After the set times were posted on the Facebook event page, I hustled down to Trees at 7:30pm. I don’t think I missed much, but En Esch (ex-KMFDM, Pigface, Slick Idiot, <PIG>) was already on stage. Trees was still filling up and I was a little miffed he wasn’t playing to a larger crowd. However, despite it being a Monday night and an early set time, fans quickly filed into the venue. Playing songs from his latest album, Trash Chic, and a few KMFDM classics, he and his band were at full tilt even if the crowd was a bit sparse at the beginning of his set. Backed by a keyboardist/sampler/sequencer dude, a drummer standing behind an electronic kit, and singer Erica Dilanjian (Lady E & the Black Light), En Esch put it all out there during his short set. Tall and intimidating, he was determined to get the crowd moving. Songs from his solo albums, like “Do Me” and “Live and Let Live,” retain the familiar industrial-dance sound, but also come off as surprisingly fresh. But, the crowd really got going during KMFDM’s “Juke Joint Jezabel.” They sang along, danced, and fed off the bands energy. The only disappointment was that the set wasn’t longer.
A little after 8pm, Christian Death took the stage. Unfamiliar with their material, but knowing that some of my friends were fans, I was genuinely interested in checking them out. When they played three straight mid-tempo numbers, I wondered how they got on this touring package. Following En Esch’s performance it seemed like a step in the wrong direction. But, honestly I just didn’t like them at all. The bass player was a better singer than the guitar player, but he handled most of the vocal duties. I couldn’t make out anything he was saying. What’s worse, when they finally picked up the tempo for a punky little number, I was cold-cocked with the most atonal “harmonizing” imaginable. Maybe someone’s monitor was out? I don’t know. But, it was terrible. The moment I finally gave up on their set was when the singer introduced the song “Illuminazi,” and had the nerve to tell the crowd, “It’s a play on words. Illuminati and Nazi.” Do you think I am a complete idiot? They were awful. To be sure I wasn’t crazy, I took a few moments to scan the crowd to gauge their reaction. While they did get a decent applause between songs, even when the singer had to coax it out of them, during the songs there were very few people engaged. Most of them looked bored or were focused on their phones.
Fortunately, Combichrist took the stage and almost instantly made the crowd forget they had to endure Christian Death. Again, only familiar with a few of their songs, I had heard nothing but good things about their live show and they didn’t disappoint. High energy, heavy – yet danceable, they put on a powerful performance. Now, I must admit that I found myself mesmerized by their drummer Joe Letz. Dressed in drag and wearing some kind of weird mask, he played his drums like an absolute maniac. The Combichrist drum tech is no doubt among the hardest working out there. In fact, he was on stage most of the time as Letz frequently knocked over his floor tom, tossed his sticks around, and acted like a total deviant. But, the main point is: he’s a really good drummer. In spite of all of his antics, he never missed a beat. Combichrist is a killer live band who I’d like to see again, if only to take in what the other members of the band were doing. Certainly, frontman Andy LaPlegua has a stage presence that can’t be overlooked and he had the crowd loving every minute.
When the Lords of Acid took the stage, the night felt as much like a weekend night as Monday night possibly could. It was an instant party. The crowd danced like crazy and the atmosphere was joyous. Indeed, the Lords let their fans embrace their inner degenerates. Though they were on their phones a few times, I found myself standing next to two gorgeous young women dressed in pleather dominatrix outfits. One with a flesh-colored dildo protruding from her crotch. I had to laugh. Not at them, but because it was just awesome.
The bands performance was flawless. Each song was more fun, more intense, and more invigorating than the last. And the band seemed to be having as much fun as the crowd. They danced, gyrated, and soaked in the crowds enthusiasm. It was one of those shows where the band and the audience were together every step of the way. The majority of their set was comprised of songs from their 1994 album Voodoo-U, though they sprinkled in some tracks from their debut album Lust and 1997’s Our Little Secret. But, I had the distinct impression that it didn’t matter what songs they played, it would’ve been great. They had one objective: put on a great show. And that’s exactly what they did.
For me, Christian Death seems out of place on this lineup. Nevertheless, I had a great time at this show and highly recommend it if you can catch them before their tour ends. When it was over, the crowd left with disheveled hair and post-coital smiles on their faces. It was likely the most fun a Monday evening anyone had in a very long time.
– J. Kevin Lynch
Lords of Acid, Combichrist, Christian Death, and En Esch Tour Dates
October 17: Houston, TX Scout Bar
October 18: Austin, TX Elysium
October 20: St. Petersburg, FL The State Theatre
October 21: W. Palm Beach, FL Respectable Street
October 22: Jacksonville, FL Maverick’s Live
October 23: Atlanta, GA The Masquerade
October 25: Baltimore, MD Soundstage
October 26: New York, NY Gramercy Theater
October 27: Philadelphia, PA Trocadero
October 30: Toronto, ON Opera House
October 31: Chicago, IL Bottom Lounge
November 1: Indianapolis, IN The Vogue
November 4: Albuquerque, NM Sunshine Theater