One of the last warm, sun filled Fridays of the summer, ideal pub garden weather! Drinking a lovely pint, sun on your back with your mates before the cold kicks in and you have to retreat indoors for the harsh winter ahead. Instead of that ever so enticing image, I find myself in Wolverhampton, not in a beer garden but in my favourite live music venue. May live music never die!
With a night of industrial fueled heavy music ahead, I arrive early as the five band bill warrants an early start. Kicking off proceedings are Deadfilmstar a intriguing looking five piece from Coventry, front man Gary a magnificent presence on stage crawling around crab like long dreadlocks flowing through the air and demonic looking with his blacked out eye balls. Musically they aren't as heavy as I expected giving a twist of industrial to the hard rock sound and to be honest it's a wonderfully fresh sound rounded out with a magnificent cover of Suede's Film Star.
Ventenner, the second of the five bands tonight are a completely different, a very distinctively dark sound, slow building, heavy as hell. The best way to describe them is progressive industrial metal. Angst ridden vocals take a back seat as a backing track to the music in the mix with their sound driven by the prominent guitars and bass. The sound is really the thinking mans industrial metal, if that sounds like your bag, Ventenner are for you.
Lord of the Lost have quite the buzz around them in the music industry at the moment. With a modern take on
corpse paint for their stage attire the German outfit produce a sound I initially thought to describe as "happy Type-O-Negative" but its far more refined than that. Type-O meets Cradle of Filth with an upbeat element that aligns them slightly more mainstream. Just being on the bill has obviously put a lot of ticket sales on the door tonight. The room is packed and the fans sing along to a sound I am finding quite appealing. Front man Chris Harms vocals are fantastically apt, growling with a haunting presence. They produce a performance that will see this band come back to headline the venue in the not to distant future. The set is rounded out with the pop-like, almost comedic, La Bomba, upbeat and jovial but lyrically dark and disturbing. Wonderful.
It will be hard to follow on from them, and Inertia have that daunting task in front of them. I will be honest, they struggle to fill the void that Lord of the Lost have left. A mild industrial sound mixed with techno/electronica is just not my cup of tea. Whilst the band do what they do well, its not one for me, and the Lord of the Lost fans have all vacated to the bar area where I soon join them.
To finish off proceedings are headliners KMFDM, a band that I personally have waited a long time to see. Having first heard them back in the mid 90's on the recommendation of one Lars Ulrich I've been waiting a longtime to catch them live. The forefathers of the industrial sound, long before Nine Inch Nails made it popular, have been going for well over 30 years now and are on their 20th studio album. The tour, in support of their latest opus Hell Yeah!, is selling out up and down the country and Wolverhampton is no different. A packed house see's stalwarts Sascha and Lucia take to the stage along with drummer Andy Selway and including the two Lord of the Lost guitarists as touring band members.
Opening with the classic D.I.Y. the band hit the ground running, so to speak. But following it up with new tracks Freak Flag and Hell Yeah! is a stroke of genius, the old working so well alongside the new. Predominantly the powerful talent of Lucia takes centre stage but Sascha's dual vocal accompaniment adds an element many industrial bands just do not feature.
The band line up equally on stage drummer, punk legend Andy Selway, just as much at front of stage as everyone else. Its a unique way to approach the live show and adds a breath of fresh air to the show. Chris Harms and π on guitars drive the band forward, the industrial samples from from Sascha and Lucia may be the heart of the music but in the live arena the guitar works drives the energy. Glam, Glitz, Guts and Gore a perfect example of this.
There is no let up in this intensive set from start to finish it is wall to wall energy and the crowd lap it up. Rounding out a good hour and a half of stage time featuring songs most;y from the second half of their career is WWIII, Hau Ruck and Godlike.
KMFDM may have been around for thirty plus years but they don't look it and they certainly don't show it. The energy and intensity of this show gives the impression of youthful vigor, a band just getting started on their career. It is this energy that keeps all the fans in the grips of the band coming back time and time again as you know you will always get one hell of a show.