Category Archives: 2016

Best Gigs of 2016

Today is the first day of a new year and new month. But before we can dive into 2017 and everything is has planned, I’d like to look back on the all awesome gigs I attended this year. My current policy is to stay away from large festival gigs as I believe paying exorbitant prices just to see one band in the lineup is just not worth it. So I’ve been sticking to smaller clubs for those in the know. Sadly due to health problems and overall low energy, I was not able to do individual reviews for each concert, but I’ll give a general summary of all of them.

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My brother was able to get me last minute ticket to this show for my birthday and it really pumped a lot of energy into me in the beginning of 2016. Please see previous post for a full review.

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As I’ve been venturing more into the obscure side of alternative music, I came across Das Ich while searching for something different than mainstream industrial. Those guys give absolutely INCREDIBLE energy. It was hard to believe that they still rock out just as hard as when they’d formed in 1989. Despite not understanding all the words, the power of their performance conveyed everything they had wished which is a mark of a group with a truly international reach.i3__qyayunq

Considering that Russia doesn’t have a very big, organized or loyal alternative fan base, observing the Witch House genre and scene expand here has been like a very quirky sociology project. Bands like Dita RedRum, Cult of Cain and Fraunhofer Diffraction have gained cult following amoug young “baby bats” or those first dipping their toes into nu-goth. Such gigs either tend to have a very small audience, or are packed to the max, making it quite uncomfortable, even for a seasoned concert goer like myself. Moreover, going to any witch house gig is rather annoying as young drunk and high teens have created a new rave culture as normal clubs and discos are often over-priced and very face controlled. I feel like a rare flower for attending a gig to actually enjoy the music and sway like a 90s goth doing the tree dance. Sadly even for me, this young unruly crowd has become a deterrent from going to more concerts of this type. I must be getting old.

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Second year in a row seeing them and they always bring their A game. A rare opportunity to dance EBM and really let it all hang out.

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Much like Hocico, Alien Vampires’ harsh EBM brings the connoisseurs of industrial, EBM and overall darkling who not only mosh but also dance. Yet another opportunity to wear my biggest platform boots and stomp my heart out all night.

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I was quite uncertain what to expect of this band as attending had been a last minute decision. Their last album hadn’t particularly stood out for me. I had hoped their live sound would have been more EBM and Industrial but it the combination of harsh metal guitar and screamo vocals still made it work. Very down to earth guys who were more than happy to exchange hugs and selfies afterwards.

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This was Aurelio Voltaire’s 3rd year performing in Russia and each time it just gets better and better. I’m surprised that he has quite a sizable audience here since it does take an advanced level of English to understand his jokes and puns but at the end of the day, rum and vodka brought us all together. I cannot sing this man enough praises. Even though he’s unable to bring backing musicians on tour, forcing him to keep it acoustic, his sweet deep voice and guitar do not make the music boring. Each of his songs are always incredible well written and there is something for everyone, the goths, the nerds, or anyone who likes silly alcoholic karaoke-type singalongs. He bares his heart and soul on stage every night and truly values his fans as he never leaves the club until he has met, hugged and taken photos with everyone. What an extraordinary man who shows that being a label-less musician with big dreams and hard work, one can do anything!

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The crowning jewel of the top of 2016 was of course IAMX. Despite still being placed in the alternative category, much like Placebo, IAMX have a huge young Russian teenage girl fanbase. If you think you’ve seen big metal head guys moshing, that’s childsplay compared to what lengths young women will go to get the tiniest taste of their idols. This was my 4th time seeing them in Moscow and the whole band exudes sex and filth and an energy unlike any other. People may have differing opinions on how Chris’ writing has changed album to album, but no one can dispute how they deliver every song on stage as if it may be their last. While listening to the albums is fun, this is a band which MUST be experienced live to feel the real devotion and intense connection between an artist and their fans.

 

That’s all folks. Let’s hope 2017 will be a better year for all of us. Cheers!

 

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Best of 2016

‘ello all. It’s certainly been a while. 2016 has been a very challenging year for many and myself included. Poor health and stress of my day job had certainly not made life easy. But enough excuses and on to the music!

I’d like to begin by thanking all the wonderful Djs over at Communion After Dark for being my primary source of new music for this past year. Due to my local scene severely lacking and causing me great distress, like many children of the internet age, I soon found relief for my condition by spending many hours pouring over alternative music podcasts on mixcloud.com. Rated number one on Mixcloud, Communion After Dark provides a wide variety of music for those darkly inclined hosted by some of the funniest people I’ve ever heard. So, thank you so much guys for making 2016 just a little less bleak.

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2016 saw an unexpected but an incredibly necessary revival of Industrial music. While Skinny Puppy, Nine Inch Nails and many others old timers in the scene hadn’t stopped producing music since their inception, new blood and a new audience was desperately needed in the scene. I’m well aware that 3Teeth had launched their debut album back in 2014 but it wasn’t till 2016 when they were invited to tour with Tool that they become the band on everyone’s radar. Unfortunately they have not yet planned to tour where I live but I am holding my breath in anticipation.

Since everyone already knows the debut album by heart, here’s something fresh from their Soundcloud.

IAMX – “Everything Is Burning” Metanoia Addendumsmokeheadcover-1024x1024

IAMX have become practically mainstream amoung the alternative crowd but that does not make the music or the band any less genius. They need very little introduction or explanation. I had the privilege of seeing them live for the 4th time this year and nothing can compare. Chris Corner writes truly unique visceral unbelievable music.

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Daniel Graves, more well known as Aesthetic Perfection is a true workaholic and never stops making something new. While there is no word on when he plans to release his new album, we have been getting teased with tracks like LAX and Love Like Lies. I can’t wait for what Daniel will think of next.

Mr. Kitty – I Hope You Fall Aparta0439911568_16

I’ve been a huge fan of Mr. Kitty since 2012. His soft synth beats and ethereal vocals call out to the jaded millennial generation who have seen the accomplishments of our predecessors and have decided there’s really no hope but nihilism and music. In 2016 he released the “-+ [EP]” and currently a new single now that’s he’s joined the label Negative Gain. I can’t wait for more. ❤

Victor Love ft. KMFDM – Bitchcrafta3194347266_16

Thanks to Communion After Dark and absolutely every alternative DJ for playing this as it’s serious earworm, but the good kind. The album overall is ok though it’s a tad repetitive.

Hands Off Gretel – Be Minea1893993551_16

I cannot thank my favourite Youtuber Dorian enough for introducing me to this band. I also absolutely adore strong gritty female vocals. As someone who grew up listening to The Distillers, Hole and QueenAdreena, and many many 90s riot grrrrrl bands, this is Riot Grrrl reinvented and brought into 2016! I cannot get enough of them!

Neon Midnight – Retribution3acee51162997f9d6897fe1ffb070770e01dc00dIt’s very tough to assign Neon Midnight a genre. Influenced by 90s grudge bands and gothic sources alike, majority of the songs are rather simple vocals and guitar. While it’s hard to musically categorize, the lyrics are truly impactful and resonate in one’s mind for days. Just give it a try. “Break Me” is my absolutely favoruite song and it speaks to me on a deeply personal level.

 

Nine Inch Nails – Not The Actual Eventsnot_the_actual_events

Of course who could’ve missed the biggest Christmas present of all this year and that’s the new NIN with Trent and Atticus Ross continuing their ongoing musical relationship. Listen for yourself and make up your own mind. I like that it’s more dark and gritty like the earlier NIN I hold so close to my heart.

Strvngers –  Strvngersa3959448815_16

Now with THIS, I’ve certainly saved the best for last. Strvngers is a band which I’ve discovered completely by accident sometime in November and became instantly obsessed with. If I had to choose a favourite album of 2016 it would have to be this. I’ve played it over and over so many times that I now hear the lyrics in my dreams. Heck, I could write an entire album review post singing this band praises. Now, I must caution you, as with much synth darkpop, you’ll either love it or hate it. That being said, it really is the perfect soundtrack to 2016. At first they reminded me of The Sounds with their 80s throwback sound. But, uniquely to them, having synthy upbeat melodies does not mask the dark desperation of the lyrics which might come across as a bit emo but then again 2016 has been a very dark year after all; and is it not the job of art to reflect the current times? The album tells a story about the rise and fall of a young relationship. Very few albums these days have such a cohesive bold story arc which transitions perfectly between each track. They speak very clearly to our current jilted generation who grew up on video games and empty promises. It’s no surprise they share the same record label, Negative Gain as Mr. Kitty whose music also very much taps into this aesthetic. A true gem amoung the coal. A+

Disclaimer. All music belongs to the artists. I tried to link directly to sources like Bandcamp where you can pre-listen and download to your heart’s content. I own nothing.


Henry Rollins “Charmingly Obstinate” Tour 02.02.2016 Moscow

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It’s been about 24 hours since I attended Henry Rollins’ gig last night and with Iggy’s “Raw Power” as my soundtrack I feel the need to spill my brain guts on here.

Last night was not Rollins’ first time in Moscow. A renowned world traveler who’s visited over 90 counties, he has previously been to Russia with his band, as well as his spoken word show, not to mention taking the famous TranSiberian Express across Russia. Though the previous times he had attempted his spoken word show in Moscow it was, to quote modern hip young folks, “an epic fail.” Luckily for the audience, Henry opted against having a translator and this gig went much smoother for everyone.

Henry told many stories over the course of his 3 hours on stage. The best ones I believe were his stories about meeting David Bowie at a festival and the many times he got to hang out with Lemmy from Motorhead. Considering that these musicians recently passed away, it made sense that they were the core plotlines of the night. The grief he felt at the loss of his idols really resonated with me. Bowie’s death hit me quite hard but I know friends of mine for whom it was truly devastating. Because of the recent celebrity deaths, many people have contributed their 2 cents on the matter. I hate how people say celebrities aren’t worth grieving over since we didn’t actually know them personally. All of my idols have validated my own life and experiences and have made me feel less alone in a world where I’ve always felt like a weird and an outsider. It is exactly because of this connection that I understand how much Rollins loved and respected Bowie and Lemmy. I have been extremely lucky in my life to meet one of my idols, Amanda Palmer, several times. I have other idols who I’d most likely never meet, but their music has nonetheless shaped me as a person. Like Rollins, music has always been my safe haven and escape from the crap of reality and often the only thing to keep me going where life feels bleak. If any of them die, I would suffer greatly from their passing. It was during these very stories that I wished that I could hug Henry in solidarity of being a proud passionate fan. 

The other story which really stuck out in my mind was when Rollins traveled to Antarctica during the penguin mating season. What makes Henry such a great story teller is his acute attention to detail. I could imagine exactly what it must have been like to try to lie in a sleeping bag on a glacier surrounded by humping penguins while listening to Iggy Pop. I do hope that Iggy himself enjoys this story.

The elitist music jerk side of me did come out when Rollins mentioned some of the bands he has seen at their peak as well as shared the stage. Among the Moscow crowd I seemed to the be only one to know who The Cramps and Type O Negative were. Unlike young Rollins, I don’t think I would have kept myself quite so composed upon seeing a nearly nude Lux Interior. 😛

Overall, I’m quite surprised at myself for just how much I enjoyed seeing Henry Rollins. Most of my favourite comedians and “motivators” are quite cynical and I enjoy their stance of intellectual superiority. But Henry is so unabashingly optimistic. His enthusiasm is infectious! truly enjoys meeting new people and experiencing the full spectrum of colours that life has to offer. Finally, his life story of starting out working in an ice cream shop to becoming an international superstar is truly inspirational. While we may not get as unique opportunities as Rollins, we shouldn’t forget to be fearless, tell our anxieties and demons to fuck off and jump in.

Sadly he was not able to meet fans after his show as he was lacking sleep, but in my heart I know he loves all his fans and I’m sure we’ll meet again someday. Thank you Henry for restoring my faith in humanity.

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snagged myself a poster and sticker

short video clip I took with my phone