“Are you the Hard Rock Chick?” I hear as I’m being searched by security. I say yes, and he tells me that I wrote a review of his band. I don’t immediately recognize him, so I’m trying to think if it was a bad review….and I ask which band and it turns out he’s the drummer for Kowloon Walled City! Great local band.
I walk in and immediately see PhotoRay being a wallflower, so I join him. The crowd is small, and opener Legion Within was onstage. There’s a guy singing and dancing around looking like a goth version of Prince Humperdink. They looked bored. The crowd looks bored. Well, except this one guy at the rail, who might actually know the music as he’s the only one bobbing his head. But then he yawns. I could tell PhotoRay was not digging it, but I tried giving them the benefit of the doubt. It was not good. The singer was trying to channel Peter Murphy and it was not turning out well.
Next up was Angelspit, from Australia. I’d heard they were quite a spectacle, and there was a space on the rail just sitting there, so I took it without knowing any of their music. I really wanted to like them. The male and female duo put a lot of effort into their appearance- she’s in skimpy goth fetish wear, he’s a cyberpunk with hair that defies reality and looks like a human version of Shadow the Hedgehog. They sing very monotone over bloops and bleeps. They have two giant X’s lit up at the back of the stage and each have a battery of 5 dance moves that they do in repetition. It felt very robotic. I thought they had a weird energy about them, and judging by the crowd next to me, it was not being received all that well. I kept thinking that it might be a better set to experience from the back of the room, where the crowd energy would factor into it more; or on drugs. But then I remembered that I go to shows because I want the music to make me feel like I’m on drugs, not take drugs to feel the music. I spent the rest of the set staring at the female’s garter encased thighs with the rest of the men in the room, wondering what her diet and exercise routine is. After the set, the man walked by me in front of the barrier with his equipment, and I had to really restrain myself from reaching out and trying to touch his ‘hair’.
The KMDFM set started out with a big, “oh hell no” from me. I usually research who is standing where on stage so I can stand in front of my favorite member….but I am a little behind on all that and it completely slipped my mind that Steve White plays guitar for them. Actually, I was too busy wishing that Tim Skold would be playing. So when White walks out right in front of me I was none too pleased….I already had to see him earlier this year in 16volt. He seems like a fine guitarist, I just don’t like his aesthetic. And I’m there to see the band, not just hear it…so it bugs me. Trucker hat + Oakley type sunglasses + keys hanging + sneakers…..nononononono. Call me superficial, I can take it.
Once I got over that, I settled into the set. There was a severe lack of energy and crowd connection at first, but about halfway through the main set, things picked up. Lucia and Jules were the most fun to watch….Sascha is pretty stiff, but that’s how he’s supposed to be. He kept reminding me of Maynard James Keenan in a way. The people at the front remained really mellow, but I realized there was a huge pit- more a dance pit than a mosh pit- that took up the entire center of the room.
This tour represents 25 years of KMFDM. I’ve listened to them off and on for the past 10 years or so, and there are some songs that really do it for me, and others that really don’t. Unfortunately, it tends to be the ones that really don’t that will keep me from getting into a band. But things change in a live setting, especially for me, and I did find feeling the beats slamming into the guitar riffs live to be quite enjoyable.
By the end of the set, I felt a bit more like I understood why some people are really into this band. But for the most part, I think I’ll file this show under, “I missed their glory days but caught them once on their way out”.