Black Light Burns live 14th February 2013

At The Underworld

Black Light Burns is creative work of on and off Limp Bizkit guitarist Wes Borland. He was described it as his main project and free of the need to be commercial or fit someone else’s vision he has had the freedom to be far more experimental. We’re still talking industrial rock, but it definitely has a flavour of its’ own.

I like the Underworld as a venue. It’s small and dingy with that “everything painted black” look. I wasn’t sure the stage was going to be big enough, but somehow they managed to fit a drum kit in the back.

The main support was Jayce Lewis who I’ve seen before supporting Combichrist. I don’t know whether it was the smaller stage, the new material or just having played more, but I thought they were a much better band. Their industrial rock sound was cohesive. Jayce playing additional percussion didn’t feel crowbarred in and they even made a show piece of it. They have an album out later in the year.

Black Light Burns made an unpretentious entrance and played a solid set from start to finish. The fact they were on tour barely registered. It felt almost as if we were in a small bar in their home town and they were bantering with the regulars. There was a strong sense of camaraderie and we were part of it. Jayce Lewis and his band felt it too and thanked the band for their involvement with the tour.

The time passed too quickly with Black Light Burns playing to curfew. Not even pausing for the ritual of an encore.

Combichrist Live 28th June 2012

At The Electric Ballroom

Combichrist is the brainchild of Norweigan singer and EBM producer Andy LaPlegua. I’ve been a fan since the first hook I heard and after catching them on their last tour was happy to see them again. Joined by a full band their brand of aggressive dance music does not disappoint.

Second on the bill were Surgyn. Taking inspiration from vanity and pharmacology they are the Bioshock EBM band. They had a solid sound and a definite stage image but lacked a certain edge. Despite both members playing keyboards and singing there were moments where they risked playing DJ. There was potential for theatrics to match their melodrama, but the band failed to make the stage their own.

Relatively new to the scene, part of me wants to keep an eye on them. Give them a chance to gather scars and experience. I see potential if the band develops as they mature.

Third act was Jayce Lewis from South Wales. Mixing industrial with a strong synth element it was a little hard to tell what their sound was meant to be. Simple, but interesting, drums mixed with a percussive guitar and the occasional layers of percussion by the singer created the foundation of their sound. With the sound of the keyboards and the bass above and below they had all bases covered.

They did have a definite rock band feel, but at times it seemed as if the singer was trying a little too hard and that their electronic core was being drowned out.

Its good to see a live band evolve and Combichrist have returned with more kit than ever. Three drummers, two of which switch between drums and synths and a guitarist join front-man Andy LaPlegua. Despite all the extra instrumentation the band remains faithful to their albums, but with the layers of percussion adding another dimension to the sound.

Opening with just one accompanist Andy and the pre-records conducted the crowd into movement. As the show progressed the other musicians joined them, each bringing their own energy with them. Despite a mostly predictable set list it still felt fresh. A good mix of new and old material was played and there was a phenomenal amount of energy projected by the band. Touring off album allowed the freedom for more older material, particularly from What The Fuck Is Wrong With You.

The band dynamic was fantastic. The drummer was very stylistic and impressive. He bantered during the encores, kept throwing his kit around and was literally carried from the stage, still trying to drum at the end of the show. The guitarist was a little showy and the synthesists played with quiet intensity by comparison. All the while Andy was yelling and working the crowd.

After two encores we knew our shouts of ‘more’ were going to be unanswered, except for the sardonic rendition of Sinatra’s My Way playing into the dispersing crowd as we left elated.