Will The Beautiful Unknown be able to keep their name once they become widely known? That is the question I pondered on the way home from The Beautiful Unknown's video release party Friday night at The Silver Dollar Room. The new video that was at the centre of the celebration is for the track Spinning In My Grave. Before the band took the stage and played a very well received set, the video was introduced and played on a big "screen" (a white sheet).
With lots of friends and fans in the audience, and a load of complimentary Jägermeister shots distributed among them, there was plenty of excitement among the crowd. The excitement was proven to be well justified, friends and Jägermeister aside.
Although the set started off with a song that had a little too much of an 80's taint for me, their true style became apparent over the next hour - a style with an interesting and engaging mixture of influences. I could hear (and see) an underlying influence from The Doors, but the overall sound didn't actually come across like music from that era. In fact, The Beautiful Unknown has been able to blend a few different styles to make a sound of their own, something that can be an elusive target for many bands. And, yes, there is a hint of 80's influence running throughout most of their compositions, but between the varying vocals, the riveting guitar, and the some of the best drumming you'll hear in the city (or anywhere), it is difficult for me to explain exactly how that sound surfaces.
Some of the songs were so powerful that I had to lower my camera just so I could just take in the whole stage all at once. Derek Downham is an incredible drummer who is brilliantly active, and his ability to sweat out some the most amazing percussion is worth watching. He eventually left the stage drenched from his performance. But before anyone ended up leaving the stage, Kyle Riabko was invited up and given an electric guitar. He melded in well, and the five of them on stage tore it up. At least a few fans moved in on the stage to scream out their support. It was clear that everyone was adrenalized by the show, and I was no exception. There was a buzz in the crowd as the performers joined the audience at the bar for a few post-performance beverages.
Be sure to check out The Beautiful Unknown on MySpace, although I'll warn you now that some of their existing recorded material didn't have the same impact on me as their live performance. Best bet is to give Spinning In My Grave a listen, just to get a feel for the kind of music you can expect, and if you like it (even a little) get yourself out to one of their shows to really experience their music.