Sextacy Ball 2010

Not too long ago I heard that Lords of Acid and Thrill Kill Kult were coming to town and playing a show together.  So where was this revelry of debauchery to be held?  Double Door?  Reggies?  HOB?  Hell?  Alas, no.  The venue for this show was to be The Cubby Bear: a shining beacon of mediocrity and douchebaggery in Wrigleyville.  Yes, that’s right.  You are going to ask your rivet-heads, leather-clad dominatrices and scary kids to run a gauntlet of drunken assholes into the eye-wall of the dickhead whirlwind that is Wrigleyville on a Saturday night.

I feel like I have to clarify myself to be fair.  I am a Cubs fan.  I do enjoy going to Wrigley and I enjoy some of the bars in the area(Cubby Bear is not one of them).  However, I have no illusions.  I realize that your average person in Wrigleyville, after a game on the weekend, is stinking drunk, stumbling down the streets with all of the mental walls that make them a tolerable human being crumbling under the weight of 50 old styles.  Have I been one of those people before?  Yes.  As a matter of fact, that’s what makes Wrigleyville fun: when you are trashed out of your mind and everyone around is operating on the same wavelength.  At least, until you get into a fight or throw up on yourself.  Anyway, my point is that Wrigleyville can be a terrible place to be sober in.

We arrive at the Cubby Bear and wait in a line for about a half hour.  During this time we are visited by about 4 different panhandlers who have recognized a golden opportunity in a line of people stuck, unable to leave or avoid their gaze in order to dodge the situation.  One of them is carrying a beer in his hand as he asks for money for the bus.  Brave choice sir.  Anyway, we all engage in that awkward dance of pretending to have no money, and they gracefully complete their part of the dance by pretending to believe it.  Eventually we get inside and order a beer.  The beer selection is not particularly impressive, but to be fair to the Cubby Bear, it wasn’t as ridiculously overpriced as I initially suspected it might be.

The first opening band, I:Scintilla, takes the stage and does a decent job.  Then the next band, BlownLoad, takes the stage.  These guys were pretty fun.  The lead singer was a bit of a clown.  He looked like he woke up from a nap, wandered the stage for a bit and eventually took his dreads down from a knot he had them tied up in,  occasionally examining weird pieces of junk stuck in his hair.  When the rest of the band joined him, they kicked into high gear.  The lead singer was pretty animated and probably the driving force behind the band.  All the songs had to do with sex in one form or another, and I’ll do everyone a favor by not going into their set list.  If you’re curious, check them out on Myspace.  Susan dug their sound more than I did.  Around this time I also became very conscious of the heat.

Cubby Bear must have decided that air conditioning was optional in August, because after the first band was over, the inside of the Cubby Bear felt like an easy 110 degrees.  During Blownload’s set, the heat became so intolerable I decided I needed to go cool off in the frigid 90 degree weather outside.  I step outside and start pushing buttons on my phone and hear a voice.  “Dude, you have really long hair.”  The guy is standing nearby other concert goers so I assume he’s here for the show. I say, “Yeah, it just keeps growing and growing.”  He follows up, “Yeah, but that is really long hair.”  I’m now a little confused.  He clarifies with, “I mean, what are you?  Evo or Emo or something?”  I now know I’m dealing with an asshole.  I’m definitely bigger than this dude and his friend, and feeling a little pissed off with the situation, decide to come out and say, “Alright, dude, what’s your fucking problem.”  He tells me he doesn’t have a problem, he’s just trying to figure out what it’s all about.  I decide to longer play his game and start gauging his friend to see if he’s an asshole too and if I might be in for a fight.  He looks a little embarrassed by his friend and tells me, “Dude, just leave it alone.”  I’ve reached a fork in the road: one path leads to insults, violence, possible arrest, but also glory, and down the other lies a double-header I’ve been waiting most of my adult-life to see.  I choose the latter, say “fuck it,” and hear this little shithead mutter “faggot” as I walk inside.  I honestly didn’t know people were still threatened by long hair.  Anyway, fuck that guy.

I watch the rest of BlownLoad’s set but am a little distracted with thoughts of face stomping.  Eventually, Thrill Kill Kult take the stage and save the day for me.  I’m probably a bigger fan of a heavier industrial sound, but I have to admit there is no one like TKK.  These guys have a ridiculous amount of swagger.  They manage to seamlessly mix Industrial with genres like Lounge and Disco to give their music a  seedy, fun edge.  Their stage presence is amazing and they are just way too cool.  They hit all the oldies that night and killed it with “Daisy Chain for Satan.” Fuck yeah.

Then onto Lords of Acid.  It is now a million degrees and the skin has melted off my body.  Their dominatrix takes the stage holding a whip, and sets the tone for the evening.  Later, out comes the new frontwoman who does a pretty weak job as their new singer.  Her previous history as a “Rock of Love” candidate probably detracts from the sexual power and confidence a Lords of Acid frontwoman needs to command.  Praga Khan is in excellent form though, as is the rest of the band, and they play the hell out of most of the songs I want to hear.  A fan is brought up on stage and flogged during one of the numbers and a blow up doll is thrown out to the audience and used like a beach ball.  Well done, milords.

The show lets out around 1:30 or so and we stumble over to IO to hang with a friend of ours who is getting out of work and get a chance to cool off for a bit before making the trek back to the south side.  All in all, it was worth going to the Cubby Bear to see this double-header in Chicago.  But guys, lets play a home game next time.

In Praise of Bacchus (and Burlesque)

Scratch another must-see band off the list.  On Oct. 30, Susan and I went to go see Type O for the first time at the Metro.

Type O Negative is like an aphrodisiac to goth girls.  Actually, I find that a good deal of women in general dig Type O.  Their sound is deep and sensual, and Peter Steele’s bass voice is pretty hard to resist, so I guess its no big surprise.  The guys who listen to Type O are an interesting mix however.  You have your mix of old-school Batcavers for whom Type O is on the heavier end of what they like, and your mix of tough biker dudes for whom Type O is their easy listening music.  Most of the dudes I saw at the Metro fell into the latter category, and while I wouldn’t characterize Type O Negative’s music as that heavy, we still saw fights break out and a bouncer drag a big dude down the stairs against his will.

Thankfully, we showed up late enough to miss the opening acts, which we were told weren’t impressive.  Not too long after our arrival, Type O took the stage and got to it.  All in all, I’d say they put on a solid show, despite the crappy acoustics of the Metro.  They had a breeze blowing continuously through the stand-in keyboardist’s hair which looked ridiculous and was a little distracting, but other than that they looked great up there.  They played all the songs I needed to hear: Christian Woman, In Praise of Bacchus, Black No. 1, Love you to death.  Peter Steele was sober enough to perform the whole show without fucking anything up, although it did look like he went through a half bottle of vodka while performing.  That’s cool.  After the show, we met up with some people we knew and headed over to The Exit.

The Exit.  Unfortunately we don’t make it out there as much as I’d like, but it was nice to go again.  Since it was nearing Halloween, we saw a ton of people in costumes.  There was also a burlesque performance going on upstairs by Vaudezilla.  I guess Susan knew one of the girls from Facebook and so we went up to see the show.  The show was great.  Aside from it being normal girls doing some great dance routines, the outfits were cool, the themes were fun, and the music was hot.  Two routines in specific stuck with me.  There was one where the girl started off in a mad scientist costume and performed her act to the song Crazy by Gnarls Barkley.  The other was a fan dance to the song The Mission by Puscifer.  The fan number was probably the best of the evening, very fluid and elegant.  I’d never heard the song before, so I asked the DJ for the name.  Anyway, all the girls were great and we’ll probably be back to see them some other time. Check them out at http://www.vaudezilla.com

Here are some vids by Type O and the song The Mission by Puscifer.



Hau Ruck!

Once upon a time, there was Wax Trax Records!

Wax Trax was a Chicago based, independent record label that was the major producer of post-Industrial music in the late 80s and early 90s.  Wax Trax signed KMFDM, Ministry, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult and others.  Unfortunately, I was too young to experience Chicago during that period of time when the scene was being born and some of my favorite Industrial bands were living and playing in the area.  Around the early 90s, Wax Trax entered bankruptcy and was bought up by TVT records, the label that originally signed Nine Inch Nails.  While the post-Industrial scene reached its zenith in the mid to late 90s and many new bands found fame and fortune, with the death of Wax Trax records, bands like KMFDM and Ministry began relocating elsewhere and we saw less Industrial acts coming out of Chicago.  I don’t know exactly where I’m going with this except to say that I’m proud that some of the forefathers of modern Industrial rock once had their home here in the Windy City.

Kein Mehrheit Fur Die Mitleid.  I love this band.

KMFDM was founded in Germany in 1984 by frontman Sascha Konietzko.  He was later joined by En Esch and Gunter Schultz as well as frequent collaborator Raymond Watts, frontman of the band PIG and sometimes member of KMFDM.  Initial KMFDM music resembled poppy techno more so than their current incarnation, but somewhere along the way, maybe around Naive or Angst, KMFDM was coming into their sound.  Virus, Drug Against War, Light, Godlike.  Around the time of Nihil, the group had already hit its stride and many fledgling industrial acts were being influenced by their direction.

By the time I had discovered KMFDM, they were on the verge of splitting up.  They put out their Symbols album and a little while later said, “Adios,” and went their separate ways.  While En Esch and Gunter Schultz left to form the band Slick Idiot, Sascha formed MDFMK with some other musicians to experiment with a different style.  Eventually MDFMK split and KMFDM was reborn.  Sascha remained and the new members included some former members of the band PIG and Lucia Cifarelli.

Since the band reformed, I’ve seen KMFDM play a few times and I think they’re in better shape than ever.  It seemed to take the new members a little while to gel properly, but Hau Ruck may be my favorite album of theirs with the exception of Nihil.  They’ve also put out some solid songs on Tohuvabohu and Blitz.  I saw them for the third time at the House of Blues on October 4th and all the elements were together.

Lucia and Sascha were both belting out their vocals from their respective podiums, effectively commanding the audience.  They hit some of the classics, playing Light, Godlike, Megalomaniac, and Drug Against War, but probably played more of their newer stuff which neither the crowd nor I seemed to mind.  They did two encores (by the way, how can you not love a band who made an song poking fun at themselves titled, “SUCKS,” and do encores when the whole crowd chants “KMFDM SUCKS!”).  These guys are still one of the hardest working bands out there and continue to put out great music.

Keep it coming KMFDM, More and Faster.

Good Wholesome Fun With Bondage

Holy fucking shit!

I suppose this story really begins a couple years back.  A young, starry eyed Ben Alton was looking to find himself a nice leather trench coat and some combat boots to go stomping around in over at Neo and some upcoming concerts.  Anyhow, I went looking over at The Alley but found mostly crappy overpriced merchandise that looked like it would fall apart if I looked at it too hard.  So Susan volunteered a different place that she’d passed driving to work.  It was called Mephisto, and supposedly a “leather store.”  So we decided to give it a shot since it wasn’t too far away from us.  Upon entering the store I immediately knew what I’d walked into.  I saw my combat boots (an excellent pair by the way) next to an array of ass-less chaps, ball gags, whips, and the like.

The woman who ran the shop was very helpful.  She had me pretty much pegged right away, figuring I was a dude who was looking for some gear to go stomping around at a show and did her best to make us comfortable.  She helped me pick a great Australian duster that I ultimately opted for instead of a leather coat.  However, I left my wallet at home so had to drive back to get it while Susan stayed to hold my jacket while I was gone.  She talked with the lady for a bit and found that they make all their own leather (good stuff too) and have a bondage troupe that performs around Chicago.  I came back with my wallet, and paid for my boots and coat next to a multi-colored display of cock rings.  Anyhow, we’ve recommended Mephisto to a few people looking for leather as the quality is good and the staff is great, but we hadn’t been back since and I’d almost forgotten about the place until recently.

Fast forward to 2009.  I’ve been dying to get Fabrice to the Doubledoor while he’s still in Chicago as it remains one of my all time favorite venues.  Unfortunately a whole lot of crap seemed to be playing between now and when he went home.  Last minute though, we see a supposed “Industrial/Electronica/Black Metal” act called Defcon is going to be playing, so Fabrice suggested we go.  Now a quick note about Defcon, listening to their Myspace I was not really that impressed aside from the first song.  However, they really brought it to the Doubledoor, and sounded great.

Nothing really prepared me for the show by SS-TripleX.  As I had originally understood it, they were a female bondage fashion group, and I what I saw at first fit with my expectations.  They got on stage and modeled an array of bondage/industrial outfits including full leather suits and gas masks.  However, after they had gone on and done the whole catwalk deal, things got really different.  They start this campy silent skit to music, with two girls in latex dresses sitting on stools at a table , having a picnic and drinking champagne while acting sickly sweet to each other.  After being playful for a little while, three other girls come on in leather wearing gas masks and holding a sign for the troupe behind the skit.  The music starts getting dark and heavy.  The picnic girls keep doing their scene ignorant of the post-apocalyptic scene behind them until apocalypse leather girl #2 comes over and pretends to administer ether to both picnic girls to knock them out.  She then fixes some drink, wakes each  of the picnic girls up and has them drink it.

Then it really gets dark.  The music changes to a new heavy beat, and the apocalypse leather girls strip the top off the one picnic girl at the table, then face her naked back toward the audience while she leans on the table.  Two of the leather girls move back and forth in a mechanized fashion to this medical tray retrieving needles, then piercing skin on either side of the topless girl’s spine all the way down her back.  After a moment when it’s all complete, they repeat the process removing each needle.  A little blood starts coming from the piercings which each apocalypse girl collects in a champagne glass and drinks.  The picnic girl who was pierced then takes the fake gun from one of the leather girls and shoots one of the girls in the head, then does the same to the other girl.  She gives the gun to the third leather girl to shoot herself in the head, then sits down to finish her picnic.

Whoa.  The whole show was mesmerizing in a disturbing way, as I’d never seen a performance like it before.  The DJ was awesome too, adding some real dark industrial sounds to the performance.  Anyhow they had another skit later in the evening which was also shocking and weird but I’d recommend checking it out rather than having me describe it.  Anyhow, I thought I recognized the lady who was managing the girls and sure enough she was the lady from Mephisto who sold me my boots and coat.  She told me the name has changed now to Leather 6410, but they’re still doing their thing over there, so if you need some combat boots or a pair of ass-less chaps, give them a try.

The Cave

I’ve found a new venue.

I went to see Kapsalis on the first Friday of June at the Serbian Cultural Center.  Now, having been to the German cultural center in Lincoln Square, I kinda expected to see a similar deal: big building, classroom atmosphere on certain levels, maybe a laid back social area.  Don’t get me wrong, I like the German cultural center.   Every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month, the Red Lion diaspora meets there to stay in touch and enjoy some good beer and company in a big social area with an outside deck that has a good view of the city.  However, I would not have imagined the German cultural center to be a decent choice for a musical venue and had similar concerns about the Serbian Cultural Center.

Finding this place is a real trip.  It’s at 448 W Barry, and after we park we find ourselves walking down a very residential looking street and starting to think we have the wrong address.  Eventually, the numbers get closer to our target and our hopes of a cool venue start to disintegrate as we close in on 448 W Barry which looks to be a very large, very drab house.  The windows are all dark and I hear absolutely nothing from inside.  I’m now pretty much positive we have our information wrong but decide to ring the doorbell anyway.  No answer.  I ring it again, and we hear noises shuffling towards the door.  Someone seems to fumble with the lock and then walk away.

Susan at this point feels like we should go, but I decide to persist and ring the doorbell a few more times.  Nothing happens.  I go around the side of the house and peer into the basement window and see a bar, some rock-like walls and people talking.  Suddenly we hear a voice yelling for us to come around back and we do, then go down some stairs into “The Cave.”  Now this would be a cool location even if it wasn’t hidden away like a little secret.  The booths seem sunken into the walls and are made to look like rock.  The bar is relatively unimpressive, but the view of the stage is good from the booths and the ceiling isn’t too high so the sound carries quite well across the room.

Black Bear Combo played first.  We saw them a while back and were fairly impressed.  They are a gypsy brass band, and create a lot of energy.  We shared a table with some people who traveled from out of state to see their relative play in Black Bear.  Next, Kapsalis Trio came on and were their normal brilliant selves.  It was fun watching the people at the table become visibly impressed with Andreas’s guitar playing over the course of the show.  The only gripe I guess I had was that there weren’t enough people.  Normally that isn’t the problem at one of his shows and it was good to have such a clear view of the stage, but it did seem like a bit of wasted talent to have all that quality music played and such a small crowd to hear it.

Then again, I probably should be careful for what I wish for.  For people like me, the Cave is probably better as is, a hidden little gem on a residential street in Chicago.

Of Black Metal and Ben

A course of events began on my birthday that led to a crash course in extreme metal.  At the Exit, somewhere between fairly wasted and irresponsibly plastered, I met and talked with someone from France here on work-study who happened to be celebrating his birthday as well.  His name is Fabrice, and he is passionately interested in all things metal.  We talked for a bit about music and metal and a little about France, but my point of reference on extreme metal is fairly poor since I’d always kinda held death metal to be music for people who were tone deaf and extremely pissed off about it.

Now while I still hold that to be true in a good number of cases, I’ve branched out a bit since then and given a few Death metal bands a chance, notably Yakuza (chicago based death metal band with a sax) and Opeth (progressive death metal).  I actually liked Opeth enough to see them at the House of Blues with progressive black metal act Enslaved.  Since then I met up again with Fabrice over at Hopleaf, (we exchanged emails on our birthdays, which I barely remembered until I received an email) and I heard him talk more about Black Metal.  Susan always had more experience with that brand of music so she had more to talk about.  At the end of the evening he’d given us a list of some black metal acts to check out.

I started with Belphegor, an Austrian blackened death metal band.  While this brand of music is kinda an acquired taste, at least for people like me, I did find myself liking it.  It’s abrasive but the guitars still produced a melody I could get interested in.  In black metal or death metal the voice tends to be more ambient than a real instrument.  In the case of Belphegor the lead singer manages to produce an excellent mix of death metal growls and black metal rasps and the band makes some music that gives off a seriously evil vibe.  Following Belphegor I started to listen to a few others like Gorgoroth and Behemoth.  The bands I do end up liking seem to have at least some progressive or industrial leanings, but it is still a significant stretch for me.

The biggest problem with me and black metal is an ideological problem.  Other than the fact that a pre-requisite to be a black metal band seems to require you to either be an atheistic Satanist in the Anton Lavey vein or a theistic Satanist in the “I believe in Christianity, but decide to pick the side with the lake of fire and torture pits” vein, a goodly chunk of the famous black metal icons seem to be criminal, mentally ill, or sociopathic.  As someone who was kinda bred on Electro-Industrial and Industrial metal in high school, I’m familiar with angry music and violent imagery, but the difference is that while many Industrial bands utilize violent or intidating  imagery and dress , most are pacifistic in practice.   In contrast, the philosophy of black metal is much more closely tied to the practice of black metal.  Some of the big names of black metal have a history that boggles the mind.

Lets kick it off with Mayhem, one of the first and biggest names in Black Metal.  The original lead singer, “Dead”, kept a dead crow in a bag which he’d smell before going on stage in order to “have the stench of death in his nostrils.”  He would injure himself on stage and throw animal heads into the crowd.  This is a man who would bury his clothes in the ground and dig them up before the show so he’d smell of the grave.  Or at least he would do that until he was 22, at which point he would shoot himself in the head with a shotgun after penning a suicide note containing the words, “Please excuse all the blood.”  Now this would be bizarre enough even if the band hadn’t taken a picture of him after finding the body and made that one of their album covers, which they did.  Or collected pieces of the singers skull to give out to musicians they respected, which they also did.  Even if you could bring yourself to accept all that, you probably wouldn’t believe that the guitarist of that same band would be stabbed 23 times to death in his home by Varg Vikernes, another black metal musician who happened to be the guest guitarist on their breakthrough album.  This combination of events resulted in an album being released that contained the musical work of both murderer and victim on the same album, and it was released post-homicide.

And it goes on…. The drummer from black metal band Emperor stabbed a homosexual man to death in a park after he made sexual advances on him.  After which, he went to burn down churches with Varg Vikernes, the man who stabbed to death the aforementioned guitarist of Mayhem.  Varg was convicted for murder and burning down several old historical churches in Norway in 1994 and sentenced to 21 years in prison.  And if you are looking for more recent fuckedupedness, in 2006 the lead singer from Gorgoroth was found guilty and sentenced to 9 months in prison for assaulting and torturing someone in his living room who crashed his afterparty.

Weird, creepy stuff.  Well, history lesson aside, we went a little bit ago to Empty Bottle.  It’s a really cool little venue in Ukranian village.  You can hear some good indie rock and metal over there.  The beer is fairly cheap, the music is solid, and the atmosphere is gritty old school Chicago.  We wanted to show Fabrice a good Chicago venue, and I found this show with SkeletonWitch ( a black/thrash metal band from Ohio).  The musicians of Skeletonwitch and the other bands we saw that night don’t fall into the criminal/sociopath bracket I described above.  The night kicked off with a doom/death metal band called Black September who had a female vocalist that did a hell of a job belting out some seriously intimidating screams and growls.  Also interestingly enough, I know her and the guitarist from college.  Both were friends of my roommate, so I enjoyed listening to them and shot the shit with them after their set.  Raise the Red Lantern was mediocre at best.  Skeletonwitch, however, was fun.  They seemed to not really take themselves too seriously, which was cool.  A good deal of their songs had introductions to the effect of: “This is a song about when you’ve kicked all the ass there is to kick and now you are standing on ‘THE BODIES OF THE DEFEATED'” or “This is a song about when you use a black magic spell to summon a horde of zombies and make them KILL FOR YOU.”  I expected a little more out of the moshpit.  It was really mainly me and Fabrice sticking it out.  Most everyone else seemed content to simply watch the show and nod their head.  Anyhow, while Skeletonwitch may not really be my cup of tea, they put on a great show and I had a great time seeing them at Empty Bottle.

Here’s a little black metal sampler.  During my foray into some different black metal bands I’ve come across the inescapable conclusion that Mayhem’s music just sucks.  Sorry, diehard Mayhem fans, but its true.  Anyhow, for posterity they will be included.

Farewell Nine Inch Nails

Trent Reznor, you owe me no more.

Last time I saw NIN was at Lollapalooza and I was honestly pretty disappointed in terms of the song selection and the performance.  However, they completely made up for it at their June 1st show in Chicago.  They played a “best of” set that included: Piggy, March of the Pigs, Wish, Mr. Self Destruct, Head Like a Hole, The Day the Whole World Went Away, Burn, The Hand That Feeds, and Hurt.  The energy was there, he nailed every song and the venue was perfect.

Charter One Pavillion was new for me.  It’s an large outdoor venue near soldier field.  It has a festival kind of atmosphere, with several food tents near the outskirts of the main stage area.  The floor has plenty of room for a large outdoor crowd.  The crowd seemed a little timid toward the start, and I could see only a few moshpits break out off in the distance.  Towards mid show however, pits started breaking out all over the place and Susan and I started heading towards them.

I slam around in one of the pits for a while with a few bruisers and then bounce out a little closer to the stage behind this twitching little asshole.  Susan and I stand our ground for a while just trying to watch the show, but this little fucker seems to be having a controlled seizure to the music.  Susan gets hit by his flailing elbow a couple of times and eventually decides she’s gonna stand behind me rather than be within arms reach of this little dickhead.  I keep my forearm braced in front of me to bounce this jerk off of me whenever he gets too close, and start getting distracted from the show.  Soon this other chick comes around us and gets accidentally slammed into by him.  She bitches at him to get his ass in the moshpit if he wants to fuck around.  I concur.  He tries to ignore her yelling at him and calms down for a minute.  Next song however finds him again in crazy flailing dance mode and so I grab him by the waist and throw him in the moshpit.  A couple of dudes collide with him before he makes a mad dash to break the ring and rejoin his friend.  Oh well, I suppose it was still worth it.

All in all, a great show.  I had a blast listening to all my NIN favorite songs and although I’ll miss em it was a fine note to go out on.  At least until the reunion tour….

Accept Combichrist into your hearts

This shit will fuck you up.  Seeing this show almost made up for wasting my money on that garbage Sisters of Mercy concert a while back.  Although, one of the opening bands did play a really shitty version of “Lucretia, my reflection.”  And the very first opening band sounded like they came straight out of my high-school talent show.  “If you guys don’t start moshing to this song, I’m gonna have to come down there and start it myself!”  Surprisingly, when no one moshed, he stayed onstage playing his shitty rendition of “March of the Pigs,” watching a thoroughly unmoved audience.

Anyhow, if you’re into electro-industrial music and Combichrist comes by your town, check them out.  They have great stage presence and their fans really get into the music.  I hopped in and out of the pit for a while and had a phenomenal time.  At times I did think the House of Blues floor was gonna break through since I could feel it bending and creaking with the force of a bunch of rivetheads bouncing up and down and slamming into each other, but ultimately the floor held and I had a blast.  My friend ended up talking me into picking up MSI tickets for March 20th, so we’ll be back before too long .  If that show is as solid as this one was, it will have been money well spent.

Temple of Suck

The Sisters of Mercy show at the House of Blues on Monday was a steaming pile of disappointment.  I like the band, they were goth-rock pioneers (loathe as they are to associate themselves with the word goth), and have made some pretty cool moody, brooding music.  But ultimately I think next time I’ll put on a cd in the comfort of my own home as it would be far more enjoyable than paying $35 a ticket to watch sea of dry ice bang out some cheap imitations of their original sound.  Seriously guys, lay off the fog machine.  Its not ambient, it looks like a cloud is eating you alive. 

 For those who aren’t familiar with the Sisters of Mercy, here’s a little backstory.  The Sisters of Mercy were formed around 1980 and came slightly after some of the other forerunners of the Goth rock/post-punk movement like Joy Division(more of a post-punk band), Bauhaus, Siouxie and the Banshees, and The Cure.  The Sisters of Mercy were more of a gothic rock staple than a forerunner, but they’ve made some great music and helped to give the genre an identity.

However, the lead singer Andrew Eldritch is apparently such an asshole to work with, the band has already rotated out 9 members or so, all leaving citing irreconcilable differences with Eldritch.  The new guitarists do not seem to be true to the sound of the band, and Eldritch is obviously so self conscious about his age that he needs to hide in an obscene amount of fog in order to perform a show.  For most of the songs with the exception of Mother Russia/Dominion I would have been better served to listen to at home.

So Andrew, until you deal with the fact that you’re losing your hair and lay off the fog machine, and until you beg some of the old members of Sisters of Mercy to rejoin you on tour, I think I’ll be skipping your next concert.

My Life with The Thrill Kill Kult – Metro, Chicago

I find myself enjoying this band more and more.

My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult occupies a unique space in music.  They are one of the forefathers of the Post-Industrial genre along with a few others like KMFDM and Ministry.  But uniquely among most industrial bands, their music brings to mind a seedy, slightly aggressive version of gothic funk or disco.  And it’s awesome.

TKK seems to love all things camp and have a blast doing what they do best.  They loop old go-go dancer videos and horror movie clips to serve as a backdrop for the show.  During the show, they manage to get the crowd dancing, grooving, and occasionally moshing for some of their heavier numbers.

While at the Metro, I ended up helping the crew film one of the opening acts, The Last Vegas.  Their sound is reminiscent of glam rock, but they had a really solid stage presence and made it work.  Anyway, the camera guy was delayed en route, and a guy I knew from high school approached me to cover until he got there.  My assigned duty, should I choose to accept it, was to make sure everyone stayed away from the camera and didn’t mess up the shot until help arrived.  Oh yeah, and I get a beer out of the deal, and a heavy flashlight to harass people with.  Alright, I’m in.  So I take the job of guarding the camera, and luckily don’t screw it up.  The camera guy shows up later and my girlfriend instantly recognizes him as an old childhood friend.  It’s small world after all.

TKK hit the stage around 11 PM, a little later than I expected but they put on a solid show and performed all the songs I wanted to hear.  I think they had a guest appearance by one of the old members of the band, although I didn’t quite recognize her.  I got sucked into the mosh pit once or twice, but it wasn’t too bad as Thrill Kill Kult typically doesn’t attract the kind of bruisers you might encounter at say, a Slayer show.  People were dancing in the pit during the less aggressive numbers when they weren’t slamming into each other which, in case you’re unfamiliar with mosh pits, is a little unusual.  Anyway, the crowd seemed to be energized and having a great time, which is pretty typical for a Thrill Kill Kult show.

After the show we headed down to Neo to meet up with someone from work.  While there, I also happened to randomly run into some people I knew from the suburbs.  It’s a small, small world.  TKK was supposed to have their afterparty there, but I never ran into them because we had to take off before 3 AM.  Oh well, maybe next time around.  If you have the chance, check them out next time they tour.  They’re a little perverted, a little dark, and a lot of fun.  Here’s a video of one of their newer and funkier songs, “TV Sista”, a live performance of “Cuz its Hot”, and this post wouldn’t be complete without a daisy chain for Satan.  Enjoy.