Reno’s unseasonally warm weather lately has made the city feel overdue for a cold front. On Monday night, it arrived in the form of Fearing and Glaare, a duo of darkwave bands from Oakland and Los Angeles, respectively, bringing their tumultuously heavy sounds to The Saint’s stage.
Having toured the Western United States for the past weeks, Fearing set up and hammered through its nightmare soundscapes in silhouette of smoke machines and seizure-inducing stage lights. The four-piece had a gloomy industrial-tinged sound with vocals both guttural and ghostly. Touring on songs from their new “Black Sand” EP, the band created a tense aural darkness – punctuated by slow bleeding bass lines and atmospheric guitars verging on anxiety that enveloped the club over the course of a 30-minute set.
Glaare headlined the night, asking upon taking the stage that everyone bow their heads for singer Rachael Pierce’s father, who passed away days before the band left on tour. From that moment on, Glaare, typically a three-piece but with a fourth member to fill out its live sound, gripped the room with sound – a mix of ’80s goth, shimmery esoteric keyboards, and, at times, dreamy and haunting with vocals drenched in reverb echoing out over pulsing synthesizers and pounding drums. Asking that the house lights be turned off, band members were backlit by pulsating strobe lights, animating their movements across the stage, particularly those of Pierce, who flailed and contorted while handling her vocals.
Amidst songs from the band’s five years together, it also slipped a hauntingly dark version of The Cranberries’ “Dreams” in mid-set. About midnight, just an evening before the blood red supermoon settled on the West, Glaare brought its set to a twinkling and percussive conclusion.
Openers, Skew Ring, is a local five-piece whose gloomy twang is reminiscent of Interpol. The other opening band, Werewolf Club, brought upbeat, dance friendly synths and felt as if it could have been the band onstage in an ’80s movie prom scene. The fact that it was performed by musicians who looked like they were taken from the pages of a fashion catalog (and not draped in dark clothing) made them the outliers of the night, but a pleasant surprise.