When actor Ryan Gosling brought his band, Dead Man's Bones, to Boston's Middle East Club for the opening of its first-ever tour Wednesday night, the place was sold out and every song was whooped, hollered, and ecstatically applauded by the crowd, even though the album dropped just last week. Sycophantic celeb-loving? Or respect for Gosling's musicianship? Bit of both, seemed like.
Not that Dead Man's Bones horreur spectacular didn't deserve big-ups.
Gosling's band included friend and fellow actor Zach Shields, and featured the gorgeous honeyed voice of pianist and flautist Andye Jamieson. Plus, there was a local ten-piece children's choir -- a local choir will be used in each city the tour stops at wearing hooded white robes and skull face paint.
Given that Gosling and Shields barely knew how to play an instrument before starting DMB a few years ago, the pair were astoundingly good.
Gosling switched between piano, percussion, acousticand electric guitar -- and his voice purred like a '50s crooner. Shields sang like a hipper, whispery indie rocker.
The sultry "Dead Hearts" was a standout, bringing together the disparate elements of surf, shoegaze, bobby soxer balladry, the "Monster Mash," and The Langley Schools Music Project that the pair call "spooky doo-wop."
Is the horror stuff a spoof, a shtick, a story? All of the above.
Even Gosling cracked up while singing, breaking his serious undertaker demeanor a couple of times. And with songs titled "My Body's A Zombie For You," why wouldn't he?
As actors, Shields and Gosling interpret other people's stories. Here, despite the costume drama, they got a chance to tell something of their own school daze and childhood preoccupations.
Weird kids, clearly.