Ace of Cups temporarily transformed into a place where all hope goes to die when locals Cosmic Moon and Brass Orchids opened for New York noisemakers Cult of Youth on a recent Wednesday.

Ace of Cups temporarily transformed into a place where all hope goes to die when locals Cosmic Moon and Brass Orchids opened for New York noisemakers Cult of Youth on a recent Wednesday.

Cosmic Moon kicked things off in appropriately dour fashion, with Jenny Cosmos (think Wednesday Addams full grown and fronting a gothic duo) delivering her bleak, black words atop a droning backdrop of harmonium and the textured fretwork of impressively bearded guitarist Nick Christensen, who could have passed for a warlock dressed for casual Friday. The pairís chill-inducing sound matched the icy outdoor weather, and there was a sense the gray clouds masking the early evening skies had somehow intruded upon the indoor space.

A similar sense of hopelessness carried into the comparatively volatile set from Brass Orchids, the brainchild of Kevin Failure (Pink Reason), which was making its live debut. Where Cosmic Moonís music moved like a flatlining heart monitor, however, Orchidsí sound rumbled, simmered, flared and exploded, projecting the danger and unpredictability of improperly stored volatile chemicals.

Masked by darkness and the steady belch of a smoke machine, bandmates Shawn Beckering (formerly of TV Ghost) and Failure positioned themselves behind an expansive bank of equipment that included both electronic components (Korg keyboards, mixers, a Roland JP-8000 synthesizer, etc.) and lo-fi elements (an oil drum that served as a booming source of percussion). The trioís frontman, in turn, stalked the edge of the stage like an unleashed animal, alternately launching himself ballistics-like into the crowd and collapsing in an onstage heap amid a flourish of moist gasps and grunts.

In an email, Failure cited industrial acts like Skinny Puppy, Ministry and Nitzer Ebb as sources of inspiration, and the bandís music projected a similarly mechanized menace, building on synthesizers that buzzed like high-voltage wires, clattering percussion and squelching electronic beats that crunched like footsteps in heavy snow. At times, vocals were lost in the surrounding madness, but the snippets that did find a way to the surface suggested the oil-black feel drilled deep into the musicís core.

ďAmericaís killing its youth today,Ē the singer howled repeatedly as the music slowly drew to a close, like an industrial sawmill gradually shutting down power to its various substations. Rarely has hopelessness felt so invigorating.

[Photo: Music_SensoryOverload_BrassOrchids_CreditAndyDowning_0212]