The last weekend in November was jam packed with shows for me and after a long and busy holiday, I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end it than by seeing Skinny Puppy with Front Line Assembly in Boston at the House of Blues on Sunday November 30th. I’ll admit, I was pretty wiped out at this point, but although my bones were tired and weak from all the running around, driving, shooting and socializing, I made it to the venue early enough to catch both openers. I knew nothing about either of the first two bands other than a general sense of the genre I supposed they were.
First up was Youth Code, a 2 piece outfit from Los Angeles self described as “ …raw, punishing, industrious electronics built from the seeds of hardcore and early Wax Trax.” Their energy on stage was definitely infectious and kept me interested throughout the set and the singer ran, jumped and throttled herself around the stage like an animal that’s been trapped in a cage for too long and was finally set free. I feel like this band is really best seen live as I’m not sure how I would feel listening to the music at home or if that energetic performance was really what kept me paying attention. Either way I enjoyed it.
Next was Haujobb out of Germany with a very different vibe than the first band. Less pent up angst more thoughtful and emotive presence. Between songs, the singer took to the mic and said, “You may call this music Industrial, but where we come from we call it Electronic Body Music.” Ok, so I know about EBM and I understand people feel the need for a million names, categories and sub-genres in all kinds of music, but anyone who knows me, knows how I feel about what I deem as pretentiously named sub-genres and peoples seemingly endless need to coin them. Usually if there are more than two words in sub-genre, my eyes start rolling. (Of course I am not blaming the singer for my opinion on this or the invention of EBM as a name for a sub-genre. I just personally can’t stand these kinds of things. /rant) Anyway, I would not have thought of Haujobb as an Industrial band but I do understand why one might say that or at least say they have industrial elements to their sound. To me they were slightly more Depeche Mode than Throbbing Gristle, which is not a bad thing since I love both of those bands. I dug them and will definitely check out their recordings.
Honestly, I didn’t even realize the Front Line Assembly was playing this show until the night before. I guess with everything I had going on, checking to see who was on the bill slipped my mind until just before the show which really isn’t like me. As soon as I saw them on the bill I knew that this was going to be a once in a lifetime kind of show. Bill Leeb, FLA front man and former Skinny Puppy member, drove the point home when during his set he said how special it was to be on the same bill and that, “This is the one tour I will always remember. Thank you.” No Bill, thank YOU! Stunning set all around and an absolute pleasure to finally be able to see FLA live.
Earlier this year I was able to catch Skinny Puppy play in another club in Boston and I was really excited this time around to see how it would be on the much bigger stage at House of Blues. The set list was much different and one song longer this time. Because of the size of the venue, I felt like I was totally immersed in the show. A lot of bands really work well in small clubs with an intimate setting but SP is a spectacle and really shines on a big stage. If you haven’t experienced the band live, and that’s exactly what it is, an experience, then you need to rectify that ASAP. Legends in their own right, SP live is an onslaught of sights and sounds filled with anger, repulsion, political statements and world consciousness that you would be hard pressed to find in another band today. Musically the band proves you do not need a guitar to be “heavy” or “crushing.” Visually the show is both mesmerizing and discomforting. A delight of the visual cortex while engaging the thoughtful mind on issues of humanity and injustices of the world. Although it’s been 30 years since the release of their first studio album, Skinny Puppy continues to be relevant and thought provoking today.
Haujobb on Facebook