Birthday Massacre / Schoolyard Heroes @ Highline Ballroom

The Birthday MassacreNEW YORK, NY—If Wednesday Addams could put together a music lineup, then the Walking With Strangers tour would be just that. With only three bands on the roster, the evening at Highline Ballroom was short, sweet and horrific. In promotion of their recent release of the same name, The Birthday Massacre were supported by Creature Feature and Schoolyard Heroes, two acts to make you cringe—in a good way.

Creating the same feeling you get from watching a horror flick from the 1950s, Creature Feature started the evening with tracks from their recent release, The Greatest Show Unearthed. Encrusted with gruesome lyrics, their music came across as one dimensional, but becomes terribly interesting with its creepy vocals such as on “Buried Alive.” Unfortunately, their set time length did not allow for them to play their track “Gorey Demise.”

Schoolyard Heroes brought a bolt of energy to the stage with the boys of the group wearing school uniform-like attire and lead singer Ryann Donnelly dressed in shredded ’80s prom dress. You couldn’t take your eyes off the stage with the antics of Donnelly as you never knew what she would do next— fall to the stage after a pirouette or stare aimlessly into the crowd. Their sound was perfectly on point and translated quite well from CD to stage, maintaining its out of control and razor sharp spark.

That mood of childlike fantasy that is found on the new album by The Birthday Massacre is echoed throughout their stage show. Lead singer Chibi made faces periodically to the audience and the majority of the band members had the schoolboy charm of Pugsley from the Addams’ Family. With only two full- length albums and an EP under their belts, they bounced back between tracks from each effort and everything meshed well together.

With a myriad of musical instruments on stage— including a keytar—TBM delivered an exciting and ambient show. Through a journey of video game-like simplistic tones on their opener “Video Kid,” to harder, industrial guitars on “Red Stars,” TBM had you completely captivated.

I expected a big visual set-up on stage, but they kept it simple with the usual complementary stage lighting that most other bands have. Plus, six performers on stage are enough to keep your eyes occupied during each song. Even more unusual was the diversity among the crowd, which I had expected to be filled with industrial goth enthusiasts. The audience added to the enjoyment of the evening, as they were respectful and genuinely into the music. In the end, the evening turned out to be one of the most enjoyable shows I’ve been to in a while.