Live at 1720

Downtown Los Angeles, CA

September 29th, 2018

Review and photos by Travis Baumann

Chemlab celebrated the 25th anniversary of their seminal album "Burn Out at the Hydrogen Bar" with special performances at the Cold Waves festivals across the US.

Founding member Jared Louche has been involved with the industrial scene since the band's inception in 1989 and has always brought a larger than life persona to the stage when he performs. On this night he stepped out in drag wearing a long blue wig and neon makeup which he steadily shed throughout the show.

They played "Burn Out at the Hydrogen Bar" in its entirety and in order starting with the introductory "Suture" feeding straight into "Codeine, Glue and You" followed by "Suicide Jag".

I remember seeing them at the Roxy on Sunset when this album first came out and despite the years, Chemlab is still going strong even though Jared is the only original member.

"Chemical Halo" led into "Neurozone" bringing back all the memories and ideals of the cyberpunk movement that flooded through the early nineties. Jared walked on the edge of the crowd barrier using fans' heads (and my own) as support so he could get up close and personal with the crowd.

"Elephant Man" was followed by "Rivet Head" which spawned the title of zines and news groups and eventually was a common term for industrial fans in general.

"Derailer" fed into the final song of the set with "Summer of Hate" during which several past Chemlab members joined the stage for a power-house finish.

Jared stated that the fact that he was still alive and that they had reformed and were here tonight was due to his sobriety. He had given up all the hard drugs and hard drinking and even the lighter stuff as well.  He said he was "high on life baby" and that he had never felt better.

It was a great show and awesome to see Jared still doing his thing for us all to enjoy. I can't believe it has been two and a half decades since Chemlab released "Burn Out at the Hydrogen Bar". It still feels fresh and as relevant as ever, but also is a wake up call to how little we as a society and race have actually progressed in that time.

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