In Full Bloom

. August 27, 2019.
Violent Bloom— (L-R) Kate Komuniecki, Jon Zenz and Kelly Thompson— offer a unique sound that has attracted national interest. Photo Credit: Jake Weber
Violent Bloom— (L-R) Kate Komuniecki, Jon Zenz and Kelly Thompson— offer a unique sound that has attracted national interest. Photo Credit: Jake Weber

Local chamber pop group, Violent Bloom

Burgeoning local outfit, Violent Bloom, takes the TMA Peristyle Terrace stage on Friday September 6. The final edition of the Museum’s It’s Friday! outdoor summer music series, the timing is fitting, as the group’s chamber pop serves as a hearkening of September’s bittersweet transition from summer to fall. The three-piece group, comprised of founders Kelly Thompson and Kate Komuniecki— both songwriters, pianists and drummers— and veteran bassist, Jon Zenz, leverage non-traditional instrumentation and diverse musical backgrounds to forge a unique sound.

Violent Bloom, by self-description, exists between genres. Thompson points out that their music is “not pop music in the traditional sense.” The group finds its way by ignoring barriers; by not worrying what something “should” sound like or whether two styles “make sense” together. “We don’t come at stuff with formulas,” says Zenz. Komuniecki adds that the differences within the band are just as crucial to their style as their distance from traditional musical labels. “It’s cool because, in the places we diverge, I think we surprise each other.” Artistic ideas flow freely within the trio, and their music is better for that collaborative streak.

What’s in a name?

The group’s style is borne out by the name Violent Bloom, which conjures an image that is both beautiful and injurious; delicate, yet powerful. “Songwriting is a process of growth,” says Thompson, “which is sometimes really painful. . . and it’s sort of masked by these beautiful harmonies.” Their music, often built on moody piano, engages with complex, personal themes, while swirling in a warm, enveloping embrace. By contrast, Violent Bloom channels their darkness into swooping piano and pulsing rhythms that make for a welcoming, even fun, listen despite the often weighty subject matter. The group’s introspection is not about isolation but, rather, offers an invitation to share in life’s complexities together.

Location, location, location

Thompson praises the TMA, saying that “because of [its] history and influence in this town,” the museum brings together high art and the general populace. Komuniecki adds that “the museum is an old institution, but they’re awake and participating” in the city as it grows and changes. The Peristyle Terrace is suited to Violent Bloom’s aesthetic: open and inviting, but intimate enough that the group’s slower numbers won’t get lost as they might in the cacophony of a bar show. Playing a mixture of their favorites peppered with cuts from their upcoming 2020 album, Anemone, rain or shine, the Violent Bloom September 6 concert is well worth checking out.

Supporting local music is always a worthy goal, but there’s no doubt it’s easier to recommend when it sounds this good.

Follow Violent Bloom: @ViolentBloomMusic on Facebook & Instagram, @VBloomBand on Twitter.
6:30-8:30pm | Friday, September 6
Toledo Museum of Art, Peristyle Terrace.
2445 Monroe St. | 419-255-8000. | Free