KMFDM, Army of the Universe, and 16Volt w/ Human Factors Lab
August 8, 2011
Tempe, Arizona, United States @ The Clubhouse
Review by: Dawne Flanagan
After slaving all Sunday making tutus for the Oontzcast girls and myself, I drove to Cubel’s palce to get ready fro the â€œzomgitsfuckingfreeâ€ KMFDM show. We did up our faces (I even put on lashes) and donned out tutus and rushed like crazy people to get to the venue, The Clubhouse, because we’d gotten a call from fellow COMA monkey, Noelle, warning us that the place had a huuuge line outside. We arrived, tulle a-flurry, to a line, but nothing that was going to immediately pack the place. Bear in mind that Phoenix has a relatively small industrial scene, and while KMFDM appeals to a great cross section of metal & rivetheads, there was still plenty of room for everyone when we got there 30 minutes before the doors opened. Honestly, I was surprised by that. I mean, â€œOMFGKMFDM,â€ but it was a Monday night show, so likely all the â€œluckyâ€ bastards who had jobs were still changing into their Slayer t-shirts, beat up jeans, and boots after escaping their cubicles slash convenience stores slash glorified mall rat positions.
And so we got into line with Noelle, the desert sun still beating down on the pasty white crowd, even though it was early evening. Thirsty, I eyed a 7-11 across the parking lot. â€œCome on, let’s go on a Slurpee runâ€ I said to whoever would listen. They wanted to stay in line for fear of losing their primo position. Undaunted, I grabbed the hand of our DD for the evening (thank you, Tara, for driving!) and we traipsed over to the store. Remember here, I’m in a tutu. And stompy boots with lots of buckles. And cyberlox. And cat-eye sunglasses that have been dipped in glitter. I looked COMPLETELY inconspicuous. Ha! Tara and I grabbed a bunch of drinks for our group and giggled at the odd looks that were shot our way. It’s funny that individually, the pieces in my outfit may not cause such a stir, but combined… HOOOO BOY, watch out!
Tara and I returned victorious to our little troupe and we all happily nursed our frozen beverages (some of us proclaiming more loudly than others that they really needed some kind of rum or booze in them, and I was inclined to agree). It wasn’t long after we finished our drinks, then, that the line began to move as everyone shuffled (or as in my, Tiffany & Christina’s case, jetÃ©-ed) into the venue. The Clubhouse has a set up such that it allows for separation for the underage crowd and the drinking crowd. We immediately made a beeline for the drinking crowd side. After shots of lemon drops, we perked at the music piping through the speakers. The house was playing great EBM tunes, and so tutus shook and shimmied to the beat. We were stared at. Thankfully, we were sporting our BRAND NEW COMA TANK TOPS so people knew we really were in the cool club.
Not long after the doors were opened, the first band took the stage. Human Factors Lab, based out of Florida, is an industrial metal band, heavy on the metal. This was my first time hearing them. They put on a solid performance and had a good stage presence. I also noted their was a chick in their midst, so that’s an instant +2 points in my book. I was fortunate enough to catch up with their singer, Sev3n after the show and he was nice enough to hook me up with a CD for the magazine. â€œPap3râ€, the name of the album, was released in 2008. It contains 15 tracks, 14 of which are remixes of songs by acts such as KMFDM, 16 volt and Cynergy 67. Perhaps a new album with original songs are in the making? If their performance was an indicator of their potential, I hope we’ll be hearing from them again.
Next to take the stage was 16 Volt. Having been around since the early 90′s, 16Volt is no stranger to live performances. The metal was chunky as the guitars ripped through chords during songs like “Suffering You” and “Cut Collector”. They declared their distaste for the more electronic outfits in the scene by shouting â€œFuck that -insert popular band name here- shit,â€ which gave the blatant nod to the chops of the guitars in their act versus the complete lack thereof in other bands. Seeing as the band has been around for about 20 years, I’ll let them have that. Another band I was being initially introduced to this night, I was impressed by their showmanship. The crowd clearly loved the music as a sea of heads bobbed up and down in true metal fashion.
After a short break (and some delectable fried mushrooms from the associated restaurant located just next door), Army of the Universe took the stage. In order to ensure that we knew who we were now watching, the lead singer waved a giant flag that sported the band initials, â€œAOUâ€ back and forth as the music began. Before they took the stage, I’d been told by Christina that Chris Vrenna was AOU’s drummer. Vrenna is also known for his live performances with Trent Reznor in Nine Inch Nails. As AOU started, I didn’t even think to look at the drum kit. It took me a few minutes before I realized: there was no drummer. Vrenna had dodged me like a wascawy wabbit. I then took a bit of a closer look at the line up before me. The guitarist, Davil, wears his blonde hair long and plays his guitar like an arena rocker, raising his hand to the air between riffs in a motion that I’ve only really ever seen done by my ex-husband when he would play guitar hero. Thankfully, Davil is way more talented (and better looking). On the opposite side of the stage stood the Italian Albert Vorne (aka Trebla), a progressive and trance DJ of greater renown having shared the stage with the like of Oakenfold and Armin Van Buuren. He wrangled down the loops while the frontman, known as â€œLord Kâ€ and wearing his sunglasses at night, ala Corey Hart, did his thing with the microphone. These guys had high energy on the stage and commanded our attention well. The moment of their set that caught my attention was their cover of Bjork’s â€œArmy of Me.â€ As it was one of their last songs, and I was in between watching the show and talking with my tutu’ed cohorts, I thought initially, â€œOh hey, DJ is playing Bjork. Cool.â€ But then I heard the guitars and the â€œman voiceâ€ and realized â€œnooooooo…. this is still AOU!â€ I promptly ceased conversation and rocked out to one of my favorite basslines of all time.
At long last, it was time for KMFDM to take the stage, but not before a short speech from the sponsors of the show. While that was going on and the stagehands were bringing the podiums out for Sascha and Lucia, Christina and I secured a spot near the front. I think I remained in that spot for about one song. Unfortunately for me, KMFDM means â€œmosh pitâ€ to 97% of the attendees, and my lox started getting pulled on which was bringing me backwards into the danger zone. I had to leave my awesome spot and went to the back of the bar where all the adults, I mean drinkers, were hanging out.
As I watched from my spot at the bar, they played fan favorites like “A Drug Against War” and “Tohuvabohu”, and newer songs like” Bait & Switch”. They also played “Krank”, the first track off the new album, WTF?! for which they are touring in support. KMFDM is like your favorite beverage. No matter how you may feel, having a sip of that vodka martini always sets you right. A KMFDM show is no different. They play your favorites. They play the new stuff. Lucia will wear something super hot and Sascha will sport raybans. Even if you’ve seen them a bunch of times, though, they still entertain you. They still make you secretly throw up devils horns and head bang ala Beavis and Butthead. Sometimes, they’ll even do it for free. That was the greatest thing about this whole experience. On this night, the musicians weren’t performing for any other reason but to show the love to their supporters.