magnifying glass brought the night’s focus group together with twisted faces looming in and out. Things started creeping toward the further on “Blackening” as Raven adorned the dark veil, either in grieving or as a nice night for a black wedding. “Break the Box” asked who’s afraid of the big black bat. “Seven Sins,” spilled out spiraling notes like lost souls trapped in the broken mirror waved around like underworld hunter-collectors.
“Monster’s” opening riff sawed off like Dr. Frankenstein piecing together his creation. They gave Mr. Manson props on social misfit anthem “The Nobodies” ending the show with a tricycle trip around the runway as the carnival show stopped, the tent closed and something wicked went back into the darkness.
Gallery Images by Mike Ritchie