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Music Review

Wicked Curve Cooks Up a Little Magic

April 13, 1998|NATALIE NICHOLS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Like noisy apparitions commanding the darker forces of nature, the members of Curve mesmerized a capacity Troubadour crowd Friday, conjuring black musical magic from within a maelstrom of white fog, colored lights, pulsating strobes and blunt-force guitar crunch.

The first of the British rock-electronica duo's two nights at the club revealed bassist-guitarist Dean Garcia and vocalist Toni Halliday returning to the spotlight at the top of their game.542599540ieve Curve hasn't toured since 1994.

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Grinding out an epic cacophony over which Halliday's dangerous purr reigned supreme, the sound by the duo, accompanied by a bassist and a drummer, incorporated punk, hip-hop, drum-'n'-bass and trip-hop styles. Yet the music remained single-minded, as hard as obsidian and relentlessly driven. Halliday's vocals gave emotion to such obsessive numbers as "Chinese Burn," although she couldn't make the shrill anthem "Dog Bone" any less tedious than it sounds on the album.

But neither this one dull note nor the five-minute delay near set's end, due to what appeared to be a problem with the monitors on stage, slowed the juggernaut. In a genre that includes such heavy-hitters as Garbage, Curve has proved a formidable force, both adventurous with its new material and adaptable enough to re-invent older works, like the nearly unrecognizable take on "Die Like a Dog," to fit the moment.

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