Icon of Coil

Live at the Vanguard

Los Angeles, CA 10/23/2005

Icon of Coil were playing as the headlining act for one of the two nights of the Das Bunker anniversary festival here in Los Angeles.

Icon of Coil has toured a number of times over the years, their first North American tour happening around eight years ago at the Whisky A Go Go with Seabound.

Since that time, the various members of the Norwegian based Icon of Coil have gotten very busy with other side projects such as Andy LePlegua's Combichrist, Panzer AG, and most recently Scandy but also Sebastion Komor's involvement with Komor Kommando, Zombie Girl and other projects.

I am not sure whether on this evening the original line-up of the above two plus Christian Lund were back in form or whether it was just Andy with some other guys handling keyboards similar to the last show at Bar Sinister.

Originally, side projects like CombiChrist differed greatly from the electronic synth-pop styling of Icon of Coil. Early CombiChrist was instrumental and very abrasive bordering on sample-heavy power noise but as lyrics and more convential song-structures took over that project, it grew closer to Icon of Coil with each release yet still retaining its edgier, more noisey base.

It was good to hear the Icon of Coil material live. Their most recent release was 2004's "Machines are Us". Like previous albums, this release is full of angst and self examination as humanity learns more about itself in times of rampant technology growth and apparent shrinkage of the accompanying souls to our outer shells.

Andy shows on every album his intelligence in writing lyrics that take poignant looks at the signs of the times around us and how we are turning ourselves into apathetic androids going through the motions of daily life but avoiding looking directly at the bigger picture.

Tracks like "Consumer", "Remove/Replace", "Sleep:less", "Android", and "Dead Enough For Life" illustrate the zombie like existance of consumerism and televsion therapy that we endure and spit in the face of complacency.

In a live venue, Andy brings his songs to life, animatedly singing the lyrics and sucking the audience into his stage persona.

Electronic bands rely so heavily on pre-recorded tracks with a light dosage of actually played synths on top that it really comes down to the lead singer to make or break a stage presence for the act. As is true with all of his projects, Andy has what it takes to be a front-man and this evening was no different.

Andy came out with a platinum mohawk pushed forward into a spikey wedge. He wore a long black shirt and looked rather cleaned up compared to the last few outings as CombiChrist where he looked like a drug-addled psycho smeared in blood and oil and spazzing around to the much more violent music of that project. It was hard to see the keyboardists in the lighting and so really no pictures of them, as I said, I could not identify them.

The audience was really into the show, especially for some of the older tracks that made them popular like "Shallow Nation" and "Floorkiller" both of which had updated versions that had just been put out on a special EP "Uploaded and Remixed".

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