The Riot Factory hosted a rad show of four performers last Friday (and I haven't used the word "rad" in a decade). Setting the tone for the evening, Joshua Scalise was a mix of Damien Rice and The Darkness, even if you understand that's practically an impossible combination.
With over 20 people clustered in a tiny basement meant we surrounded Scalise on almost all sides as he brushed the low ceiling with his hair.. But therein lies the beauty and uniqueness of the Riot Factory-an all-ages venue frequently littered with musicians and music appreciators alike. Formerly decked out in tinfoil walls, this flashy signature of the place unfortunately had to come down at the landlord's request.
Unicorn Feather was up next, vocals and guitar by Elijah Jensen, whose energy matched Scalise's, though he multiplied his brushes with the looming ceiling by repeatedly bouncing up on his toes. Jensen demonstrated his way around a guitar before bringing Jake Hanson on stage to add to the mayhem. Hanson impressed the crowd with his beatbox skills, creating multiple sounds in a phenomenal fashion as his lips barely appeared to move. Jensen then looped in recorded sounds of a cymbal, tambourine and a power tool and began a mix of spoken word and a Twyla Tharp sort of dance while telling a story I caught only the gist of. But it was cool and definitely an active experience.
The next band, the Culottes, received an encore for their melodic tunes, with vocals reminiscent of Mazzy Star and an awesome cover of George Michael's "Faith." And finally, Kris Doty took the stage and finished off the night. Doty's vocal range is impressive, her lullaby song was hauntingly sweet and "Turtle Mind Games" and "Lemonade" proved to be deceptively simple song titles for the depth of the actual lyrics. Loretta Lynn's "Blue Kentucky Girl" fit Doty perfectly-look for a record from her to be released in the near future.