Driven to Ecstacy

Victims in Ecstacy will do whatever it takes to become stars. They'll even dress like boys.

Bakin's girlfriend, a young, blond waif, dutifully outlines his lips with a cosmetic pencil as Louvau re-emerges just in time for a photo. The five band members -- dressed in expensive, stunning suits -- flash cheesy grins, then flip off the camera in unison. It's showtime.

At 11:45 p.m., VIE assembles onstage at the Mason Jar. In seconds, the band is crashing around like bumper cars on the small stage, sending droplets of mascara and sweat swirling into the air. Carried by an earful of rhythmic blasts and the dreamy electronic binge of Andy Gerold's lead-guitar riffs, a roomful of happy goths sway and bop, singing along to every word. The band unleashes a surly rendition of Guns n' Roses' "It's So Easy," then rips through their new material to the obvious delight of the crowd.

Midway into the queasy psycho binge of "Dresses, Dolls & Lollipops," Louvau slinks about the stage like an oversexed bat, spewing tight, pouty phrases and occasionally uttering a devilish growl. He stops short and gazes over the crowd, then shakes his body like a rag doll.

"Goddamn I love America!" he yowls, sweat streaking his cheeks and lips. In the lights, his hair is a lurid spectrum of violets and lilacs.

The final song climaxes in what seems a nightmarish version of American Bandstand. The band invites a motley crew to join them onstage, and pretty soon, more than a dozen fans are singing and pogoing to the hell-sped rhythms of "Fragile." It's no wonder Louvau regards youth as the band's main asset. After all, their infectious energy would convert even the most devout skeptic.

"We're not like, 'I'm 30 years old and greasy and I've got a couple of kids on the side,'" he says. "We're very young. And we're very, very driven."

Victims in Ecstacy's CD release party is scheduled for Saturday, April 22, at The Bash on Ash. Showtime is 9 p.m.

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