September 25, 2009

Live Review: Extraordinary Contraptions

The Hyatt // Atlanta, GA // Sept. 4, 2009

“From a time that never was” comes a quartet dressed in what appears to be a cross between Victorian styles of the past and fictional technology and inventions. The Extraordinary Contraptions follow the dress code of steampunk. At their appearance at DragonCon this year, they were covered in brass gears and earth tones, and so was the crowd.

Picture – if you can – geeks and sci-fi freaks, all fans of varying literature and films, filling the Hanover room at the Hyatt hotel for a steampunk fashion show followed by an all-acoustic set by The Extraordinary Contraptions.

More than booze fueled the show as (mad) Professor Dimitri von Stadberg's upright bass powered through an acoustic set fed through a PA. The rest of the band included a time traveler and a gentleman explorer. Their sound toppled over amazing creatures boogieing with individualistic style. Everything from ballroom dancing to a sort of rave seizure caught my eyes. Songs included “Kiss From a Girl,” to a waltz called “For You From Me.”

All in all, the sound could have been better and the sound guys may not have known exactly which instruments plugged into which outlets, but the passion and pure fun of The Extraordinary Contraptions shined through like a light escaping a wormhole. Hearing the female vocals of keyboardist Sephora Bostwick mixed with Aelus Kristof von Stadberg's guitar added a jazzy feel to otherwise rocking rhythms. I wouldn't get lost trying to categorize this group as any form of “punk,” except in the purest sentiment of doing exactly what they want to do and not caring where to fit in for labeling.

The fast-paced “Burn” opened with a gothic groove with industrial-feeling vocals, tempered by bass licks reminiscent of the guitar in Heart's “Crazy on You.” Yes, this mix of inspired rock left the crowd feeling accepted in the growing steampunk culture of Atlanta within the safety of its fantasy festival.

-Review and photo by Ellen Eldridge

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