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It is rainy and cold on Fern Street in South Park, about as gloomy as San Diego gets. Local death-rockers Blessure Grave set up in the tiny anteroom at the Whistle Stop in front of a screen showing a creepy 1980s flick with Sigourney Weaver. Lots of black clothes, complex hair, and ungroomed beards in the crowd. This vibe is incongruous because the Whistle Stop is a boisterous, friendly place and Blessure Grave and their fans are card-carrying members of Goth nation, albeit of the indie-punk strand, not the corny Elizabethan strand.

The music begins with tom-tom beats, droning bass, and shimmering walls of high-gain, warm-toned guitar. You can't hear the vocals at all. The focal point is T. Grave, guitar man and singer. He is a simulacrum, a perfect-copy-that-never-really-existed of an ’80s gloom-boy, with shards of obsidian hair and an androgynous lean over the mike. There is also Reyna Kay, elfin-faced and weirdly cheerful amid all the black. The other musicians, although playing well, are support staff. Blessure Grave's music sounds like early-’80s death rock, only heavier. Think Faith-era Cure crossed with the guitar volume and dissonance of Sonic Youth. The best thing tonight is the guitar tones. All four stringed instruments stand out, and the droning layers create a sense of waterfalls.

Then it's over. T. Grave places his ax on top of the keyboard and starts unplugging. The show was not more than 30 minutes, and I am back out in the rain after a single beer, humming the last riff on the way to my car and looking forward to the Grave’s next gig.

  • Artist: Blessure Grave
  • Date: December 11, 2009
  • Venue: Whistle Stop
  • Seats: Floor
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