Combichrist

Live at The Music Box

in Hollywood, CA

November 7th, 2010

Combichrist started as a side project of Icon of Coil's front man Andy LePlegua and was devoted initially to danceable electronic music that at times bordered on the power noise movement. Since those first few releases, Combichrist has mutated into a larger than life five piece industrial machine.

While still retaining its body moving rhythms and synths, the power of the song structures have taken on a much more intense level and the live show has risen in intensity to suit.

I have seen Combichrist five times now since he debuted the project. The first time it was literally Andy by himself with a number of electronic devices and the songs from those early discs had very few vocals so the show consisted mostly of him tweaking knobs and playing keys. The second time, he had added a few more lyrics, a second member on keyboards and a bit more of him moving around on stage.

By the third time, the recordings themselves had evolved into much more of the Electrohead style of music that they are known for now, the songs following a stronger industrial dance structure with full lyrics and vocals on nearly every song.

The fourth tour I saw him on, he added two drummers facing each other and a live keyboard player and now on this newest venture, we see him keeping this band structure but for this show had a guest guitarist, Wes Borland from Limp Bizkit.

With all this touring, and recently with the mighty Rammstein, Andy has developed a flair and stage presence that puts him up there in the realm of the big cross-over players in this genre.

Andy came dressed up in a cool outfit and insane metal grills for teeth. The newest album is called "Making Monsters" and the entire band dressed the part. The drummers and keyboard player were all pasty white with messed up eyes and the guitar player coated in some black tar-sludge.

The overall stage setup had increased in budget and impact as well. There were three large LED screens at the back of the stage, one behind each riser. These fluctuated through out the show from acting as wall-panel based lighting to showing actual imagery and flashing subliminal messages. The drummers and keyboard player sat on tall risers lifting them up quite high off the stage. The microphone stand was decorated in megaphones and skulls completing the impression.

Their set list fluctuated from all over their back catalog of releases including many hits off of some of the earlier, non-noise albums. While the sound was good for the opening bands, it was like they flipped a switch on volume and bass for Combichrist, the entire floor reverberated, the bass tones felt right through your body. Some of my favorite songs included "Rain of Blood", "Blut Royal", "Never Surrender", and "Electrohead".

The early press had touted that some celebrity guests might drop by...One guy came out to do vocals with Andy on "Follow The Trail Of Blood". He had a shaved head and sang in a growl, almost metal style of voice. He apparently was Dave Peters from Throwdown.

They ended up doing two encores, some of the songs being the crowd favorites of the night like "This S*it Will Fcuk You Up" and "What the Fuck is Wrong With You". Of course "Fuck That Shit" was extremely popular so a trend can be seen in the mindset of fans of Combichrist.

It was a great show, coupling a dramatic stage presence with Andy's usual excellent vocal abilities. It is impressive how far this project has come in terms of shear fan support and it is well deserved due to the music developing to become its current power-house electro industrial style.

I still love the first releases too, they were brilliant for their minimalistic approach to excellent dark dance music, but as the past couple of releases have stated in title selection, these guys have become demons and monsters of this genre and put on an appropriately backed performance.

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