Rasputina is playing Neumos this Wednesday, August 18, with all-along-the-tour openers Larkin Grimm. Whenever Rasputina plays here it tends to be at crowd capacity, as the leader is a genius with cracked, sort-of steampunk art song, and roils a big-ass cello.
Rasputina has been wicked wild woman fun for over seven albums. The latest is Sister Kinderhook, and on blood red gems like “Holocaust of Giants” and “This, My Porcelain Life,” it mistressly blends sweet singing, harsh buzz, spoken word segues, and a one-woman blitzkrieg string section as the phalanx. It’s big and loud and soft and dangerous cello-fueled chamber rock, created by a corseted visionary named Melora Creager with a couple of other cello players, and occasionally a drummer.
Whenever she comes to Seattle with her contemporary gang, it stirs the souls of murdered sailors and ghosts of harlots as well as a whole lot of prog-rock kids, Goths, Velvet Underground dark-minimalist rock fans, and assorted musical freaks who pack out their performances. Every show is special, an explosion of bow-scraping boldness, and Creager usually treats audiences not only to her own songs about the extinction of Nephilim and eternal “Dark February,” but covers of Pat Benatar (“Fire & Ice”) and of course the VU (“All Tomorrow’s Parties”).
There’s banjo and harpsichord, and Creager is from the same area of New York that gave us Melissa Auf Der Maur. Also, the male accompaniment this time for the tour is a guy named Daniel DeJesus who grew up listening to Rasputina and knows all their songs. (It’s a cello thing, baby.) Punk rock girl Catie D’Amica does the percussion this tour, too, a “Native American drum machine.” Hot.
It’s a mystery why John Cale has never produced this group, but only till my wife slugs me (hard to do in a corset, ha) and reminds me that Creager is insanely talented all on her own, mining her own marble slab of the indie rock underground. We buy every generous, glittering full-length, every experimental EP with some of those covers, and mourn deeply if we ever miss a local performance. This time, we’re not going to (I’m weary of my wife’s fists)!