Aesthetic Perfection – The Lounge, Archway

Took my lovely niece and Smith to see Aesthetic Perfection last night at The Lounge 666 or whatever it’s called near Archway tube in London. Before the show we were just about to go to get food when I checked where the venue was and spotted Daniel Graves on his way out of the venue. I, very politely, asked if he would meet my niece because she loves him. I think I even used the phrase “I don’t mean to impose but would you mind . . . .”, jesus, what a british twat I can be. Anyway, he came over and met my niece and they had a photo taken. She was very happy.

The first band we saw, but second on the bill, was Jadu. Biomechanimal were on first but we missed them. That’s not a bad thing, we’ve seen them before a few times. Jadu are a German band who I quite enjoyed. There were four of them, a female singer and a drummer, guitarist and keyboard person. It was quite slow stuff but perfectly good. I quite enjoyed it. I did note that the sound of the kick drum was pretty good and didn’t over power the rest of the sound. I’m probably going to get a Jadu album, it was good enough for that.

Jadu - Archway
Jadu – Archway

Shortly after that Aesthetic Perfection came on stage and this is now the about 9th time I have seen Joe Letz. This makes him the artist I have seen most. I don’t mind. His on stage persona is brilliant and I enjoy his antics.

Joe Letz banging the fuck out of a drum
Joe Letz banging the fuck out of a drum

Aesthetic Perfection put on an amazing show. It was probably the best I have seen them and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The crowd was nice and pleasant. Even the six foot six female pair allowed those of us shorted than them in front. I spent the whole gig about three rows back from the front, which didn’t even have a barrier.

Daniel Graves and Elliot Berlin
Daniel Graves and Elliot Berlin

The band played for a decent length of time and I have to say I enjoyed it all. There was a moment when Joe Letz tapped Daniel in the penis and it was pretty funny. There’s a good camaraderie between them all. It’s nice to see a theremin being used at a concert, they’ve probably used them before I just didn’t notice it.

Aesthetic Perfection
Aesthetic Perfection

This was a bloody good gig. Probably the best I have seen them and I really enjoyed it. My niece managed to sweet talk one of the roadies and got a Joe Letz drum stick at the end of the gig. This will now go with her stick from a Combichrist gig a few years back. I am a little jealous.

Joe Letz's Knackered Drumstick
Joe Letz’s Knackered Drumstick

Well done AP and I look forward to seeing you again sometime soon.

Slipknot – The O2

Slipknot

Given how close The O2 is to where I live this was the first time I had been there to see a concert. I went there a long time ago to see some tennis but this was the first music event. The “Millennium Dome” as it was known a long time ago was considered a GBP1 Billion white elephant in the early days of the Blair government. The display area was shit. I know, I went there. I never saw the “show” in the arena it was meant to be a bit like a circus – I guess there’s video of it but I care not. I’d also been a couple of other times most notably to see a Star Wars exhibition.

Anyway. Dave from work drove and we met up with Smith and Son. We ate. I drank. We entered the arena just after Behemoth had started.

Behemoth
Behemoth

I didn’t find them particularly good. They were quite boring. There wasn’t much dynamic shift to their songs and it was rather – meh. But still it was an opportunity to study the stage construction and layout of the arena. I noticed plenty of structural high beams, they were interesting, and the cable work holding up the PA system was impressive. Yep, that’s the sort of stuff I find interesting. I think it comes from having and engineering degree and thinking about how stuff works a lot.

The headliners were Slipknot. I was quite excited as I’d been listening to their stuff all week and I have to admit it’s pretty good stuff. It had also been quite a while since we had seen a metal headline act in an arena. Smith and I normally see either small bands in small venues or the classic M’era Luna festival in Germany.

The Stage and Slipknot
The Stage and Slipknot

Slipknot were pretty darn good. They kept the crowd going and all their songs were great. I really enjoyed it. At some points the mosh pit extended two thirds of the way back on the standing area and I don’t think I’ve ever really seen that before.

It was curious to see adverts for Slipknot stuff on the large screens before the band. They were advertising Knotfest which is an open air concert to take place at the National Bowl in Milton Keynes. Then, there was Slipknot whiskey made in Iowa. I mean, sure, you can buy it if you want but are you into a band that much that you want all your kit branded that way? In my experience it’s best to like the music, enjoy the shows and then not worry too much about the other stuff. Buying into a band completely always leaves you exposed to being failed when they turn out to be cunts. Not saying Slipknot are, just saying some bands are.

The Crowd and Slipknot
The Crowd and Slipknot

There was also an advert for some cruise thing from Barcelona to Naples with Slipknot appearing on board playing two shows. You can pay to be stuck on a cruise [honestly sounds quite nice] and then in the evening there will be some gigs. That’s not so bad I reckon. The Norwegian Jade will be a floating music festival and decked out like a museum to this Iowan band.

Slipknot Cruise Price List
Slipknot Cruise Price List

I don’t have this sort of money. The largest venue holds 2500 which is a reasonable size. It would be a pretty special time, but it is an outdoor venue and if the weather is shit you are screwed. Maybe the other bands would make it worthwhile? I don’t know. Maybe I’ll do this kind of thing once I’m retired.

Slipknot were pretty good on stage. There was the expected crowd interaction and I enjoyed it all. I don’t think I’m that fussed about seeing them again though. I think I am slowly seeking new things, new sounds or shows. My limit seems to be two times for seeing bands at the moment. I say this when I’m soon to see Aesthetic Perfection for the seventh time!

Good show. Good time. Enjoyed it. What more do you want?

iVardensphere – Electrowerkz

Smith and I travelled to attend the Beat Cancer 2.0 festival last night. Last year we saw Freakangel play somewhere in east London and now the fund raising jaunt returned in a bigger venue and with eight bands. The gig was based in the large room downstairs at Electrowerkz and there was a small bar set up but there wasn’t really a lot of space. It looked like there was a wedding going on in the Tube Train room – you’ll know what I mean if you’ve been there.

So the music started about ninety minutes late. The organiser blamed Lufthansa as the headline band, iVardensphere, were in Germany at the beginning of the day and without planes had to get to London. They managed this and set up but the running order was late by a long way. I had an important event to attend the next morning and so while the event was scheduled to finish at midnight I didn’t mind that once the delay was announced it made seeing all the bands rather problematic. I guess most people attending didn’t have to march through a town in a Remembrance Parade eight hours later.

First band up were Drakenwerks who I had missed by turning up late to another gig when they supported Nachtmahr. My notes say that the band was made of a man and woman, they were OK and played upbeat electronics with a hint of EBM.

Drakenwerks - Electrowerkz
Drakenwerks – Electrowerkz

The lighting rig seemed to consist of single colour washes for each song. In the above I caught a “green” song.

Then there was Vain Machine. Two chaps from the USA and it was their first time in London. It was a bit too goth for me. They even played a terrible cover version of “I was made for loving you” by Kiss.

Vain Machine - Electrowerkz
Vain Machine – Electrowerkz

Then there was the band of the organisers. The people who run this charity gig had a band and they played. It was experimental bullshit. A wall of noise. It was terrible. They were called Bein-E. Their full name was a massive German word but I only saw it on one piece of literature and didn’t make a note of it.

Bein-E - Electrowerkz
Bein-E – Electrowerkz

Then there was Cygnosic. This band was much more upbeat. The vocals were “growly” and while I didn’t understand what they were saying it was an improvement on most of the previous bands. The only problem was that their songs had no variation within. The structure was a single unit and lasted three minutes and stopped. I needed some form of difference as the song progressed. Judging by the accent of the singer when he spoke the band were from Spain or maybe Italy or similar [if they are Portuguese then I’ve probably offended a whole country!].

Cygnosic - Electrowerkz
Cygnosic – Electrowerkz

It was now 23:00 and there were three bands to go. iVardensphere wouldn’t finish until around 01:30 and I had stuff I was required to do the next morning. I had to call it a day and drive home. I’m gutted, but at least I have seen the Sphere before. They were really good both previous times but I can’t change my schedule. I’ll see them again one day soon I expect.

I missed:

  • Nature Of Wires
  • C-Lekktor
  • iVardensphere

So, after all that I saw five bands of varying degrees of not-good and the one band I really wanted to see I couldn’t as I had to get home to parade the next morning in Maidstone. I was gutted but also aware of my commitments and limitations. It was good to see the Smith.

Rammstein – MK Stadium

This Was Warm

Last Saturday I went to see Rammstein play their current set at the MK Stadium in Milton Keynes. It was bloody amazeballs.

Early Fire
Early Fire

I had spent the previous week at RAF Shawbury with a cadet camp which was already a brilliant week and I then topped it off with this brilliant show. I drove down from the West Midlands to Milton Keynes and met with Smith in a supermarket car park. This gig is an important one because he had brought his kids along, their first major gig. You could tell that there was a slight trepidation from the eldest [around 14] but the youngest displayed nothing but sheer excitement [around 12].

The support band were two women who played pianos on a stage just in front of our seats. It was nice but I didn’t really pay attention. I was suffering with the effects of being tired and so I read a book on the development of the pressure suit for high altitude flying published by Nasa. It wasn’t bad but I needed to rest!

Extinguishers?
Extinguishers?

Rammstein themselves were amazing. Absolutely amazing. The show they put on is remarkable and worth every penny of the 7500 for the cost of a ticket. There were the normal theatrics with lots of fire. And I mean lots of fire. There were black clouds bellowing over the stadium at certain points during the show and I wondered what it must look like to someone outside the stadium.

Angel Of Fire
Angel Of Fire

There were many highlights. Every song had its own act. The keyboardist being burnt in a massive cauldron, the burning to death of a giant baby, the massive riding cock for the song “Pussy”, and flames shooting from guitars.

This might seem odd but the dance track halfway through made my night. That was the moment I thought “this is the best show ever”. One of the guitarists DJd while being lifted high above the stage and the other members of the band came on with suits that lit up along the limbs. They then performed a dance routine to an electronic version of thier own song. What balls, to make 30,000 metal fans listen and dance to electronic music. This band have it all.

This was the best show I have ever seen and is the third best gig I have been to. The Prodigy last year at M’era Luna may have been an excellent show, I don’t know I can’t remember any of it. This concert would have been top of the list had I been in the pit. You have to take whatever you can from a gig and I loved this but part of me hankered to be in the mild violence of the circle. I still had a great time. My top three gigs are: Combichrist Old School, The Prodigy and Rammstien – this one.

This Was Warm
This Was Warm

This is the thrid time I have seen Rammstein and it was bloody brilliant.

“Did I mention? I’m seeing Rammstein in Milton Keynes this weekend.”

Aesthetic Perfection – O2 Islington

Last night I went to the O2 Academy in Islington with my niece to see Aesthetic Perfection. We drove into town as it just makes it easier to get home and not worry about running to get the last train. After arriving we had burritos for dinner and then headed to the venue.

Machine Rox were playing, this was a slight surprise as they weren’t on the bill as far as I knew but we watched them anyway.

Machine Rox
Machine Rox

I didn’t mind them. The singer owned the dress she was wearing and that was excellent. I couldn’t understand what she was singing though and that seems to be a bit of a flaw. The drummer doesn’t really do much and the guitarist is pretty cool in his silver outfit and lights on his head. They were OK.

Next up was Amelia Arsenic. I hadn’t heard of her before this series of concerts and so was curious. She came on stage and explained that her band were stuck in Cincinnati and she’d been hit by a car the day before. She had a computer set up to play the music and her performance was really good. I could understand what she was singing and really enjoyed the show.

Amelia Arsenic
Amelia Arsenic

I can’t remember how many tracks she sang but I was impressed. On my next pay day I think I’ll be buying some of her work. I don’t think there are enough female artists in this genre and it’s good to see more. She had a wonderful confidence and even came and sang the last verse in the crowd.

Priest were up next. I’m still not sure what to make of this band. I enjoyed it for a while and his signing impressed me but the songs didn’t vary much and were built around his seemingly classically trained voice. I thought I detected a slight French accent but I may have been wrong there. Apart from the outfits there didn’t seem to be much going on stage.

Priest
Priest

I’ve just checked and the band are from Sweden, so that explains why I thought they were French. I did like that the singer called themselves:

The Cybernetic Trinity known as Priest

It was a nice touch. I don’t think I’d need to see more of them though.

The headliners were Aesthetic Perfection. I’ve seen this band a few times and have always enjoyed the show. They were the second EBM type band that I started listening to and so are one of my original favourites along with Combichrist. Also, now that Joe Letz plays with AP I think that means I have seen him perform more times than any other musician.

Aesthetic Perfection
Aesthetic Perfection

I was curious to see how the band handled the new guitar influences on the new album but the keyboardist played the guitar on two songs and I think it worked. I like the new album a lot and so to hear the songs live was very exciting.

The band played a solid set and it was very enjoyable. It’s nice to be part of a crowd that really sings along and joins in. These guys are excellent showmen and the addition of Joe Letz brings the album sounds to life. I always think that live drummers add more to the sound than they cost. I really like it when electronic bands do that.

Classic Guitar Pose
Classic Guitar Pose

This gig was good fun and I enjoyed it immensely. AP are still one of my favourite bands and I will continue to see them when they come over. A good solid evening of music.

Nachtmahr – Electrowerkz

Last night was a chance to listen to some classic Austrian Industrial music at Electrowerkz. It’s in Torrens Street, Angel, which is a tiny little cul-de-sac with a smart pub at its entrance and an Alien-themed industrial-alternative club for other people at the other end.

I think last night was the forth time I’ve got clothes on and ready in another person’s driveway. I park in spaces that people don’t use, but I’m not a thief, I pay for the privilege to keep my car there.

First band on at Electrowerkz was Dunkelsucht. This probably translates to either dark thoughts or depression. I’m not sure and in this day and age it’s terrible that I haven’t looked up which it is. Maybe I’m too lazy. OK, I just went and did it and it apparently means Dark Investigated. I suspect not!

Dunkelsucht
Dunkelsucht

This band comprised a male singer and a female computer controller type person. They are from Switzerland and I quite enjoyed them. It seemed quite pop-like to me, but I suspect that in reality it’s quite heavy stuff? I’m never sure and I hate the fact that it’s all so subjective. I wrote in my notes that it was OK, they had good beats and I enjoyed it overall. I did find that in the middle of a few songs it suddenly went strange with melodies that seemed out of place.

The next band on were DKAG and I’ve seen them before a number of times. Smith and I stayed in the bar. I spent thirty seconds watching them, just to check they were the same. There’s a limit to how much I can take. I’ve kinda come to the conclusion that I really enjoy about forty five minutes of any band and show but after that I start to get bored because all the songs sound the same. I think that’s either because I enjoy M’era Luna and the shorter sets that I generally see there or the causation is the other way around and I just find shorter sets more interesting.

The headliners were Nachtmahr. As with the last time I saw them here there were only two of them. The singer, Thomas Rainer, and the computer controller were all by themselves. I know there were about five people on stage at M’era Luna although two of those were female stage show actors.

Nachtmahr - March 19
Nachtmahr – March 19

Nachtmahr played for a solid ninety minutes and if I’m honest I only started to struggle in the last fifteen or so, even given my rant a couple of paragraphs ago. They were pretty good, but I don’t think Rainer is a natural frontman. To me he looks like he’s playing an act, which all singers are to an extent, but he seems uncomfortable with it. I don’t mind that though. I’ve paid to see a show and I don’t want my musicians to look like they aren’t enjoying it.

Hello Crowd
Hello Crowd

This set had a load of classic songs you would expect to hear. I enjoyed it a lot.

What I found most interesting at the venue was that I would say it was easily a 50-50 split in the sexes of those attending. There was also a wide age spread from around 18 to around 65 from the looks of the people I saw. It was quite probably the most diverse audience I have seen yet for a gig. It was such a nice atmosphere, really enjoyable. A good night.

Fleisch – Fire

Fleisch were the main band in the venue Fire last night. They are an industrial metal band from somewhere up north. The first band though were called AlterRed.

I honestly can’t remember a huge deal about AlterRed! I don’t remember hating it but I don’t remember being incredibly impressed. It was watchable. I think Smith and I gave it about a 3/10 score, although the grading system for watching bands isn’t as rigorous as the cinema review section of this site.

I didn’t take any photos during the gig, it wasn’t that sort of place so I have found a music video and you can judge for yourself:

The only other band playing that night were Fleisch. There were better and rated at about a 5/10 by Smith and me. I’m not sure the sound was super brilliant and I certainly didn’t get a Rammstein feel, which they claim but it was a good performance. What I don’t understand is the need for separate bass tracks in the backing track and also a bass player, one or the other folks. Your sound doesn’t need two lots of deep sounds, one will do.

Here they are, again, no photos from me:

Lord Of The Lost – The Garage

Smith and I traveled to the lofty intellectual heights of Islington last night to visit the Garage venue just outside Highbury station. On the bill were Lord Of The Lost, a German rock band, the venue was meant to be Electrowerkz but I think they sold more tickets than expected and they moved the gig to the Garage.

This was my third time at the Garage and again I was impressed. It’s smaller than I remembered, a nice, cosy (but not squashed) venue. I will say now that the sound in the place was pretty impressive and worked well. Probably better than Electrowerkz but I think this is largely to there being a little more space. Possible improvements would be a light beam a little further out from the stage to light up the bands a little more from the front rather than from a 3/4 position.

The second band were just finishing as we entered and they weren’t that impressive.

One of my favourites on as last support act were Unzucht. I’d seen them before at two M’era Luna festivals and I was looking forward to this.

Unzucht
Unzucht

They were good fun and played a decent set. They play a good hard riffage and then go and mess it up with an almost-ballad in the middle but I enjoy their style and it was good fun.

The headliners came on and I wasn’t really aware of the time but when I did look at my watch it was only 21:30 so for some reason there was an early curfew. It looked like they were setting up an urban-disco type thing.

Lord Of The Lost were good. It was a solid fun set and they seemed genuinely happy to be playing to a large-ish crowd.

Lord Of The Lost
Lord Of The Lost

I don’t really remember what songs they played but they started with “On This Rock” and ended with “La Bomba” which is always good for fun. Somewhere in the middle they played “Drag Me To Hell”.

It was a good evening and one that I ended too early really because I needed to be up early the next day [boo!]. Normally there would be more written here but I’m tired.

Black Celebration 2018

I spent a lovely amount of time with Smith at the O2 Forum in Kentish Town on Sunday. The event was the Black Celebration music festival of all types of dark music. Of most interest was the band Suicide Commando. The event was promoted by the Flag Promotions company who run so very many of the gigs and concerts I go to. Obviously my music tastes are aligned with some of theirs.

Black Celebration 2018
Black Celebration 2018

Here are my reviews of each band in order of viewing. As is my usual behaviour I write notes on my phone during or after each act to help me remember what I’ve seen. That is why the comments may be pithy or short.

Machine Rox – were first up. We arrived towards the end of their set as Smith and I were having make-up issues. But they were ok. My notes indicate the following: female singer, there was a guitarist but I couldn’t hear him.

Machine Rox Machine Rox

I liked the dancers who came on for the last song wearing outfits similar to the lead singer. It was a nice touch.

Next up were DKAG who are quickly becoming my most-seen band. They are supporting many bands over the next year. While the music is good there are no vocals and so unless I am wasted on alcohol I’m not that interested. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before but I like crowd interaction from the band, I want to know that they are enjoying it. Two guys with their keyboards doesn’t quite hit the mark.

There was now a short dinner break for me. The local cafe was very welcoming and the food was nice. Recommended. It was Mem’s Cafe on Kentish Town Road.

The return to the Forum meant the last few songs from Sulpher. This band sounded good and heavy with a decent industrial feel.

Sulpher Sulpher

My notes are: guitars and heavy stuff. A little bit of samples mixed in. We saw about 4 songs and it was alright.

Let me explain the “alright” comment. This means I enjoyed it more than a lot of others. While “alright” might not seem a glowing review it means that the music was OK, suitable etc. [I’m trying to renormalise the term AVERAGE and OK to mean what they really mean].

Empathy Test came up next. I have seen this band before although I couldn’t remember exactly where or when. Smith and I had a discussion about who the lead singer was. Once they were on stage I figured out that they had played Infest last year and I saw them there. Here’s what I noted at the time: only 20 seconds in and I was done. Remember them from Infest. Boring vocals and drone-like. Slow. Female drummer who looks like she’s concentrating too much. Well constructed songs but boring.

Suicide Commando rocked the venue. I don’t mind the graphic visuals of people with holes in their bodies where holes shouldn’t be. This band was really good. A real uplift from the previous band.

Suicide Commando Suicide Commando

I still maintain that a live drummer rather than a machine or dead person makes such a difference to a gig. I really enjoyed Mr Commando!

My notes say only the following:

heavy, fast and dirty. Great.

More Suicide Commando More Suicide Commando

And then we get to Mesh. This might be the third time I’ve seen Mesh and they seem almost bored to be on stage. There’s not a lot of interaction. My only notes were:

Kinda boring

The Young Gods came on stage next. I knew nothing about them but I could see three white lights thinly blazing over the positions of the band on stage and I liked that set up. It worked really well. The first song was very Pink Floyd with a slow build up to not-a-lot and then a slow wind down. It felt like the crowd didn’t really know when the song finished. But, this band were older and clearly excellent musicians with that easy style of people who have worked together for so long.

The Young Gods The Young Gods

My scrawled notes say:

Interesting but not really my stuff. turning into experimental upbeat music. Still quite psychedelic. Good beat to some songs. Enjoyable.

Finally we had DAF. A band I had seen at M’era Luna and a band that didn’t impress hugely. I get it that without DAF and other older bands that my style of preferred music wouldn’t exist but I’m also allowed to find their stuff a little boring. I think I would be the same with Nitzer Ebb and other bands from the 80s and 90s. Smith and I stayed for a while but in reality we both had work the next day and long-ish journeys home. Maybe I’ll see a complete Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft set one day.

Nachtmahr – Electrowerkz

Last night was one of those events I had been looking forward to for quite a while. Nachtmahr were playing a gig to celebrate 10 years in business and it was happening at Electrowerkz. I really like Electrowerkz, it’s a dingy little club in Angel with a small venue for concerts. I’ve been here before. This time I travelled with my niece and met Smith there.

Outside the door is a sign saying Hadley’s Hope. Inside it’s black and reminiscent of the landing site in the film Aliens, called Hadley’s Hope. There’s a bar decorated in a very Giger way.

Bands playing were:

  • Drakenwerkz
  • Biomechanimal
  • DKAG
  • Nachtmahr

We arrived near the end of the set for the first band so I shan’t comment. The Biomechanimal set was . . . not marvellous. They had a keyboardist pressing buttons on a bass guitar looking device, the bassist was busy but I couldn’t hear what she was playing and the singer was screaming so I couldn’t really hear what he was saying. I would say they were an industrial dance band with heavy overtones but I’m not sure they were any good. Fair enough if some people like their music but it didn’t really do a great deal for me.

Biomechanimal
Biomechanimal

Third band on the bill were DKAG, who I’ve seen before a couple of times. It’s very dance. Well constructed but a little boring with no lead singer to interact with. We went to the bar.

DKAG
DKAG

Finally, Nachmahr were on. I saw them at M’era Luna a few years ago and was slightly underwhelmed. This time though they were great. One “programmer” and the lead singer is all it took. The music was hard fast beat Austrian industrial and it was great fun. Really enjoyed it.

Nachtmahr
Nachtmahr

Some songs are in German, some in English. Rainer spoke in both. This was well worth missing a multitude of fireworks and bonfires celebrating the state sponsored death of a Spanish Catholic. Over all this rated about an 8 on the official scale of 0-10. I thin kthe Combichrist gig a few years ago got a 9.9 from me and so using that scale gives this gig an 8.

After the final song the venue was shifted around a little to be turned into the Slimelight club. The bar downstairs was opened and the BBQ started. I took a picture of the full moon glowing through the roof:

Moon Glow
Moon Glow

Finally, here’s a picture of three people at a bar:

Future Drinks
Future Drinks