Formerly known as Tragic Tantrum, the goth theatrics of London Below will include bassist Randy Renaud and drummer Cruz Caudillo when they play Electric Ladyland on September 2.
According to band cofounder Zoe Tantrum, “When [singer/guitarist] Zeph and I started playing open-mic nights with smeared clown makeup and just a vague idea of what we were trying to do, we were not yet formed...did not yet have direction or shape.”
Billing itself as “San Diego’s only dark cabaret,” Tragic Tantrum debuted in 2004, with Zeph on piano and Zoe on vocals, accompanied by a varying cast of dancers, stilt walkers, and other nonmusical accoutrements. Becoming regulars at local theatrical events such as Technomania Circus in Logan Heights and Queen Bee’s monthly steampunk gathering Chrononaut, they began adding instruments, such as melodicas and toy xylophones to their performances. “We let the cabaret section go so that we could focus on the music [and] have developed into a full band.... It has become clear that the more focus we give to the music, the more true we are being to ourselves and the heart of the project.”
Zoe says the new name was inspired by Neil Gaiman’s TV mini-series and novel Neverwhere. “London Below is a place that exists beneath the city. It’s an underworld where magic and mystery can happen. It’s another dimension, so to speak, that lies right beneath the surface.”
“The fact is, when we chose the name Tragic Tantrum, it had little meaning,” says Zoe. “We were playing open mics and people wanted to know what we called ourselves.... We will shed old and bring in new. Keeping the same formula...makes for stagnation.”
London Below will appear Friday, September 2, at Electric Ladyland on Newport Avenue in O.B., with Victoria and the Vaudevillains and the Shantyannes.