The Legendary Pink Dots
AsYlem Magazine, Winter Solstice Issue, December 21, 1995

by Nisus

"Like any other day, I heard the bell and grabbed my coat. I snatched a coffee, nearly choked and semi-cartwheeled headfirst in the rain. I knew I had to make that train. My life depended on that train. It was cold, so I semi-cartwheeled back inside again. The phone rang, and though I usually am not very fond of telephones, this time I decided to answer it anyway. There was a voice on the other end of the phone, and the voice said, 'Edward, we need you to be the new Pope - Pope Edwardus I'. 'Well, this poses some dilemma,' I said, 'because first of all, the other Pope isn't dead yet.' But the voice said that they have ways of taking care of unwanted Popes. 'Alright,' I said, 'but there's still another problem - I'm not Catholic'. 'That's okay,' said the voice, 'neither were some of the other Popes. Some of them were Satanists'. 'Well, I'm not exactly a Satanist either,' I said, 'but alright. There will have to be some changes, though. First of all, we'll have Legendary Pink Dots music piped in throughout the city day and night. And what about all the money in the Vatican? We'll have to give that to the charities. And there will have to be some changes in the Mafia, because the Mafia is connected to the Catholic church, you know. We'll have a new head of the Mafia - a vegetarian pacifist head of the Mafia. And we'll change the Catholic church to the New Progressive Church, and I'll be Pope Edwardus I of the New Progressive Church.'"

This was the story told during the song "A Velvet Resurrection" when the Legendary Pink Dots played at Hollywood's Roxy theater recently. The story changes for every show. Sometimes it involves talking corn flakes which ask vocalist/lyricist/keyboardist Edward Ka-Spel what he's planning to do with them when he pours them into a bowl. Other times, the story revolves around a beautiful alien woman with many eyes who comes to our planet bearing "all vegetarian pizza," which she'd really like to share with Edward, but can't because she's surrounded by threatening humans who don't understand her good intentions. Other times the story involves talking plastic kangaroos named Joey. One never knows what to expect from the Netherlands-based quintet, but one can always expect it to be unique.

With a 15 year history and a following which compares to Deadheadism in ardor, the Legendary Pink Dots balance expertly on the head of that pin bordering the truly underground and the musically accessible. They sold out the Roxy; I was in fact offered $80 (quadruple the original price) to relinquish my ticket to unlucky fans who'd waited too long to buy theirs. The band and its releases are the subjects of a very interactive Internet mailing list known as "Cloud Zero." People who see them live are invariably hooked and the experience is so overwhelmingly intense that fans are known to follow them from city to city to keep the 'trip' going, instead of letting themselves 'come down' off Cloud Zero. And this is without drugs, man! Still, one is not likely to hear an L.P.D. song on the radio, nor see a listing for them in any musical encyclopedia. Neither will one find their releases on a huge capitalist record label, for their main source of distribution in America is the small, but very high quality Soleilmoon Recordings.

The L.P.D.'s incorporate nearly every genre of music in their unmistakable brand of quirky "kaleidoscope" sound. Violin brings a spattering of the classical, keyboardist Phil Knight (The Silverman) adds an industrial/experimental sense and then glides into near gothic arenas from time to time, and horn player Niels Van Hoornblower introduces a jazzy feel with saxophone while giving the music an exotic spice with flute. A splash of dub from bassist/percussionist Ryan Moore can be heard here and there on certain pieces, though the piano might linger on a loungy tune, and guitarist/drummer Martijn de Kleer wanders in and out of 60's- reminiscent dittys. They've even dabbled with a waltz that could put Strauss to shame. All of this is combined with an uncanny timing and feel for music which makes listening to an album by the Legendary Pink Dots a truly magical experience.

During their recent trip to Los Angeles supporting their new album "From Here You'll Watch The World Go By," AsYlem seized the opportunity to talk with Ka-Spel and Moore about touring, vegetarianism, the drowning world, and Moore's recent solo release as "Twilight Circus" - a highly respectable reggae dub album entitled "In Dub. Vol. 1."

AsYlem: You don't mind the tape recorder?

Edward Ka-Spel: Naw.... (chuckles) Just don't ask us how we got our name.

A: Actually, I heard that it was from a keyboard you had that you put pink dot stickers on to indicate a chord progression...

EKS: Yeah, that's the real story.

A: I'm curious, though, what became of the keyboard?

EKS: Ah! I don't...that's something...I'm not sure. I think friends... I mean, the house was demolished. It was really old - one of those beautiful old houses, but as is typical with beautiful old houses, they get torn down and a supermarket or parking lot is put in their place. England is no different than anywhere else as you'd suspect.

A: What part of England was that in?

EKS: East London.

A: I stayed in a squat in Hackney, a month.

EKS: Oh, that's a harsh area.

A: It was a nice experience, though. It was interesting just to be able to do that, you know, because I'd never been to Europe or certainly never lived in a squat.

EKS: Hackney's as harsh as anywhere I've seen in America, actually.

A: Really?

EKS: In its way, yeah.

A: I didn't find it that way at all, but that was several years ago, so...

EKS: Yeah. I know it, so I don't feel uncomfortable there, but I mean, you get a lot of bad stuff that goes down in Hackney.

A: Wow, I didn't even realize at the time. Of course, when you're in a foreign country it's like you're oblivious, you know?

EKS: Yeah, that's true.

A: How's the tour going? I remember some years ago you told me about an experience where you nearly got electrocuted on a tour and ended up having to wear a big pink rubber glove or something. Have you had any weird experiences on this tour?

EKS: I got pneumonia on the tour. This was on the last part of the European tour and I'd been getting more and more ill show after show and I thought it was just the flu but it turned into a really heavy fever and I thought, 'ahhh...I've got to do something about this'. We got to Holland right at the end of the tour and the guys said, "Look, you've got to see a doctor, you can't go on like this." And I went to the doctor thinking, "Okay, he's gonna give me something and I'll play." But he said, "You've got pneumonia and you can't play." And I just said, "I have to play. We live from this. What am I gonna tell the guys? What am I going to tell the crowd? They're all there." So I laid down before the show, sort of stood up for the show, then laid down again afterwards. We had to cancel the next day's show, there was no other way. But then I managed to stand up for Paris the day after and I completed the European tour and then I just kinda collapsed for a while...went to an island in Europe for a few days to recover.

A: How are you feeling now?

EKS: Fine now actually, completely clear of it. (lights a cigarette)

A: Pneumonia, wow. That's a bad state to be in for touring.

EKS: It's probably my own fault. I should look after myself a little better than I do.

A: Yeah, you shouldn't be smoking.

EKS: Yeah. I should take better care of myself, I really should. I guess that it's just I tend to drive myself a bit too hard and I don't eat as much as I should.

A: It catches up with you after a while.

EKS: Yeah, it catches up with you.

A: And you're a vegetarian too, so you have to kinda watch what you're eating, making sure you're getting the right vitamins and things.

EKS: I'm always very paranoid of having anything to do with meat. Animal fat and things like that - I can't stand the thought of that.

A: For what reason are you a vegetarian?

EKS: It's just basically I like animals. You know, it wasn't health reasons or anything like that. I've never been too conscious of that sort of thing.

A: The story about you guys having problems entering the United States a few years ago....I've heard three different versions.

EKS: An awful lot has been made of it and we've been in the states twice since, so I think it's a freak thing. They tried to make a point with unions. They wanted us to be members of a union, the American Musician's Union in fact. I think it's more like a dispute between the record company we were with and the immigration service and we were unfortunately the victims. But since then it's actually been very easy to get the visas. They just selected us as a test case but it just...the immigration service also got a lot of bad publicity out of it.

A: I heard that they said something about you guys not having artistic merit?

EKS: Well, that's basically what they said, but then that was like their stock thing - Does a band have artistic merit or does it not have artistic merit? - and they base it on how many records they sell.

A: Are you serious? Oh that sucks!

EKS: I mean technically you have to be like Michael Jackson to get in, but it doesn't really work that way, because the people who are in business with the immigration & naturalization, they don't know who's who. Skinny Puppy even had trouble getting in once and I think the argument was, "Well look, they're on Capitol Records." And the immigrations said, "Well, who's Capitol Records?" Then they had to present a roster of musicians on Capitol Records and at the top of the roster was The Beatles and if they hadn't heard of The Beatles, then really they are living on their own island.

A: That's amazing, that they actually do that.

Ryan Moore: In order to come this time we had to send, you know, like 5000 pages of press clippings and interviews and everything.

A: They really make it that difficult?

EKS: They make it that difficult, yeah.

RM: And you have to use a lawyer. I mean, there would be no way otherwise.

EKS: It cost us a thousand dollars just to get in.

A: That is ridiculous.

RM: I mean, it's like that for all bands.

A: I had no idea it was that difficult. I mean, just because you're a band?

RM: Yeah, but I mean you're taking jobs away from American bands. They were even planning to bring in legislation some years ago - I think it was Senator Kennedy or someone like that who fought against it...? I'm not sure, but part of this legislation which was being brought in by the American Musician's Union, which I'm a part of the Canadian chapter of... they would have these rules like if somebody was not in the band for more than a year, then they couldn't come. And also you have to prove artistic merit, whatever that is.

A: Yeah, I wonder who's grand idea of artistic merit that is.

RM: Then there was also this ridiculous thing where, say for example some African star was going to come to America, then he would have to hire American musicians. You sort of have to prove why the whole band should be able to come and why somebody shouldn't just hire American musicians from the union. So like King {my knowledge of African musicians is lacking - I seen this name, but don't know how to spell it sounds like "soon-y-uh-day" - anyone know how you really spell this?} would have to come and hire a band in America. But I don't think that one ever got through.

A: Man, it's a wonder people even play here.

EKS: Yeah, it is surprising actually.

A: Now you guys had, what was it, a sword swallower or a fire eater open for you?

RM + EKS: Sword swallower!

EKS: Best opening act we ever had.

A: That is great! Where did you find him?

EKS + RM: He found us, actually.

EKS: That was classic. We wish it was always like that. We never know what we're gonna get from night to night. I wish we did.

A: That was great. I read that on Cloud Zero and I thought, "Man, I wish I'd been at that show."

RM: That created certainly a special vibe. I mean, he really swallowed the swords, he really did!

EKS: Yeah, and the way the audience reacted to him was just really significant - way better than they ever react to these opening bands that are just put there.

A: Yeah, and you feel sorry for the bands too because...

EKS: Some. We encountered one in New Orleans that I can't feel sorry for at all. They posed and they were arrogant, and I didn't like their performance, the way they were.

A: Yeah? Well, there's no reason for arrogance, it's true. When did you get started with the Dots, Ryan?

RM: Um...four years ago, I guess. I came over to Holland in December of 91.

A: What ever possessed you to do a reggae dub album?

RM: Well, that's the kind of music that I was listening to when I started playing music. When I was a teenager, I was riding around listening to all this classic dub stuff on my ghetto blaster, riding around on my skateboard. So that's kinda the music I was playing and the music I was listening to for the first couple of years that I was playing music. So that was a huge influence. And I already had this idea developing by about 1985 of wanting to make my own dub productions, but it's taken about ten years to get to the stage of actually doing it because I needed to learn how to play drums well.

A: And your album came out when exactly?

RM: It came out in the Spring, but it took a really long time for me to make connections with distributors.

A: You do some percussion in the Dots, don't you? Well, I guess you guys all pretty much do percussion in the Dots now, don't you?

RM: Yeah.

EKS: Mmmmm, (very definite tone) not me.

A: Hehehe, not a percussionist huh?

EKS: Nnnno. Not really.

RM: I'm kinda the main percussion guy at the moment.

EKS: Yeah, it's really interesting that Ryan and Martijn (de Kleer) both play drums, because for a long time we couldn't find a drummer at all for the Dots.

RM: I just wanted to say too... With the dub stuff... it's just sort of like I've been developing these ideas for like ten years and its just taken me this amount of time to sort of finally get it together to get all the ideas.

A: Well, you play most everthing on the album, don't you?

RM: Yeah well, I had to learn how to play all the instruments and I had to learn how to do the engineering and stuff as well, so all these years I've just been slowly learning skills and getting it together to be able to do it.

A: And didn't you do the production and...some other stuff?

RM: I did the production and the engineering mostly.

A: Wow, what a project. And you're going to do another one too, right?

RM: Yeah, I have another one which is almost finished. I just have to mix a couple more songs and I want to release it early next year. And it's like the dub thing again, but it's more creative and original and I'm using a lot more synthesized textures and interesting ethnic samples. So, this first one was like a very conservative sounding dub album, which was kind of the concept 'cos it was my tribute to this old stuff that I got inspired by and then... I just have so many ideas, you know, like it's really... It just kind of pours out.

A: Are you thinking about doing any other kind of music solo? Any other genres that you're thinking of experimenting in?

RM: Yeah, I also have the idea at some point of doing something more like the kind of stuff we're doing in the Dots realm. Songs with folk instruments and stuff.

A: What instruments were used on your dub album?

RM: Um... I used drums, bass, keyboards, sampler and percussionism. There are credits on there to "magical mystery guests," 'cause there's a violin line and some saxophone and some guitar, but those are samples that I used from other records. So, because I say that I play all the instruments, but I didn't really want to take the credit for things that I didn't do, I credit them as magical mystery guests. But after I read the liner notes I realized that probably a lot of people interpret it as being Dots members. I think they probably think that it's Patrick Paganini and Niels and stuff, I realized afterwards. But it's just my way of giving a credit to samples that I used.

EKS: I'm really pleased that in America particularly people are reacting very well to Ryan's album - it seems that people are much more open.

A: Yeah, I was meaning to ask how it was being received.

RM: Well, you see, the record, the whole concept, the style of music, the way it looks, it's actually made to appeal to the real hardcore fans of that particular kind of music, of dub music, so in Europe, and in England especially, that's where most of the records have been sold. For that particular market, for the dub market, it's been quite well received.

A: I understand it's quite tough to get into a genre like that, to get accepted.

RM: Yeah, sure. But it's been doing really quite well. But over here I haven't been able to get any form of distribution through any channels other than the Dots channels like Soleilmoon, so in America it's just gone primarily to people who are into the Pink Dots. And a lot of those people are coming up and it's really nice because they seem to like it and it's obviously a complete surprise and a form of music that they've just totally either never heard or are not used to hearing.

A: Yeah, you're kinda opening them up to something new, which is part of what I thought was neat about it. You're creating a channel for some of these people to a kind of music I don't think they normally would listen to.

RM: It's a very unlikely form of music for someone from the Dots to produce.

EKS: But there's actually been dubbing in the Dots as well.

EKS + A: Lust For Powder.

EKS: Yeah, things like that. It really was there.

A: Well, you were blatant, Ryan!

EKS: Very.

A: You guys are definitely one of the best shows I've seen live - on a par with Bowie.... I've got a special place in my heart for Bowie.

EKS: I've got a special place in my heart for Bowie, yeah...

RM: I had a spiritual moment about 3 this morning sitting in a parking lot somewhere. I'd just driven all night and I was sort of falling half asleep while Paul {their tour manager} was calling and listening to Space Oddity. Oh, it was really a moment.

EKS + A: Ahhh...Wow!

RM: Yeah.

A: With your popularity increasing, do you feel like you're kind of on your way?

EKS: Well, on a whole it feels like it's going up in certain parts of the world. America's tripled. It's going up a lot in Eastern Europe, that's the real surprise.

A: Yeah, well I think they're a little more open to more experimental forms.

EKS: That's it, actually, yeah. In Russia, a T.V. crew came and filmed us and it's on national T.V.

A: That's great.

EKS: It's great, but it makes you kind of wonder, "What's going to happen from that?" I mean, like some people may put their feet through the T.V. screen.

RM: Yeah, like this show I think was too weird for the station, so they knew that they were going to be cancelled after a couple of shows. But they're very industrious people, you know, they'll get something else together. They don't seem to be worried.

A: You always have this fear, when something begins to become really popular, that it's going to become totally trivialized, you know? It's like, you want it to become popular, of course, for its sake. But then there's this part of you that kinda goes, "I don't know if I want it to become everyone else's baby too."

RM: Well, the thing is, the Pink Dots will never become hugely popular because the music is too weird and because we're not on a major label, so it's just always going to remain.

A: But might you ever be on a major label?

RM: I doubt it. I really doubt it. Sometimes you sort of have a little bit of this tantalizing fantasy - "Oh gee, major label, lots of promotion and we can make music under better circumstances and be more comfortable," but then actually when you talk to friends and colleagues and hear of other bands and their major label experiences, you get a big dose of reality and you go "no way."

EKS: Yeah, I mean like Play It Again Sam in Europe was actually a really big label. But we were, like, ten years with them and they really didn't do anything for us.

A: I heard they screwed a couple of their bands really bad.

EKS: They weren't particularly fair to us in the last few years, but they did put things right. I don't want to spit knives into them or anything like that, but... We're experimenting this year. We're not signed to anyone.

A: Soleilmoon seems to be good.

EKS: Soleilmoon is really nice.

RM: Yeah, I think they're great and Charles is one of the friendliest, most honest people that I've ever encountered in the music business.

EKS: Yeah, he's working harder on the band than actually anybody's worked on the band before. And the label is growing from it as well and that makes us feel good. Nothing's too small for them, I like that.

A: Did you guys consider doing anything before the Dots? Did you really consider writing novels, Edward?

EKS: Oh, I've thought about it, yeah. I still might. But I've always wanted to do this. It's been a fantasy...sort of lying bed with the covers pulled up and thinking of this.

RM: I've been playing in bands starting when I was 13 and that was always my main interest. Even when I was in high school I was just, you know, the band guy, completely focussed on that. There were a couple of times when I had a crisis of faith or something and thought about doing something else, but I can't escape...I'm a lifer.

EKS: Yeah, I can't imagine doing anything else.

RM: And the other guys - like Niels has been a musician his entire life and Martijne also started playing in bands when he was a teenager.

EKS: Martijne's sort of like the quiet powerhouse. Martijne's a really big part of the writing of the new album. He's such a good musician and a great powerhouse. I wish more people recognized what he did.

A: I noticed there seems to be an entirely new use of guitar for the L.P.D.'s on the new album. Is he responsible for that?

EKS: Exactly, that's Martijne.

RM: Yeah, that's Marty. I mean, we all do the music together, it's really a band thing and a collective pot that everybody's throwing ideas into, but a lot of the guitar songs... he came up with those ideas pretty much.

EKS: We just get together in a room and he comes up with a little chord structure, I come up with a lyric, then they all take it there. Then Martijne says 'why don't we take it there', so he takes it there from there and I follow it and it sort of comes together. And then Phil and Ryan also are there and a bit of discussion goes on, and we should all take it there... and it's like so much a collective.

RM: Yeah, so Marty really has quite a lot to do with the sound of the songs and stuff like that.

A: The new album is making quite a stir.

EKS: Yeah? (perky)

A: There's been a lot of at first, "Oh my god, this is an entirely new sound for the Legendary Pink Dots... are we gonna like \ it?" You know, that fear of change reaction initially, then everybody started really grabbing it. It's like it took a little bit of time, but when it grabbed it grabbed very hard. When I heard it I thought it sounded very L.P.D. personally.

EKS + RM: Yeah, I thought it was very L.P.D.

A: I noticed the guitar and I think that's what people are not used to. But you know, everybody did the same thing when the horn was introduced too. At first everyone was like, "Whoa, are we going to be able to take this?" about the change.

EKS: I hope we can shock people like that every time.

RM: Yeah, I mean that's what I'm into. I'm into making every album a shock and a challenge and always changing.

EKS: It keeps us sort of alive and discussing the music, and we don't get bored with it. We want it to be the Pink Dots, it should really be the Pink Dots every time, but should also change. This is an important year for us too because also the Chemical Playschool album was this year. In a way that's designed to be the ultimate trip double, 'cos that completes the circle, but we wanted to do it more intensely than in the way we've done it before. The Pink Box is maybe it's nearest relation, but I think it's way better than the Pink Box. I think at the moment we're more into the natural sounds of real instruments. Like in the mid-80's...and I'm not putting the albums down, but I do find myself very allergic to some of the drum machine sounds. I like the fact that we're using real drums. That's what Martijne and Ryan are for. We never could find a drummer for the Pink Dots before.

RM + EKS: We had to do it ourselves.

EKS: And these guys play them, you know, the way they should sound and it still doesn't sound like a rock band.

A: When you actually listen to music, do you gravitate toward listening to the lyrics or listening to the music or both?

EKS: Actually, mostly I try to ignore the lyrics. I actually hate most people's lyrics.

A: Now that's interesting, since your lyrics are such a big part of the L.P.D.'s.

EKS: There are exceptions. The only lyrical band I can really listen to and enjoy now is Current 93, because I think it's fantastic. Or David Bowie. I mean, I'm glad you mentioned Bowie because he's one of the lyricists I really admire. And I really admire Lou Reed. And I really like The Beatles actually for lyrics because they always throw these asides in. I mean, it'll be completely psychedelic and then they'll mention that the floor needs sweeping and I really love that. It's very special. When they do take the mystery away, there's a new mystery they make.

A: Every once in a while you put out an album with some Steven Stapleton influence. Do you think that might happen again in the near future?

EKS: I think it's possible. He's a real friend. Steve's working on a whole bunch of loops that I sent him a few years ago, actually. I'd even forgotten about them and he phoned me and said, "I need more loops." And I said "More loops? What loops, Steve?" "Yeah, I'm working on these loops." I think it's going to be the new Nurse With Wound album. You know, the beauty with working with Steve is we'll probably never recognize any of them when he's finished with them, but you know, he's a genius, you want him to do things with what you've done.

A: He was on Malachai and Asylum?

EKS: Well, he wasn't on Asylum. That's not particularly true. He actually physically edited the tapes for us because we didn't know how to glue pieces of tape together. But yeah, with Malachai.

A: What is your favorite imaginary place?

EKS: It's an island... purple and yellow skies... and a single sand.

A: You had a quick answer to that!

EKS: Yeah, I was just talking about it the other night, actually.

A: I want to know yours too, Ryan. Or your favorite philosopher.

RM: My favorite philosopher? Uh.... Edward Ka-Spel?

A: Ahh, that's not fair!

EKS: That's not fair, no...

RM: I don't know... somehow the image of palm trees blowing in the breeze comes to mind.

A: That's because you're in California.

RM: Yeah, exactly, that's why.

A: Well, we're glad that you like it. You guys can stay here as long as you like.

RM: Oh, I'm enjoying it.

EKS: I know mine has these eternally changing sunsets with triple moons....

A: Triple moons...

EKS: Always triple moons...

A: And why?

EKS: I've always loved triple moons.

A: That is a neat idea. I almost hate to ask you this question about the Terminal Kaleidoscope and Sing While You May - I know you've been over this 9 million times.

EKS: No no no, it's alright. I have to say it's very much a personal thing and I'm not saying it's the truth or anything like that, but ...looking at what's gone on in my life and the people around me, nothing changes... Like the Terminal Kaleidoscope... It's viewing the planet kind of as a drowning man with its life flashing before its eyes and everything more and more rapidly dissolving into just a mess of colour and sound, just saturation and overload. This is the time we live in, sort of an intense saturation. And we can either be frightened of that intense saturation or we can cherish it and be glad we live now... Sing While You May....

A: And where do the L.P.D.'s fit into that?

EKS: We make the soundtrack.

A: Is that primarily a Kaspelian vision, Ryan, or do you subscribe to that too?

RM: Well, I suppose that's a Kaspelian vision, but I've sometimes said to people that we make soundtracks for the mind. And then they go, "The Mind? Oh, I haven't seen that film..."

EKS: From the beginning I always took to the idea that it's important to try and paint your own soul, you know. And lyrically it's something where it seems to be so personal, it really opens all the doors, even to the point where you might be embaressed later but you know, do it anyway.

A: So making music is kind of like a catharsis for you.

EKS: It has to be.

A: Do you guys practice any kind of magic or any religious or mystical beliefs?

EKS + RM: No.

RM: No, there's no esoteric or mystical stuff going down.

EKS: I actually really try and avoid any kind of religious beliefs, because I believe everything is inside and rituals should be personal, they should come from within.

A: Would you call that a certain kind of personal mysticism then?

EKS: I'm not sure if mysticism is the right word. I mean, there are certain things that I do, certain things I go through, I don't know why I go through them.

RM: And I think everyone in the band sort of follows their own particular vision or personal mysticism pretty much, whatever form that it might take.

EKS: Sometimes you find that, you know, coincidentally you do relate to other people's ideas and that surprises you.

A: Anything else you would like to say to the world in an interview?

EKS: Oh, I always have trouble with that question.

A: Any final words?

EKS: (laughs) Hopefully not final, we'd like to keep going really.


I feel sorry for anyone who has not had the pleasure of attending a Legendary Pink Dots show. I'm so serious about this that I brought my mother to this one - she loved them, of course. There is literally nothing quite like an L.P.D. concert, and the L.A. show at the Roxy was no exception. The experience was wonderful, as usual, despite too much smoke and an overabundance of slightly pushy gothy creatures all shoving for a closer look or for a chance to stroke vocalist Edward Ka-Spel's bare feet.

The sound created by the bass guitar had an intensity of 1 watts/meters squared. The responsible musician, bassist/percussionist Ryan Moore, was striking the string with a force of 226N. The power of the amplifier that produced the sound was 11, 309.7 newtons. In other words, the sound was really intense - but that didn't stop the music from being beautiful.

Somehow these average looking, yet very talented guys manage to take you into another dimension - deeper into yourself perhaps - and although the view from within can be frightening, it is also pure addictive ecstasy. They are somehow able to depose that all-pervading human desire to always be "elsewhere," bringing the audience purely into the now and simultaneously suspending all concept of time. It doesn't even hurt to stand for two hours - well, not until the concert is over, anyway. It is pure escapism, but by a very unlikely route - they enable you to escape yourself by thrusting you firmly into yourself.

When Ka-Spel shuffles onto the stage in his torn and tattered robe, wearing a dour expression on his bespeckled Puckish face as though he carries the dilemmas of the world on his sagging shoulders, the crowd is instantly moved to silence. Everyone is enraptured as he sings in a velvety soft, yet embittered voice, "I want to believe in the nobility of the human spirit... I want to believe that the horrors I see and the horrors I hear about are simply the last cries of the dying spectre that haunted our fragile bones for just too long... I want to believe that we will peel away the masks with which we frighten each other... I want to believe all of these things and more, but you caught me at a bad moment and I can't." And when he entreats, as in the title of one song, "Remember Me This Way," he can be assured that everyone will.