It can be said THE GOLDEN FILTER are a bit of a hybrid band. Lead singer Penelope Trappes is originally from Lismore Australia while keyboardist, programmer and drummer Stephen Hindman called the USA and more specifically, Ohio his home. But despite counter polars of the earth, opposites attracted and they formed what can be described as an electro-pop, nu-disco band dubbed The Golden Filter. From mid 2008 to present, they have released a number of singles including ‘Solid Gold’ and ‘Thunderbird’ along with remixing songs by the likes of Little Boots and Cut Copy. All of this has culminated with Voluspa; their debut album released April of this year.
Touring to promote this eleven track beauty, they visited Chicago at a small, intimate venue called The Empty Bottle. Armed with additional drummer William Kuehn, they hit the ground running by opening up with ‘Favorite Things’. It’s virtually impossible to not find one self bopping to this funky, hypnotic number and as Penelope inserted “Chicago” as one of her favorite things, the crowd ate it up.
Next came the first album single ‘Hide Me’, a catchy song with back keyboards reminiscent of early Depeche Mode. Shortly after, there was the Middle Eastern flair of ‘Dance Around the Fire’. Clothed in all black mini shorts, laced filled top and neck draped scarf, Penelope broke out her tambourine and as she sexily danced around the stage, it seemed the close proximity to the crowd was not at all an issue.
And the dancing continued when, with a request for us to “shake it”, the band served up ‘Solid Gold’, another one of their upbeat, disco-esque gems. All along the stage was lit by only two of six available spot lights but for this song an extra light turned on by Penelope was present and despite her long side bangs that often masked her face, we were able to catch views of all three members in action.
But as if Stephen and Penelope weren’t enough on their own, William’s presence allowed a constant live drum for the times Stephen was knob turning and it was when they were both in synch like with the intriguing Stardust that the band was their strongest. At one point, with four drumsticks striking an eruptive beat in unison, I swear it felt like they were literally shaking the walls of this tiny club! It was a definite, dramatic ending that left us wanting more.
And more is what they brought when they returned a few brief moments later with ‘Imaginary’ and then an interesting rendition of The White Stripes’ ‘The Hardest Button to Button’. Their ability to take an alternative rock song and successfully make it electro-dance is proof that they have what it takes to hold their heads high and ride this new wave of electronic acts that has been surfacing over the past two years. Sadly under one hour, the show was a short but definitely sweet one.
by Lori Tarchala
26th June 2010