[live review] skinny puppy @ hmv forum

July 19, 2010

Concert date: July 18, 2010

Skinny Puppy performing at the HMV Forum, July 18th 2010

Is industrial music heading for extinction? Not without a fight maybe, but it sometimes feels like the achievements and authority of its great elders cast an unhealthy shadow over new ideas, new blood. It is a genre in danger of being trapped in its own tradition.

A genuine question: who is redefining what industrial music means now? Who is saying that the music created by the founding fathers in the 1980s and 1990s is no longer relevant, is to be merely admired but not revered? No-one of any consequence has emerged for the past 15 years to my (inevitably incomplete) knowledge. Answers below please.

I only ask because – on the basis of last night’s performance by Skinny Puppy at the Forum in Kentish Town – it’s an incredibly big ask to redefine something so, well, definitive. Skinny Puppy set the bar impossibly high, as over the course of 16 songs, spanning their entire 25 year history, they delivered a powerful, intravenous stream of high-grade industrial therapy to their delirious captives in the audience. One hit (but few hits) after another.

Skinny Puppy performing at the HMV Forum, July 18th 2010

Highlights included opener Love In Vein (from 1992’s Last Rights), Deadlines (1985’s Bites), a simply stunning version of Assimilate (also from Bites), and encore Worlock (from 1989’s Rabies, famously combining a sample of Helter Skelter by the Beatles with a recorded snippets of Charles Manson singing the song). And pretty much all of the others too.

Theatrically it was no Rammstein, but then what is? Instead costume and lighting focused as usual on manifesting Ogre’s trademark bogeyman motif, efficiently symbolising the Other that haunts all of the band’s music. An extraordinarily potent evening. Unbeatable, even. Which brings me back to my original question…

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