Thursday, November 9, 2017

Prayers at the Bowery Ballroom

Author, artist and musician Rafael Reyes was born in Cotija, Mexico, and was raised in San Diego, California. While still a teenager in San Diego, he joined a street gang in order to save his father's life after a skirmish at a local market. Upon graduating high school, he opened San Diego's first vegan/vegetarian Mexican restaurant with his father and operated the restaurant for 18 years. In 2011, he wrote and published Living Dangerously, a  roman à clef about his life as a gang member. He also began showing his artwork in San Diego and Los Angeles. In 2011, Reyes formed his first band, Baptism of Thieves, followed by the pop-goth Vampire. In 2013, he reinvented himself under an alter ego, Leafar Seyer, which is his full name spelled backwards, and created Prayers with Tijuana-born synthesizer player Dave Parley, formerly of Latin Lovers. Seyer and Parley began recording immediately upon meeting, and completed the first Prayers CD in three days. Prayers won Best Alternative Band in the 2015 San Diego Music Awards. Prayers will release its third album, Baptism of Thieves, on November 24, 2017.

Prayers brought to the Gramercy Theatre tonight the music that its originators have defined as Cholo goth. Seyer's presentation was very much like slam poetry, closer to rapping than singing, couching poetic phrases and dark images with emotionally-charged dynamics. Seyer's lyrics explored harsh gang life and gothic themes over throbbing beats and swirling synthesizers. Parley, on the left side of the stage, framed Seyer's expressive deliveries with stark, uncluttered electronic rhythms that circled around the perimeter of industrial music. Together, the duo created an innovative sensory experience that should work itself out of the gothic underground and into the wider alternative music scene.

Visit Prayers at www.chologoth.com.