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:Concert Review: SPÄNK! Tour – En Esch/Ghostfeeder – June 5, 2015 @ The Bancroft Bar, Spring Valley, CA

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SPÄNK! Tour
En Esch, Ghostfeeder
Date: June 5, 2015
Venue: The Bancroft Bar
Location: Spring Valley, CA

Review by Yvette Arambula

Klub Therapy once again organized a killer show for San Diegans at the Bancroft Bar. This time it was legendary En Esch with supporting guests Ghostfeeder, an electronic rock band from Rochester, NY. En Esch (Slick Idiot, Pigface, ex-KMFDM) recently released his second solo album, SPÄNK!, nearly 22 years after his debut solo release, Cheesy. Check out our review of SPÄNK! here.

Ghostfeeder started out the night, with Derek Walborn on keys and lead vocals, and Luke Dangler on guitar. With four EPs and a few singles under their belts, they had a decent amount of material for the 10-song set they pumped out for us. Right from the start, the duo were full of energy onstage. They started out their set with “Entitlement Generation” from their first EP, The Signal, followed by “Plug In The iGod” from the same release. During “Again And Again,” a few people were dancing, hopelessly rhythm-less, in front of the stage.

They played “Let My Guard Down” and “Just Another Animal” next, a couple songs from their second EP, Social Accessory. They have kind of a late ‘90s Nine Inch Nails sound to their music, which is fine with me.  All this time, Derek and Luke had incredible energy yet still managed to have clear vocals that blended well with the volume of the music. I like it when that happens; it’s frustrating when I can’t hear what people are singing when it’s not supposed to be distorted.

Derek and Luke slowed things down a bit for “The Messenger,” the title track off their newest EP. It was a mellower song, less guitar heavy than what they had played so far. “One Blink Of An Eye,” from the same EP, was also slower but it had a darkness to it that was quite delightful. The next two songs they played, “8-Bitch” and “Hollywood,” are only available on a laser-engraved 1 GB USB drive with 21 songs from their catalogue (excluding The Messenger EP). They ended their set with a bang—the energetic song, “You Left A Mark,” which had a memorable guitar solo. Perfect to get everyone riled up before En Esch took the stage.

When the time finally came for En Esch and company to take the stage, there was a larger crowd of people in front of the stage. En Esch was joined onstage by Erica Dilanjian on vocals and occasionally guitar, Ethan Mosely on drums, and Ghostfeeder’s guitarist Luke. After En Esch said, “Settle down motherfuckers,” they started what turned out to be a 15-song set (including both encores) with Erica’s own song from her Lady E & The Black Light project, “Wanderlust Blues.” The deep, throbbing bassline and pounding bass drum of “Do Me” from SPÄNK!; really got the crowd excited. Slick Idiot’s “Merci Beaucoup” got everyone moving, bouncing up and down, limbs flailing about frantically. En Esch was not happy with how his voice sounded; he told the sound guy he needed to “turn that shit dooooown. My voice sounds like Mickey Mouse, what’s happening?”

En Esch was very interactive with the crowd during “12345,” holding his head up to a crazed fan, looking at the crowd intensely, like he wanted to punch everyone in the face. “Rule The Mob” from Cheesy made everyone even more insane. One guy attempted to start a mosh pit, not everyone was into it though. “Go To Hell” from his KMFDM days brought even more people into a frenzy.

The audience’s hard stomping made the whole building vibrate with their energy as they chanted “lie, die, too late to cry” during “Hallelujah.” En Esch said to the crowd, “It’s a pleasure, thanks for coming out” as “Hard On” started. Before the start of the next song, he clued us in to what was in store for us, saying it was “retro, retroactive. Check this out.” Then the telltale synth lines of “Juke Joint Jezebel” blasted our earholes. The crowd lost their nut and headbanged away while singing the chorus at the top of their lungs. En Esch even let an audience member sing into his microphone.

After saying, “Thank you. Have a good night” to us, the crowd let him know they weren’t ready to say goodbye just yet. They clamored for more until En Esch said, “We’ll do one more.” A song that brought about fond memories, “Xcess” was bestowed upon us. When I think about it, it’s a bit hard to believe that 2001 was long ago enough to be nostalgic. After the song, the band definitely looked like they were done; Erica had even slung her purse over her shoulder and equipment was being shut down. But the ravenous crowd had not been sated yet and once again pleaded for more. They were presented with another morsel, KMFDM’s “Godlike,” before En Esch and Co. left the stage for real this time.

I’m really glad we were able to make it out to this show. It was a damn good time, full of damn good music, and an entertaining crowd that made for some good laughs. My introduction to Ghostfeeder left me in no way disappointed; they put on a great show for just two guys on stage. En Esch blew me away with all those well composed sound waves that spanned nearly his entire musical career. They all had an amazing stage presence—En Esch’s intensity; Erica’s lovely vocals; Derek, Luke, and Ethan’s musicianship…what’s not to love about this night. Be sure to catch both bands when either of them go on the road again; you’ll thank me for it.

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