The Black Queen is an electronic trio, consisting of Greg Puciato (formerly of The Dillinger Escape Plan), Joshua Eustis (Telefon Tel Aviv, Puscifer) and Steven Alexander. Off the back of their recently released second album Infinite Games, they played a sold out Bush Hall in London for the final night of their UK tour.
First up was Californian solo act Kanga. Hers is a haunting brand of electronic music, full of driving beats, killer hooks and aggressive breakdowns, carrying associations with early Nine Inch Nails. Despite being just a sole person on the stage, she capably juggled between the roles of singer, programmer, instrumentalist and dancer, delivering a full-blooded show that is sure to have won her many new fans.
The second opening set came from Tennis System, a power trio playing dream pop with a grungey tinge. The sudden changes of dynamics in their songs would remind of Nirvana and early Placebo, whilst their quieter moments carried the best of Siamese Dream-era Smashing Pumpkins.
After two great opening sets, it was time for the headline act. The Black Queen opened with the lead single off their new album, ‘Thrown Into The Dark’ – its gradual build-up exploding into one of the catchiest choruses of the year. Their synths are sensual, even sexy, commanding our bodies to sway like a collective one. Following it were new cut ‘No Accusations’, and clear crowd favourite from their debut ‘Ice To Never’.
Whilst The Black Queen explores a completely different side of him than The Dillinger Escape Plan, Greg Puciato’s performance was by no means less passionate than in his former band. He put himself into every song, inhabiting the beats and seducing the microphone stand with his moves. Vocally he was impeccable, effortlessly switching between deep baritones and high falsettos, achieving the kind of controlled delivery that these songs require. Eustis supported with beautiful electronics and backing vocals, while Alexander’s haunting guitar lines added the flavour of an organic instrument, juxtaposed with the synthesized skeleton of the songs.
The Black Queen’s set was an hour-long journey between their two albums. Slow burner ‘Your Move’ was another chance for Puciato to stretch his vocal chords, whereas the energetic ‘Secret Scream’ created a proper party atmosphere. The end was signalled by the climactic build-up and release of ‘Apocalypse Morning’, after which band and fans exchanged sincere applause as we all went back out into the rainy October eve. More than just a passion project, The Black Queen showcases some of the best music its members have put their names to, and for the London crowd, the trio and their touring partners put together one memorable show.