[Note: An edited version of this review appeared in Alternative Magazine Issue 08]
Another week, another bleep gig at Corp. Well, it’s not quite that many, but after the third in four weeks it almost feels that way, and there are two more gigs yet to come before the end of the year (Hocico and VNV Nation, of course).
Once again, turnout was reasonable, comfortably filling the smaller of the two gig rooms at the venue, but with enough breathing space to not make everyone want to run out for gasps of fresh air. And again, it was another in-the-main younger crowd, with a number that had made it a reasonable distance, too.
First band of the evening were Destroid, and it was a little odd to see an artist of this stature (lead man Daniel Myer is of course the man behind highly influential industrial outfit Haujobb) down at the bottom of the bill. The billing didn’t seem to bother him or his bandmates, though, as they stormed through a pulsating thirty-minute set. Unlike their Infest appearance in 2006, though, this set was based almost entirely around new material and the only old track I noted was Judgement Throne. The new stuff, though, doesn’t sound an awful lot different to before: namely Haujobb-style atmospherics married to a more accessible (dare I say populist?) beat structure. Not that this is a problem – the beats have a real punch, they had most of the room moving, and by the end seemed to have won over a somewhat standoff-ish crowd.
This was my second opportunity to see Painbastard live in just two months, after seeing them at Infest in August. There is now a new album out, of course, so there is something new to promote, although there wasn’t a huge amount of the album aired. This was a storming performance, too – Alex P. appeared to be far happier and more confident on a smaller stage, and being rather closer to the audience – with the emotion simply exploding from every track. Pick of the entire set was an astounding Poison For Your Soul (a slower track that seethes with regret and betrayal), although older track Nervenkrieg was pounding, and even the weaker recent single Nyctophobia worked far better live. So after an ok appearance before, here was far, far better – and indeed by some distance the best live act of the night.
Painbastard left [:SITD:] with a tough act to follow, too. I’ve been a fan of this band for some years, and I think this was about the fourth or fifth time I had seen them live, somehow. Not a lot has changed: they still specialise in a slightly slower, heavier sound than many of their contemporaries, and going on the snatches of lyrics they still retain their political edge, too. With well over an hour alloted for their set, stuff from all three albums was played, including all four of the top tracks from the debut (Lebensborn, Laughingstock, a truly wonderful Rose-Coloured Skies and then the usual closer of Snuff Machinery). The new tracks hold up well against a strong back catalogue, with no real discernible shift in style or approach, although with tracks as strong as the thumping Kreuzgang (one of the best electro singles of 2007) it is difficult to complain.
The one thing perhaps to bring things down a notch was the lack of tempo changes through much of their set, which meant that it was easy for attention to drift elsewhere – even with the quality of the material – but their enthusiasm and obvious rapport with the crowd helped to pull it back. Overall, this was a solid gig with good performances from all three bands. Again, it was promising too to see that there was a younger crowd for the gig, again proving that the scene has life yet.