“When we first talked about doing this it was like five years ago. You can see that we're moving pretty fast,” says Mike Sydloski, frontman for The Dracula Kite: Songs of The Cure, early in the set. Replete with black eyeliner, de rigeur for a band paying homage to goth popsters The Cure, The Dracula Kite took the Surly Wench stage late Friday night to an enthusiastic crowd.
Their name's part of a lyric in the song “Perfect Murder” from the ’83 album Blue Sunshine
by The Glove, a spinoff project featuring Cure man Robert Smith and Siouxsie & The Banshees guitarist Steve Severin.
The Dracula Kite is vet Tucson musicians Chris Callahan (guitar and keyboard), Mike Sydloski (vocals and guitar), Daniel Thomas (drums) and David Hostetler (bass). They are busy dudes, playing in Atom Heart Mother: A Tribute to Pink Floyd and involved individually in other local bands like Jillian & The Giants, Shrimp Chaperone and others.
“Mike and I have known each other since we were six or seven,” Hostetler says. "Our dads were in the Air Force and they were best friends. One of the reasons we started that band [Atom Heart Mother] was because our dads were huge fans of music, and big fans of Pink Floyd, so it was kind of a way of thanking our dads for turning us into music junkies.”
“Mike and I had talked about having a band that could play and could capture the sound of The Cure—really for no other reason than we loved the songs and wanted to hear the songs performed live. [We’re] huge fans of the band. We’d both collect bootlegs of live shows and knew all the little nuanced details. When they came to Phoenix in July of ’87, we took a road trip up there. It was one of those musical life-changing moments. The Cure was like nothing I’d ever seen before. The response of the crowd. The lyrics. The music. It was amazing.”
Culling the majority of their set’s material from early Cure albums like Three Imaginary Boys
, Seventeen Seconds Faith
, Head on the Door
, The Dracula Kite performed songs “All Cats Are Grey,” “M,” “In Your House,” “Short Term Effect,” “Inbetween Days” and many others. Songs inspired nostalgia and kept the dancefloor alive throughout the night. They veered off of the menu twice, segueing ino songs by My Bloody Valentine and Echo & The Bunnymen that fit in seamlessly.
“You fuckers should singalong,” implored Sydloski into the mic, launching into “Lullaby.”
Assuming the role of Robert Smith, Mike Sydloski is disciplined, and he obviously takes pride in the songs.
In a world of automatons and mechanization, simplicity's relief. The Dracula Kite’s raison d'être: “We love covering songs. We like gazing at shoes.”