Commenting casually via twitter this weekend, 570 friends @bgfulton and @erin_nissley mentioned a "steampunk band" that played in conjunction with a Halloween Rocky Horror Picture Show event at The Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg. This Way to the Egress was "interesting" they said, although hard to hear due to venue sound issues. After listening to a few tracks, I’m leaning more toward dark carnival cabaret than steampunk. Regardless, it’s yet another example of how close to home the the enthusiasm for NeoVaudeville has hit.
Hailing from Bethlehem, PA, the trio describes itself at myspace.com as "elctroacoustic / experimental / classical," and says its sound is akin to:
"organ grinders, cave dwellers, and sin catchers! Dark showtunes, cabaret gypsy punk improv! Foot stomping, tamborine clapping, xylophone skeletal rib playing! vox shrieking, throat scratching, voice manipulation! contorting notes of music mayhem into twisted forms of Annihilation!"
Well, they definitely seem to grasp the aesthetic. Among the more obvert NeoVaudeville references they cite are Jason Webley and Gogol Bordello. The page is wallpapered with vintage photos of sideshow freaks. (Hey- according to the schedule they’ll be playing in Plains on Friday, Nov. 13 at Ole Tyme Charley’s at a "Freak Show Friday" program!)
Not to digress but the name of the band, by the way, comes from a famous and very telling story about American showman P.T. Barnum. Frustrated when people lingered too long at the exhibits (e.g. Feejee Mermaid, Siamese Twins Cheng and Eng, etc.) in his American Museum, Barnum posted signs reading "This Way to the Egress," counting on the fact that patrons, not recognizing "egress" as another name for "exit," would assume an even more remarkable attraction waited behind the door, only to then find themselves outside.