All kinds of things are happening this weekend when the annual Comicpalooza convention rolls around, but one thing you may not know is that you can see some truly exceptional concerts there as well.
As part of our coverage leading up to the fun, here are some of the bands you will want to mark down to see appear.
Abney Park: Once just another goth band, Abney Park has launched itself to the very top of the rising steampunk movement to become a niche, but extremely popular act that puts on a hell of a show. Their song "Sleep Isabella" even made it into an episode of True Blood last season.
Since their transformation the band has put out a steady stream of epic soundtrack music that would fit right at home in a Final Fantasy game. They're full of a lush, unsettling darkness that always entertains. They don't do things any way but big, and you won't regret catching them at Saturday's Steampunk Ball.
Oh, and just in case you question their geek credentials, they have their own tabletop RPG now.
ArcAttack: Cave Johnson said, "Science isn't about why. It's about why not" and nothing sums that up better than ArcAttack. Using a robotic drum kit, Tesla coils and a stuntman in a chainmail suit they modulate the spark output of the electrical generators to play music. It's an awesome and inspiring sight that makes for a one of a kind concert.
They've managed to make quite a name for themselves, even getting a fair amount through America's Got Talent and even appeared in the game AdventureQuest Worlds. I'm sort of surprised that they're not even bigger since, you know, they control freakin' lightning.
Professor Elemental: The good professor is another fine purveyor of steampunk music, but his schtick is a gentlemanly form of rap called chap-hop. He is known far and wide for his ability to bust out an eloquent flow that will wither the most ardent adventurer.
He's also got his own comic book out now. The second issue, full of dinosaurs and bagpipe goodness, should be on sale at the convention. Currently I'm digging on "Hat Full of Sunshine" from his latest album Father of Invention featuring Sadie Jemmet. It's a fresh as a daisy ode to taking it easy Victorian style with a catchy ass hook you won't forget.
Frenchy and the Punk: Their music is hard to explain, save that it calls to mind the most inventive moments of Siouxsie and the Banshees. That doesn't even scratch the surface, though. You'll hear European cabaret, punk, folk, world, pop and gypsy jazz, They're instantly engaging and very high energy in everything they do.
"Conventions are a unique environment because you can become completely immersed in the theme of the event," says Frenchy via email. "Steampunk conventions have a very specific aesthetic of Victorian meets Roaring Twenties meets Wild West meets the future. The attendees generally are in steampunk attire and it encompasses a very wide age range and is very inclusive.
"In a world that can sometimes feel a bit frigid, these conventions bring beauty and warmth back into everything from costuming to artwork and crafts," she concludes. "That is the maker's mindset, bringing the human touch back to everyday things."
Comicpalooza begins at noon Friday at the George R. Brown Convention Center. See comicpalooza.com for more information.
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