Darsombra – Wilmington – Mojo 13, DE – 2008-01-04

Where: Wilmington – Mojo 13, DE.

When: 2008-01-04

Going to see Jucifer is at least a once a year event for me. The last few times I’ve seen this duo play live it was in Reading, PA. This time around they came to Wilmington, Delaware’s Mojo 13 – a bar I had never been to before. I had heard the venue is fairly small, so I was intrigued to see how much of Jucifer’s “wall of amps” would fit in a smaller club. Mojo 13 is a bar on a main drag that looks more like a strip store then a venue. Ample parking was available, which was the venue’s first plus over similarly sized places in Philadelphia. The inside of the club has two rooms – the bar area and the stage area. Thanks to a nice cutout in the wall and a decent size doorway it was possible to watch most of the show from a table in the bar area.

Although five bands were scheduled to play, we only saw three. I don’t believe the Electric Horsemen played due illness and if Tragic Johnson played it happened before we arrived. The first band we saw was Hatchetface, an all female quartet with bass, drums, and two guitars. Hatchetface played some seriously down-tempo metal that reminded me of lots of the stoner rock that’s been popular over the last number of years. The group’s long instrumentals are quite good, though I could have done without the singing. Unintelligible vocals have never been a favorite of mine. Some of my show companions were less thrilled with Hatchetface, but I think these ladies rock and will only keep improving.

Darsombra was one guy, not a band. He had a projector screen set up flashing various images in psychedelic colors which accompanied his guitar playing. I guess Darsombra’s style is experimental – none of us were sure what he was really doing and the general consensus was this “music” didn’t really fit in with a hard rock/metal show. I might have enjoyed Darsombra at some weird art gallery opening in the city, but not here.

Jucifer’s set began as usual – the house lights went down and the sounds of NWA came over the speakers. Right at the point that I started to get bored waiting for Amber and Ed to take the stage, the gigantic sound of Amber’s guitar came hurtling through the wall of amps. The lights came on (in all their flashing strobe glory) and the duo began their pummeling set. One of the things that has always amazed me about a Jucifer show is just how savagely Ed beats on his drum kit. He sits, he stands, he beats the drums with his feet and arms that move so fast they become a blur. Just watching this possessed man play is sheer entertainment. Amber, of course, is no slouch either.

Shortly after Jucifer began a half dozen or so people walked out the front door. When I stepped out a bit later a number of them were hunched outside complaining about the noise. I’m not sure what else people expect from Jucifer – many folks brought their own earplugs and the wall of amps stretched from one side of the stage to the other and nearly touched the ceiling. This is not a band for the faint of heart.

Seeing a Jucifer show is never a disappointment. Not once have Amber or Ed had an off night on stage that an audience I was standing in was aware of. This duo are always “on” and the reverb echoing through your stomach will stay will you nearly as long as the ringing in your ears afterward. On this evening at Mojo 13 the set seemed sort (bars in Delaware close at 1 a.m. instead of Pennsylvania’s 2 a.m.) and the bartenders were annoying (I can’t remember a bartender ever telling the designated driver – after saying “I’m driving tonight” – that they are a wet blanket who should do some shots of whiskey), but Jucifer rocked on as ever. Amber and Ed live on the road, so catch them when you can.