Skinny Puppy and other industrial music artists pulled in a large and excited crowd at The Pageant in St. Louis.
For over thirty years, Skinny Puppy have been founders and forerunners of electro-industrial music, known for their live shows that blended performance art and music. The band’s songs are based primarily on animal rights advocacy, criticizing pollution, chemical warfare, rape, and environmental issues. Vocalist Nivek Ogre assumed a plethora of identities, donning several different costumes, changing behind a hand-held curtain onstage, during their 90-minute set.
A Skinny Puppy show is more than just the music; it is an experience for all the senses. While singing, Ogre acted out the songs as different creatures while members of his touring company acted with and reacted to his antics. In addition to his wardrobe, Ogre incorporated Go-Pro cameras in his costuming, live-streaming the footage to onstage monitors. He and his onstage assistants took turns at the monitors studying the footage as it was acted out. Throughout their entire set, video footage was projected on every available surface onstage, including the performers themselves.
Front Line Assembly is a Canadian based industrial band. Their sound is unique, although there are hints of Skinny Puppy’s influence; the band was formed in 1986 by Bill Leeb, who performed with Skinny Puppy from 1985 to 1996. Leeb’s departure was not acrimonious, but instead based on his desire to take a greater role in decision making and vocals. In FLA, Leeb’s vocals and nihilistic lyrics are at the forefront, but backed nicely with dance floor oriented grooves, highlighting the band’s versatility.
Haujobb are from Germany, and the band brings a number of electronic influences into their music, including industrial, ambient, and techno. Their ability to incorporate many different styles into their music over the years … they began in 1993 … has made the band known for their crossover talents. Their songs ranged abstract weirdness to clinical sterility with no filler to an almost overwhelming incessant rhythm and beyond. Haujobb’s set highlighted their wide range of influences as well as their diverse sound history.