Imperative Reaction

Live at Safari Sams

Los Angeles, CA 9/20/2008

Review by Travis Baumann

Imperative Reaction hail from Los Angeles but it has been quite some time since they have put on a show for their local following.

Imperative Reaction is the brainchild of master-mind Ted Phelps. The first time I saw them live was years ago at the now defunct Kontrol Factory and Ted was only seventeen at the time so they threw him out of the club immediately after he performed.

Over the years I have seen them many times since and have watched him progress as a song writer and a performer. With the release of "Redemption" on Metropolis Records in 2004, Imperative Reaction got international attention as a force to be reckoned with on the dance floor and in live the performance arena.

This show at Safari Sams, with [:SITD:] and Aesthetic Perfection, was the opening gig for a two month North American tour promoting and focusing on Imperative Reaction's newest album, "Minus All". Gencab from New Jersey also played as openers but would not be joining the rest of the bands on the bus for the duration of the tour.

Safari Sams was packed and the audience had been whipped into shape by the opening acts, [:SITD:] had just played their first ever show on North American soil and everyone was in a good mood and ready for Imperative Reaction to play.

Clint Carney, band leader and main songwriter behind Los Angeles locals, System Syn was playing keyboards and singing back up vocals and they had another guy on keyboards who I did not recognize.

The new album, "Minus All" is an aggressive, danceable blast with powerful songs. A good portion of the set was taken from this material, one of my favorites of the set was "Torn Down".

Clint helped engineer several of the songs on the album and Ted got assistance from CombiChrist's main man Andy LaPlegua producing nearly half of the disc as well, so you can be assured the CD is powerful and aggressive and live, they did the new material justice.

This was my first time seeing a show at Safari Sams and although the sound system was really good, it was also near-deafening for such a small venue. The stage space was very compact but Ted moved around as much as it would allow.

The lighting systems were very limited but it still had a nice ambiance with the thick red curtains behind the band which gave an odd old-fashioned juxtaposition against the modern instruments and sounds of the dark electro trio.

All three members of the band looked to be having a great time playing for their friends and family at his hometown, tour kick-off performance. In between songs Clint and Ted joked around and smiled at each other and the crowd.

They were selling the new album before it actually was released at the merchandising booth so I picked it up and have been listening to it heavily since. The songs all scream out at the false faces and little lies we tell ourselves to keep moving forward in this modern world but bring to light the cost of such small thinking. "Minus All" asks the blunt question: What is all this madness for if we have forgotten something important in ourselves and have gotten wrapped up in the shallow technological world of today and stopped paying attention?

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