Thalia Hall Chicago
Monday 8/19/19

Deb Demure and Mona D of Drab Majesty- “In The Round” at Thalia Hall in Chicago.
It’s a special occasion at Thalia Hall when they decide to have a show on the main floor, not on the main stage: In the center of the floor, all four sides technically unobstructed (but that depends on which way the artists are facing).
So that’s why it pays to know the band you’re photographing, such as Drab Majesty, show up for soundcheck, see where they’re setting up their equipment, and then proceed to find the best possible angle for spot on photography, without obstructing fellow concertgoers, and letting them enjoy a most memorable live concert experience.
It’s tricky for a photographer, photographing in the round, and lighting also comes into play, since Drab Majesty is on the main floor, and the main lighting is on the rig on the main stage.
So Lighting Directors, like Spenny Love of Thalia Hall, have to improvise as well, setting up high end movers on the floor stage which will fill the stage and the overall room as well.
Not as easy as it sounds, since there’s no way of knowing until the band arrives and sets up shop, and then you improvise from there.
Not that this review of Drab Majesty touring on the strength of their new release “Modern Mirror” wants to take away from their extraordinary performance- I’m just letting you that there’s a lot going on behind the scenes to pull off a show like this, to make it memorable, to make it special.
The lighting? An A+ – strong vertical lighting, and when horizontal- it bathed the floor stage and musicians with a luminescent glow, enhanced to the nines with Deb and Mona in white and shiny suits and capes, with trademark sophisticated wigs and sunglasses intact.
For those not in the know: Drab Majesty is the solo project of Deb Demure, the androgynous alter ego of L.A. based musician Andrew Clinco, accompanied by Mona D (Alex Nicolaou), who handles synths and occasional vox.
Drab Majesty combine androgynous aesthetics when performing live, with commanding and lushful vocals with a futuristic bent, and added dreamy / occultish lyrics- a style Deb Demure refers to as “tragic wave’.
Both Demure and Mona employ costumes, makeup and props to accompany the lush and unforgettable soundscapes, with melodies and synths and guitar washes harkening back to the mid eighties and sophisticated dream pop.
This is not all by chance: over time, constant touring, splendid videos that tell a story within their songs, through years and years, Drab Majesty have been able to develop a unique brand that the defies qualification, that enhances mood and sound and whims without the blinking of an eye.
Touring on the strength of their latest release “Modern Mirror’- a cinematic album in scope which pushes forth the term “darkwave”, or as I like to call it “cleverwave”- a way for me to give praise for Demure and accomplishing so much with his band, and their beguiling stage presence.
Put it this way- Drab Majesty never disappoint.
Demure and Mona have achieved so much with a limited budget- strong word of mouth and social media praises to check out the band, whether live or on recording, all the while remaining slightly anonymous, covered in white makeup and the black visor sunglasses- sort of soulless and detached, yet intimate and cool.
That’s not as easy as it sounds, and yet over time, they’ve developed this unique brand of detached cool, all the while performing on the strengths of their latest release, and leaving this photographer gobsmacked each and every time they come through town, and always wanting more.
A Drab Majesty show always bursts into life, with washes of sound enveloping you and comforting you throughout, again and again, a bit detached, as is the norm, but yet danceable within the confines of your space while standing.
All the songs, new and old, propel into one another, met with nothing short of absolute love from the devoted surrounding all four corners of the stage- everyone transfixed and enjoying each and every moment, even on a Monday night in Chicago.
Hard to take it all in, even after all these months since this show with Drab was in Chicago.
Once the pandemic bullshit has settled, and we can hopefully go to shows once again- can’t wait to see these guys, and what they’ve created for us in the interim.
Cheers- Bobby Talamine – Music Photographe

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