8:25 pm. Chatter filled the Modeling Factory. Artificial arms, legs, and a torsos were scattered along the tile floor, sharing the space with the human arms, legs, and torsos belonging to attendees. The long room was cut in half laterally by a floor-to-ceiling wall of white paper. With darkness filling the room and the only source of light being the street lamps outside, I wondered how I would pull off any sort of usable photos.
That question was answered punctually at 8:30pm, when a set of poly-chromatic lights came to life behind the paper wall. With the new source of light came the shadows of music equipment cast against the white void in front of us. The chatter diminished and introduced a refreshing silence intermittently cut by whispers, the occasional cough, and many a crunching beer can. A new shadow hunched over a set of vibes. The shadow was named Brian McKenna and he opened the show with two movements of a mesmerizing vibes solo--half improvisation, half preparation. As he moved away from his vibes at the finish of is set, three more figures appeared.
Newly minted local threesome, Honey COMA, then took the ‘stage’ and began an audial introduction. The tones of their first track, Bad Behavior, filtered through the paper screen with ease. The paper barrier served several clear purposes, most of which became clearer as the show progressed. Without the visual presence of the band, the attendees filled a role often forgotten at standard shows. We were now full-time listeners and part-time viewers. We, as show-goers, often take for granted the ability to view the source of sound. Now, with only vividly colored shadows to discern, we were forced to listen actively to what sounds were coming from behind the screen.
The set sailed on as traditional sounds of guitar, bass, and drums mixed and formed the freshly written tunes. Self-prescribed as ‘90’s sad-core,’ Honey COMA served us songs of precisely that nature. The songs moved through themes of conscious stoicism, frustration, and pure emotion, touching on poignant issues to which I’m certain nearly everyone in the room could relate, including myself. One song in particular caught my ears. ‘The Argument’ painted a very striking image of a situation familiar to many; frustrations stemming deep from both the internal and external conflicts of a strained relationship. Honey COMA continued to hit us with these pangs of empathy song after song, closing the set with “To Talk Without Touching.” After the show let out, we got the opportunity to see the faces behind Honey COMA: Bryan Johnson on guitar, Norelle Christiani on bass, and Tom Burtless on drums.
If you missed their stunning first show, fear not. Their second show is coming up soon--October 22nd at Little Baltimore. The band currently does not have a heavy social media presence, but can be reached at their band email, email@example.com.
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Can I Say
Talk Without Touching