COMBICHRIST‘s MEGA (Make Europe Great Again) Tour is coming to a close, but just before the final show we checked out their Sheffield date. The night of industrial rock, aggrotech, with hints of electronia thrown in promised to be an entertaining one, did it live up to expectation?
The opening act at any gig can be a little slow, the audience aren’t yet drunk enough and the band are playing to a half empty room. This was not the case for RABIA SORDA, not only was the room well stocked with fans, there was a great swell of energy from the very first song which lasted to the final note. All throughout the audience were people singing along and dancing to the songs, even if you’d never heard or seen the band before, you were sure to be dancing by the end. It was the kind of energy you’d want at any gig, but many don’t achieve. Frontman, Erk Aicrag, created an image on stage being covered in blood (hopefully not human but who knows with these rock and roll types!) and having donned feathers for the show. He never once stood still during the set, be it dancing or jumping along, he was moving. He even found time to fist pump a fan from the front row. A fantastic opening act, one sure to be a regular winner.
Next up to the stage were the industrial rockers FILTER who are arguably less high energy than RABIA SORDA, but in favour of more technical riffs and Richard Patrick’s powerful singing voice. Whilst a good voice on some tracks, there are songs when he takes on a more unusual breathy tone, one that is perhaps less widely appreciated. An LED setup at the back of stage created some interesting effects, working in time with the rhythm and complimenting the prominent electronica elements of the music. Concentrated back lighting kept the band silhouetted for much of the set, and several electric fans positioned on stage all added to the atmospheric set and, possibly the stronger motivation, kept the members cool. The audience was by no means forgotten, joining in enthusiastically with chants of ‘sit yourself down, sit yourself down motherfucker’ rallied by Richard Patrick. The loss of energy after the first set was unfortunate, and unless you’re a big FILTER fan you may not have found them to be a good choice for the second support.
The set for American aggrotechers COMBICHRIST started with the stage in complete darkness, some spooky atmospheric music, and plenty of smoke. One by one each member came on and took their place. There was suspense in the air, but from the first note the crowd went wild. The energy from RABIA SORDA was back, threefold. Not one member of COMBICHRIST stayed still, including both drummers climbing all over their kit. Furthermore Joe Letz repeatedly threw his drums across the stage, occasionally into Nick Rossi’s kit, and then when it shattered, he threw the broken skin into the audience. Every song was came with new atmosphere, with front man Andy LaPlegua’s manic performance perfectly complementing the lyrics, and each subtle layer of the songs melding together to create something wonderful. A guitar heavy set musically, having moved away from electron sounds, can only be described as aggressive and melodic, but that seems to be what the fans want. Alongside a very punk attitude. COMBICHRIST gave their performance everything, not an ounce of energy was spared. The atmosphere in the audience was more like a party than a gig, made more so when at the end a birthday cake was brought onto stage for one of the roadies. The cake quickly ended up in said roadies face, and then a full on food fight broke out. A COMBICHRIST gig is not like many others, but with intense stage presence, hypnotising riffs, and regular audience chants, they are not a band to miss seeing live.
Check out our exclusive photo gallery of the night’s action in Sheffield below:
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