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Originally posted on March 16, 2009

Darkly theatrical and orchestral, replete with danceable beats, Atarah Valentine‘s music felt caged within the walls of the relatively sober Joe’s Pub on Monday night.  Not to be deterred, though, the audience–many of whom had stood in line outside the venue well before the show’s start time–was vocally enthusiastic if not bodily so.

The music, sounding at times like a Martin Gore/Matthew Bellamy blend, nonetheless arrived at a genuinely “Atarah” sound, particularly when perceived via his vivid stage presence and protagonist-from-a-Tim-Burton-film look.  Rounding out nicely both the musical and visual element, Atarah was joined by a cellist and two live mixers/controllerists, one of whom also played trumpet and a six-string bass.

The set included the urgent “End It All,” with its rising vocal lines in the chorus, and the dance-anthem “The Night Is Young,” which Atarah introduced as “one of our songs that you don’t have to be on anti-depressants to enjoy.”  The set ended with the orchestral “Without You,” featuring live trumpet.  The band was applauded back onstage for an encore, and Atarah warned the audience, “as a punishment, you get this.” The mellow song started off with unaccompanied vox and slowly built in intensity and volume before falling back again at the end.

Catch Atarah Valentine at The Annex on April 8th.

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Originally posted on January 9, 2009

Atarah Valentine brought his brand of pop-goth and bravado to a full Studio Friday night.  The music was engaging with its big, theatrical sound; irresistibly drawing both ear and eye were young Atarah’s warm, skilled voice and his fetching style.  Performing with two other musicians—a somber-faced cellist and a laptop/various-other-machines player—Atarah Valentine’s deepest wish seemed to be to connect with his audience.

An expansive sound and danceable beats back up AV’s assertion that his music is “the darker side of pop,” as in the catchy tunes and somewhat morbid lyrics of “End It All.”   “This is a very sad song, but we’re gonna fool you, ‘cause it sounds like a dance song,” Atarah informed his audience before the fifth song, called “Constant Guardians.”  The only detail AV’s stage presence lacked was more live execution (a drummer, for instance), something that will hopefully come in the future.