Industrial Theater: Skinny Puppy, VVerevvolf Grehv, EUSTACHIAN @ The Regency Ballroom, 11/1/09

This was the perfect ending to Halloween weekend. What started with black metal in a dive bar, and climaxed with Rob Zombie on Halloween, was tied up neatly with Skinny Puppy.

I literally woke up in LA, drove straight home, typed up my review, and hopped back in the car to go to the show. I was in a weird mood- part of it personal, most of it because I’ve been going nonstop. I walked in and EUSTACHIAN is on stage. A one man band, he moves back and forth between a laptop and a drum set. It was pretty out there- I would describe it as tweaker death metal. The guy was super into it, but I think the rest of us were scratching our heads. It almost made me uncomfortable. Then his hype man comes out and showers the crowd with CDs, which is kinda dangerous and made me think of this.

After the set I look at my phone and am informed via text message from my friends that Ogre had just passed right behind me to go to the bar and get a drink. mslgaerjahnkladnhopajhoj *dies*.

Next was an interesting set- VVerevvolf Grehv Dapose from The Faint’s side project. I was interested to see how he would pull this electronic death metal off live, and also it was just interesting to see him outside of The Faint since I’ve seen them so much over the years. While the set showed off Dapose’s shredding skills, it wasn’t quite dynamic enough to involve the crowd. Also, compared to his presence in The Faint, he seemed almost timid. It also ended kind of oddly- he put down his guitar and people came out on stage while laptop music was still playing, and then he turned around and waved and said ‘thanks’.

Last time I saw Nivek Ogre was with his solo project, OhGr, last year at Slim’s. It was an amazing show. I also went against critics and loved Repo! The Genetic Opera. He’s a true performance artist, and I was excited to see what costumes he would bring to the stage this evening.

cEvin Key and the drummer come out first, and then I can see something that looks part mummy, part hospital gown, with a large white dunce cap emerge from the back of the stage. With a walker, Ogre slowly hobbles out to the stage, his face completely masked in grotesque, melted rubbery skin. I shake my head for some reason, probably in disbelief from it’s awesomeness. Ogre just takes things a step further than everyone else.

sp

His costumes are punishing and seemingly performance prohibitive, but he never loses his focus that he’s there to sing. He also never steps out of character, as he morphs from one on stage costume change to the next, likes he’s molting. The hat comes off and he’s down to the mask- but his eyes are covered in black mesh, and you can occasionally catch a sparkle of his eyes when the light hits it. At one point, he pulls off the bandages from his hands, and the crowd actually cheers- other than that the only real skin of his that was exposed were his armpits.

I do feel sorry for his assistants / techs – they have the hardest job of any besides perhaps the GWAR slaves, and Ogre definitely had a few choices gestures at them when transitions didn’t go smoothly. But the tour just started so they are probably still working out the kinks.

The security guards often turned around to stare at the spectacle…I don’t think they got it.

It is very interesting to see this immediately after a Rob Zombie show….both so similar yet so different. SP’s industrial beats entranced the crowd, as did the lights that projected across Ogre’s white costume. It was sensory overload in much more of a trippy way than Zombie, which is flashy and over the top in an indulgent sense.

The setlist was great- mostly a greatest hits list, with some songs that hadn’t been played live since the early ’90s. The newer songs fell comfortably in place. My favorite SP song was not played (Rash Reflection), but I kind of figured that would happen.

Since I was standing on the side I couldn’t see all that Ogre was doing in the cage that he used for a lot of his costume changes. But I did get to watch the crowd, which is always fun. The back may have been going off- I saw a lot of sweaty guys when I went to leave- but the front row were truly watching the show as if it were a play. Their eyes were saucer like, taking it all in.

The dunce cap went back on towards the end of the main set, only this time smoke came out of the top of it. For the encore, he came out sans mask with only smudges on his face. He’s a pretty man; I love the costumes but he really doesn’t need to be covered up.

I don’t think they ever spoke a word to the crowd. It was truly theater, and the only kind I care to go to.

See Photo Ray’s excellent pics of the show.

Setlist from the Pomona show (probably some differences):
Love In Vein
Hatekill
Addiction
Dogshit
Deadlines
Politikil
Pedafly
Rodent
Tormentor
Pro-Test
Morpheus Laughing
Ugli
Assimilate
Worlock

Some youtube clips (not mine)

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