Sunday, 3 July 2011

Live review: COMBICHRIST (with AESTHETIC PERFECTION, MORTIIS and METHOD CELL) @ Nottingham Rock City

Rock City gets some fantastic bills stomping its boards, and as modern Industrial goes, this one’s pretty damn strong. Four bands, including three huge names and one local treasure that are sure to have garnered a lot of new fans after this show. While Rock City was never in danger of being anywhere near full, there was a good turnout of varied people ready for a night of stomping. I’m a bit out of the loop with my Industrial, so please excuse the lack of band members’ names.

METHOD CELL

First up are Nottingham’s own Method Cell, the two-piece ‘Synthcore’ act that are gathering experience and fans by the bucketload in recent times. Their all-too-brief set (a mere four songs, unless I’m mistaken) was a delight to behold, with traditional synthpop foundations supercharged by EBM and harder Industrial overtones making each song seem more powerful than the last.

They have a great future ahead of them thanks to what Alex does behind his keyboards and what Apollos does behind the mic, and while a little work is needed in terms of stage presence, Method Cell are possibly one of the most interesting and exciting electronic acts the scene has to offer right now. (8.5/10)

AESTHETIC PERFECTION

Getting a huge roar of appreciation from the crowd the moment the three-piece act strode onstage, Aesthetic Perfection were onto a winner tonight. With a well-balanced set of old and new material, their mix of harsh vocals, live drums and trad EBM electronics was perfectly aided by an energetic performance from all three members. The momentum of the evening begun by Method Cell started to pay off during AP, with a large portion of the audience starting to dance and move.

Sadly, it was during AP’s set that the arsehole in the white t-shirt and black cap kicked off a circle pit with a bunch of people who had clearly heard none of the bands before, which led to a number of people dancing and trying to watch the band getting shoved and hit. It’s not big and it’s not clever, you idiotic little man. Back to Aesthetic Perfection though- they played a fantastic set, and many people there were entertained by the hyperactive antics of the keyboardist, who looked like he was constantly trying to either kill or impregnate his synth. Good stuff. (9/10)

MORTIIS

The third act of the evening was former Black Metal celeb-turned Goblin- turned crusty Joker cosplayer Mortiis. With the whole band done up like big goth mummies, Mortiis proceeded to play a set of songs that completely blew the night’s atmosphere apart. The material liberally pilfers from Ministry, Warrior Soul and NIN circa 1992, and at one point I couldn’t help but start singing Ministry’s ‘Just One Fix’ over whichever track Mortiis had nicked the chorus riff for.

Speaking of riffs, with two guitarists onstage, I could barely hear either of them through a muddy mix that didn’t help matters much (neither did the constant bitching at the crowd). It’s not the first time I’ve seen Mortiis live, but I really hope it’s the last. About a third of the audience seemed to agree with me and headed to the bar or outside while the set played out. A shame. (5/10)

COMBICHRIST

Headliners and modern scene darlings Combichrist had their work cut out for them getting the atmosphere back after the woeful set from Mortiis, but they put on a suitably stompy show. With two drummers, a giant synth player, a Mansonized guitarist and the inimitable Andy LaPlegua on vocals, the band are highly mobile onstage and know exactly how to get a crowd moving. One drummer appeared to have kit issues halfway through the set and again later, both instances ending up with pieces of kit being smashed and thrown across the stage. It may have been anger at a technical fault, but it made for good entertainment!

Andy kept up with the demands of his vocals really well, and through tracks like ‘Get Your Body Beat’, ‘Today I Woke to a Rain of Blood’, ‘Fuck That Shit’ and right up to closer ‘What The Fuck Is Wrong With You?’ they kept a sizeable portion of the crowd moving. Unfortunately, as is the case with some sections of Industrial music, after a point every song sounded much like the last, which ended up making Combichrist’s set seem to go on longer than it actually did.

It was great to hear some dancefloor favourites played with such violence onstage, and it was an enjoyable gig, but four bands seemed to have taken it out of us a bit too much tonight. A better scenario would have been no Mortiis, and a longer set for Method Cell, but hey, it was still fantastic to see an Industrial gig bring in such a crowd. (7/10)

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