When: Sat., Aug. 11 2012
DR. CIRKUSTIEN Rocking a creepy carnival look pitched midway between Night of the Living Dead and a threadbare Moulin Rouge, Dr. Cirkustien stitches together fairground organ, reggae riddims and skronk in a monster mash-up in which the parts are greater than the whole. The best bits on Cirkustien’s Breaking the Seal EP highlight wheezy sideshow keyoards that drip atmosphere. “WTF” mixes Nick Cave/Birthday Party ranting with Italo-horror synths that do Dario Argento and Goblin proud, and “Dawn of the Ded” crossbreeds zombie ranking and skanking with Mr. Bungle free noise in a no man’s land between the Misfits and Madness. But the sleazy, cheesy fun is undercut by lyrics and vocals that shoot for Tom Waits “through a shot glass darkly” vision but land closer to Mark Lanegan’s bratty kid bro. Trying for edge, the guys opt for Zappa-style snark that includes way too many F-bombs, forgetting they’re most effective embracing their goofy gothic window dressing. Wanting to be red-meat maestro George Romero, they wind up as Ed Wood’s Plan 9 with a potty mouth.