On the night after Christmas in downtown Denver, I had the delightful opportunity to experience an evening of music and dance with a decidedly Steampunk flavor called "The Con: A Steamphunk Reverie." The theatrical performance was a collaboration between a three-piece string group called The Gristle Gals and the Ascential Dance Theater Colorado.
The performance took place at Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret on the lower level of the historic Clocktower building on the 16th Street Mall. The Gristle Gals opened the evening with an acoustic set, then provided the musical accompaniment during the play, and finally closed out the evening with an electric set.
The Gristle Gals are a talented trio consisting of Gretchen Kunz, the lead vocalist and guitar player, who also writes songs for the group, Mandi Malone, violinist and accordion player, and Nicki Handi, the bass player. The Gals describe their sound as "gypsy grass," a delicious concoction that Westward Magazine called, "modern and edgy, but with an old-timey feel." That is a pretty astute definition of the emerging genre of steampunk music as a whole.
The playbill defines "steamphunk" as a subgenre of Steampunk that is “characterized by a prevalence of bluegrass, rock, Americana, jazz and funk music as well as themes of roof tearing, thrill, bass, race, sex, and parliamentary democracy.” Not sure what that means, but I can say with certainty that this group would delight the heart of any steampunk enthusiast and they will get several opportunities to experience this music soon.
The Gristle Gals are already booked to perform at two Steampunk conventions in 2011--Wild, Wild, West Con in Tuscon, AZ, on the first weekend in March, and at Denver’s Anomalycon, the last weekend of that same month. They will again be joined by the modern dance troupe, Ascential, who provide the theatrical portion of the work, performing in steampunk-inspired costumes, as the story of con artists and their demimonde unfolds in "The Con: A Steamphunk Reverie."