Venue: Old Blue Last Support Bands: Scary Mansion supported by Hyrst. Date: 01/03/10 Rocking up in a flurry of Americanisms and barely contained enthusiasm, Scary Mansion had a certain energy about them even before they soundchecked, let alone took to the stage. Hyrst emanated something too, but quieter, more smouldering; though friendly and relaxed, they were quiet, softly spoken, unassuming. It's not often, for whatever reason, you're privvy to hanging out with the evening's acts, but in this case it enriched my experience no end. Hyrst then. On stage, their demeanor was much the same; their style haunting, sparse, minimalistic, unsettling. Only a duo, Darron plays guitar, sings, and occasionally goes apeshit on a floor tom, but none of it in the traditional sense. Chords were often fingered half-minutes apart, vocals were atmospheric, keening, often whispered or wordless wails. Ed controls an array of synths, a drum machine and also takes his turn on the floor tom by his side. It's an intriguing set up that the duo really eek out an impressive range of sounds from, though rarely more than a few at any one time. All in all their performance to a woefully underpopulated floor was gripping; by turns intense, then uncomfortably sparse and bleak, then experimental and tribal. They left the stage and I came away a little shaken and slightly confused, but extremely curious. Scary Mansion began with a suitably rock out intro from their most excellent new album Make Me Cry. Drummer Ben Shaprio is goofy as hell but, as it became quickly apparent, an absolute beast behind the kit, even going so far as to somehow chip a tooth on his backing vox mic half way through the set. Frontwoman Leah Hayes had a real charisma about her; a voice at turns so fragile you worry it's about to fade away entirely and then spine tingling. She always plays a Thunderstick, which is impressive in itself for its rarity, and the fact she manages to rock it on occasion is even cooler. These details are of course utterly incidental to the fact they command your attention utterly once they start playing their own cross between shoegaze, wall of sound rock outs, and gorgeous, soulful slow songs filled with short bursts of drums. An impassioned performance punctuated with the always-welcome admissions from both Leah and Ben on how much they liked the venue, the audience, just playing. The band were tight, fun, affecting, and if you can catch them back on their home turf of Brooklyn NY and you haven't already done so; do so. For the rest of us, check out their new songs up on the myspace, grab the second album if you dig it (again, it comes highly recommended) and remind yourself to attend the next God Don't Like It show you possibly can! Scary Mansion at the Allotment. Video Courtesy of God Don't Like It website, and recorded by Paul Bridgewater.