Front 242

Live at The Avalon

Hollywood, California

September 27th, 2015

Review and Photos by Travis Baumann

Since 1982, Front 242 have been putting out music that not only packs dance floors but also possesses a unique dark quality that helped spark off an entire sub-genre of electronic body music, and ignite industrial dance music as a mainstay club-scene across the world.

After ten years they return to Los Angeles for a special performance at the same venue they played nearly two decades prior.

Large projection screens were high above the drum kit and keyboards as well as along the walls in the venue itself. The band took the stage all wearing sinister masks and combat style jump suits.

As the intro melded into the first song, they threw off their masks and started moving about the stage. Richard 23 took to the vocals as the awesome song, "Moldavia" became the spearhead of the concert. I loved this song 24 years ago when it came out, and I still love it today.

They went all the way back to their 1982 debut for "Body To Body". The two lead singers moved about the stage, riling up the crowd.

The sound was superb and worked amazingly well with all of the effects and samples. Jean-Luc De Meyer sounded perfect with his deeper, somber vocals which juxtaposed brilliantly with Richard's rousing cries and chants.

They played "W.Y.H.I.W.Y.G." which lead directly into "Master Hit". This was another one of my favorite songs back in the late '80s, and it was great to see it live so many years later.

Daniel B. was readily recognizable in the back on keyboards and Tim Kroker was playing live electronic drums. Apparently the other original member, Patrick Codneys, was handling live mixing.

The set progressed to a song from one of their later releases, "7Rain". They followed up with "Take One" and "Don't Crash".

The lights, combined with the screens, had a very trippy quality that went well with the intricate layered electronics. They played "Together" followed by another stand-out song of the night, "Quite Unusual" off of the seminal album, "Official Version" from 1987.

Richard 23 played samplers in the back on the last few songs but returned to the front for main vocals on "Funkahdafi". Jean-Luc stood to one side with his arms crossed looking stern as if taking on the role of the title character in the song.

The video footage for "U-men" mixed really well with the song, I think it was from "Ran" and featured drummers wearing long nosed, demon-like masks. The chorus chant of "I think your dangerous!" became a sing along for the crowd.

Classic hits came one after another: "Lovely Day" was followed by "Commando Mix", which lead directly into "Religion".

It was an interesting mix of the latter, but irresistible for another sing along. The crowd joined in for: "The Hand wants to control the Heart, The Heart wants to control the Head.... The Sin... is in Me! Let me burn you, let me burn you, let me burn you down!"

The signature beats and synths indicated that the number one crowd favorite was up next, and everyone had fingers in the air counting down the four steps of "Headhunter".

My favorite song of the night came up next with "Im Rhythmus Bleiben". It has been so long since I saw this song live, it was really awesome to experience it again.

They finished the main set with the club-hit classic "Welcome to Paradise". Their live version has many of the Evangelical samples being sung by the vocalists which lends a nice modern twist to the age-old song.

The band left the stage but were eventually persuaded back for the encore. Another one of my favorites was up with "Tragedy >For You<". They gave us one final song for the night with an extended version of "Punish Your Machine".

All in all, it was an amazing show. Front 242 still have the power and intensity after all these years and deliver a great performance.

I have to apologize for the photography on this one, they did not let me bring my camera in, but I felt it was worth doing the review and including what pictures I could get to share how awesome Front 242 were.

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