“Forty Bloody Years” was how it read on the ad for Nitzer Ebb’s forty-year retrospective tour. How time flies. I still remember seeing the video for Control, I’m Here for the first time on MTV’s 120 Minutes and thinking that I have seen the future. Well, the future has come and gone and here we are, four decades later.
The Music Box itself is a somewhat upscale venue; with two balconies overlooking the main dance floor and stage. Video monitors on each level allow for ease of viewing the onstage activity, which is helpful in a space where it’s easy to find yourself too far from the railing to see much of anything.
There were interesting goings-on all around upon entering the venue. For starters, there were the fetish-themed go-go dancers in cages right on the dance floor, as well as the BDSM cosplay performances throughout the night.
The first musical act of the night was NYC’s Normal Bias. This duo offered a tasty buffet of catchy and danceable electronic tunes and was well-received by the crowd. And while they were a palatable opening act, my own impression from the set tells me that the best work of Normal Bias is still ahead of them.
San Diego’s own MATTE BLVCK was next, with an energetic set that was also the only performance of the night to include any non-keyboard based instruments. Members would switch off from electronics, guitar, bass and percussion throughout the set. I personally liked the slower jams that got my foot tapping and were swaying the crowd into dance mode.
Finally, what we’ve all been waiting for… Nitzer Ebb hit the ground running, opening the show with their iconic Control, I’m Here. But something was different this time. Not just because the lineup was simplified to just Bon Harris and Douglas McCarthy, as opposed to the three or four person lineup of shows past. What also made the show unique was the change of arrangement of recognizable classics. The whole performance was a power medley of remixes; an interesting way to breathe fresh life into old favorites and keep the energy level consistent throughout the show; although I felt the energy level was diminished for not having a live drummer this time around.
Douglas McCarthy stalked the stage as he belting out crowd favorites. He seemed to move gingerly about the stage as one banger after another flowed without break or interruption. Bon Harris kept the crowd fired up as he played a little bit of everything from percussion to vocals.
I moved around a few times, trying to find the best vantage point to watch the show. I eventually ended up on the second balcony. And while I still couldn’t see the stage, the video monitors were doing their job. Besides, the second balcony had its own vibe. Since hardly anyone else could see the stage either, most folks on the balcony just rolled with it and the balcony became a separate dance party of its own.
With a one-song encoré, Nitzer Ebb was done. Everyone was appropriately sweaty and danced out by this point, but the party vibe continued out to the street as folks filtered out of the venue.
It sure doesn’t feel like it’s been forty years. But Nitzer Ebb has worn it well and, in my opinion, remain one of the most relevant EBM bands on the scene and continue to lead the charge.
Another Friday night finds me tipsy and alone behind this keyboard. However I am never truly alone when I have great music and all of you to share it with. I have all my latest Bandcamp purchases, a few of which are absolutely smash hits. Please leave a comment below of who you would like to see me review in the future.
Twin Tribes – Altars – The beautiful lads of TX have released a remix album. Now I will always buy anything Twin Tribes put out sight unseen. I have to say this collection of remixes by some of the hottest names in darkwave was a special treat. The songs were big departures from the standard Twin Tribes style, but Luis voice still kept each song familiar. It included tracks from both previous albums placed lovingly up for sacrifice on the Altar to be transmuted and given back to the world.
Remixers Include:Skeleton Hands, Geometric Vision, Luz Futoro, Ash Code, NITE, Wingtips, Matte Blvck, Dave Parley, She Passed Away, Bootblacks, and Creux Lies. Yes you read that right. I think the power house of performers here really speaks to the immense effect Joel and Luis have had on this scene in such a short time.
Upir (remixed by NITE) – Damn this is gorgeous. This slow drifting synths remind me of a quiet corner in a buzzing high energy club. The beat then kicks in with a lovely synth line. Just such a bold shift from an already amazing song. This is the most I can ask for in a remix. I true homage while breaking a new vision.
Shadows –Matte Blvckremix – Shadows was the song that started my deep love of Twin Tribes. It holds a very personal place in my heart. To have it transformed in this way and still hold such an intense emotional impact is something glorious. This is that secret cult but no longer around a ancient tree but now in a lush modern club. Full of velvet and burning incense. A beautiful and dangerous collision of past and future.
Overall Impact: Generally speaking I am not a huge fan of “just remix” albums. I really love remixes included with an EP or something fresh. However as is often the case Twin Tribes have become the expectation that proves the rule. They took songs I love and collected most of the top names in modern darkwave. If you don’t know some of the bands here, you need to let this album lead you back to them. It’s very accessible and has a nice variance of sound. General fans will enjoy, fans of Post Punk/Darkwave will love.
the Dramedy – And The Light Goes White – New album from Dave Dramedy, who I recently saw playing bass for Caroline Blind in Detroit. This was a strange and experimental album that never left me bored. Dave surely has a power and range to his voice that rides the line of Mark Burgess and Iggy Pop punk edge. I really like the blend of rhythmic acoustic and harder driving bass guitar sounds. This is an album that grows on you. It seemed to get better with every listen. Like a favorite film where you notice a new detail every time you watch and always feels fresh.
Parasite: It’s hard to put my finger on it. The inflection in the vocals. The ring of the drums. The chopping downward acoustic guitar. This song although having a very dark edge, carries a vibe of 60’s Height Ashbury psychedelia. Of the Mamas and the Papas. It covers a lot of ground stylistically. The vocals are full of piss and vinegar for how beautiful and resonant they are. This song is a jam that is hard to place in the box. Other than the box of I love this fuking song.
What’s left To Say – Just stabbing sun shard energy right out of the gate. Total bop feel with flaming guitar lines, biting vocals, and late 90s Brit Pop hooks. I just couldn’t stop my leg shaking on this one.
Overall Impact: This album is so full of twists and turns. A definite nostalgia feel, as well as a region one. I really felt the California connection in every song. I think this record is very accessible despite the complexity. It is a hard sound to describe but if The Church were being yelled at by Iggy pop to stop changing time signature and just play bops. That’s what I feel.
Christian Death – Spectre (Love Is Dead) Kill Shelter Remix – This song is a classic. Probably my favorite CD track. So how do you re-imagine something iconic? Give it to Pete Burns. Pete is such a master of the sonic scalpel cutting away tiny bits until you are left with such a precise and streamlined modern wave beam. If I had it in my heart to toss a grenade over my shoulder and purposefully stroll from a collapsing building, this is the track I want playing. It’s pure energy and dangerous intent. 10/10.
Overall Impact: Everyone will love this track. It’s very fresh, it’s very way back. It’s just a slamming banger from start to finish.
Deadlight Holiday – Blood // Body – Our dear friends from West Michigan uncorked this badass single with some slamming sounds of Nu Metal and sizzling tempo Stabbing Westward vibes. Great production in the breakdown swirl. Loving these scratchy tear your head off vocals blistering past the crunching guitar. Also a gasoline covered dead man’s dance remix by Angelspit. I sense big things on the horizon from these young folk and I look forward to sharing a stage with them again soon.
Raichyl Sinversa – You Tell Me (Re-Mastered) – Remastered single from Raichyl of Philly. This is a nice crooning darkpop head bopper with an empowerment edge of 90s grunge. The guitar work is napalm scorched earth to contrast the lovely lifting vocals. A little bit of southern sass in the tone puts a nice edge to this “I’m not falling for your shit again” boot stomping driver.
Aesthetic Perfection – Automaton (feat. Sebastian Svalland) – Ok I have a confession that will not win me any goth points. Aesthetic Perfection sort of happened right in the moment between when I gave up on discovering new music and the time I listened to nothing but. Daniel Graves has become a leader of the modern dark scene for a reason. So getting to hear this new single without much context is a really interesting way to stumble into the band. This track is a bop. With firecracker exploding chain guitar work by Sebastian Svalland. It is also produced by Front Line Assembly legend Rhys Fulber. So I went in blind expecting cold razor precision on the production. Which is exactly what I got. What I was pleasantly surprised by was the range and voice charisma of Graves. It oozes with thick viscus grime and light footed cadence that keeps the energy constant and focused. The song also gives a tight compressed poetry of lyrics that convey a relatable idea in the modern era without an abundance of words. There is a special anticipation when you discover a band with a rich history later in their career and get to work your way back. I may have to do some of my reaction videos to some Aesthetic Perfection classics. Put your favorites below in the comments. Also buy this track immediately because it is a slam.