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Squeeze TV Taping
Written in Ashes/Sumerland/DB Frequency/Finn -- Mt. Tabor Theatre & Pub, Portland, Oregon (September 4, 1998)

By: Sonya Brown

Fire dancers. Dominatrixes. Submissives. Oh, and some very cool tunes too.

There were 4 bands being taped that night for the Seattle-based "Squeeze TV". 2 were goth bands (Sumerland and Written In Ashes) and 2 were somewhat less memorable. I say less memorable because of the events that took place during the Sumerland and Written In Ashes sets.

First on stage was Finn. I suppose I should have given them a better listen, but I was more interested in the mood that night. Mt. Tabor had been transformed into more of a goth atmosphere, which really didn't lend itself well to the more metal performance of Finn. They seemed a bit out of place and extremely loud.

Next up was Sumerland. Granted, I have liked this band since day one - so it wasn't hard for them to capture my attention - but what I wasn't expecting were the intriguing fire dancers. First up was a male fire dancer with a flaming baton. Several 'small' fires were started during his show which were quickly stomped out, it was all rather exciting and he was very good. Later a girl took her place in front of the stage. She had ten tiny torches on her fingers and she was amazing! She was so exotic looking, and her fire dance showcased the music of Sumerland so very well. The bands each played only about 5 songs (or around 1/2 hour each set for the taping).

While all this was going on, the 'theatre' side of Mt. Tabor was playing previous "Squeeze TV" tapings. Now, some of these clips were excellent. I saw Super Deluxe perform (minus volume) and some extreme snowboarding, etc. What I didn't care for were some of the 'party' clips being shown, such as clips of the late "El Duche", and something involving "cruelty to crustaceans". I would have preferred the focus be on the music.

Anyway, third up on the stage was DB Frequency. Again, I should have paid more attention, but they also failed to hold my attention after the set that Sumerland had performed, and I was busy visiting with friends by now.

Finally, around 1am it was time for Written In Ashes, and the anticipation had been building all night. Candles were lit and Kevin (vocals) walked the perimeter of the club with incense to further set the ambiance. The crowd had thinned by this time to more of a goth audience, and it was marvelous to see the beautiful clothing and the women in ornate dresses.

The band began to play, the sound was superb, and from the back of the club came a dominatrix leading a submissive on a leash. The submissive was on her hands and knees and she was led on stage, and taken to a table that had been prepared in the back of the stage. She was tied there, on her hands and knees with her back to the crowd. While the band performed, the dominatrix lit a torch which she began to burn the submissive with, later candle wax was dripped on the submissive, and finally needles were placed in her back to draw blood. OK, by now you are thinking this is a bit over the top. Well, perhaps it was.... but keep in mind that it was all rather professional. My main problem was the fact that the audience and the cameras were so focused on the girls, that the band seemed to lose some of the attention. I feel Written In Ashes is an extremely talented band, and I was really concerned that the cameras would not capture the stage presence that they alone can bring to a show. Considering some of the previous tapes I had just seen, I was sure the show going on in the back of the stage was getting considerable more attention than the band at this point. I don't believe the entire band was fully aware of the performance art going on behind them, as they had their music to concentrate on at the time.

Finally the submissive was bandaged, and the dominatrix led her off-stage just in time for the band to play my favorite song, "Night Feast". The crowd began to dance and the focus was fully returned to the band. Before leaving the stage, "Petals Like The Night" was the final treat to show their appreciation to the crowd.

I have seen some bizarre stage shows before, but this is one I will definitely remember. One comment that really made me giggle, was during the torch session on the submissive.... I heard someone from the Sumerland table laugh and say "hey, we had fire first!"

I'm sure Mt. Tabor hasn't seen this much action in quite some time, and I was perpetually looking around waiting for a raid by the fire department and/or police. I can't wait to see the tape.... or, er, shall I say 'evidence'?!

Fire dancers, dominatrixes, submissives? We certainly aren't in Kansas anymore.

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