For the final number, the dancers wore DayGlo wigs and black leotards screen-printed with life-size skeletons. Their movements, in time with the rigid hard rock, were stiff and jerky. As the song faded, they collapsed onto the fog-shrouded floor, convulsing and shorting out like waterlogged androids.
What in the name of hell is Son of William doing in St. Louis? The band's goth/industrial rock is better than that of Nine Inch Nails and a lot less pretentious. They've knocked around for ten years now, releasing seven albums and contributing to gobs of darkwave-music compilation CDs. They've made a name for themselves in Harrison's native England and received their due in Mick Mercer's 1997 book Hex Files: The Goth Bible.
So why do Missouri poseurs Gravity Kills get the record deal while SOW, a power trio fronted by a genre-topping songwriter, must scrape the bucket to mount the occasional haunted-concert spectacle? There's no simple answer for that one.
"It's just been an uphill battle," says Harrison. "When we were in England, we were getting a lot of coverage, but it was spread so thinly in the underground. There's not been a real glorious moment. The best things that have happened so far have been the shows in St. Louis. I think that [glorious] moment's yet to come."
Let's hope this band's ship does come in, because SOW, headquartered in a refurbished recording studio co-owned by Harrison near Grand Center, is ready for the big time. Their music is hard enough for the industrial/metal crowd, dark enough for goths and slick enough for Elektra to bust open the door with a wheelbarrow of cash.
In the meantime, locals are lucky to enjoy songs such as Harrison's "Your Reality, My Insanity," performed in a tricked-out chamber of horrors for a modest crowd of black-clad fans jumping up and down in glee.
Saturday's "Night of the Ripper" Halloween extravaganza will feature Son of William, DJs, vendors, a costume contest, giveaways, a gothic-fashion show, an open bar and a theatrical re-enactment of the Jack the Ripper murders by the Hydeware Theatre.
"The first killing is supposed to happen right before we get onstage," says Harrison.