:Retrowerks: Tactical Sekt, Kevorkian Death Cycle, HexRx, Gentleman Junkie – October 5, 2013 – San Diego, CA
Review by Yvette Arambula
This was an exciting weekend for San Diego’s COMA troops; two shows in two nights back-to-back featuring great bands. What more could you ask for? Unfortunately, our very own COMA Commander, Jaymie, was unable to attend this show due to succumbing to a local plague that’s been going around. Nevertheless, with photographer in tow, we went off on a very short ten minute trip to the Linda Vista neighborhood where the venue was located. It’s always nice when there are awesome shows going on in our town for a change. I was really looking forward to seeing the Negative Gain bands again, and was especially excited about seeing Tactical Sekt for the first time. I was a bit sad that Alter Der Ruine wasn’t able to make it; I really enjoyed their show at Complex and really wanted to see them again.
L.A.’s Gentleman Junkie started the night off with “No God,” a great opener to get people in the mood for dancing. The next song they played was “The One For Me” followed by “Life Is Death.” The crowd wasn’t that big at the time, people were still trickling into the venue. I saw a lot of the same faces that were around the previous night for the Psyclon Nine show but that’s to be expected. We don’t get many shows with big acts down here unfortunately. Ed Korn and Bil K (Kevorkian Death Cycle) decided to stir up the audience with “Killing Time.” It brought out the stompiness in people and it continued through “Holy War.” They ended their set with “To Be The King” during which I noticed an elderly gentleman sitting at the bar insanely excited about the music. My younger self would have said, “I want whatever he’s on.” It was seriously amusing, but I’m glad older generations are still able to enjoy our raucous music.
The crowd had thickened a bit by the time HexRx started bringing out their familiar stage props. Suddenly, the lights dimmed and the stage became foggy, all while noise-y synth effects started playing. Roger Jarvis walked out, took his place at the keyboard and brought the noise to a higher, louder level before Nick Viola burst onstage for the opening song. Squalor (Toby Tyler Heidebrink) came out inside a red sheet or bag of some sort, writhing around with his light-up goggles. They kept up their energy with “Kill,” followed by “Murder” during which Squalor came out of his red wrapping wearing a dirty negligée with a strange worm thing hanging from his crotch. He sang “Crawler” then left the stage. Roger and Nick went into “My Eyes Are Red,” giving the fervent crowd a break from the dancing and stomping. Next was their excellent cover of Trans-X’s “Living On Video.” Squalor came back out wearing video tape pieces in a feather-like fashion around his shoulders and hair, a pig face mask, and lights in his cod-piece. He kept hitting himself with the fog machine tube and at one point was ripping out video tape from a gas mask. HexRx closed out the night with a crowd favorite, “Dominate.” It was a perfect ending to a powerful, energetic set. When they were done, Squalor offered his light-up testicles to his boy fans before leaving the stage.
Kevorkian Death Cycle came on next opening their set with “God Am I” which I thought was an excellent choice to get the crowd moving again. Before their next song “Mind Decay,” another one off their new album God Am I, Ed Korn started heckling them from the crowd. He shouted out, “you’re cheating on me you bitch” to Bil K who was playing bass for KDC. Up next was their classic “Death To The Flesh” during which Toby (HexRx) decided to run onstage and sing the chorus with them before running off again. There were a lot of issues with feedback and their mics kept popping loudly. The music was also a lot louder than the vocals but that didn’t detract from their great energy during their performance. “Static,” “Prisoner,” and “Veal” came on next with Ed still heckling them in between songs. Before playing “Blood of Faust,” Ryan (vocals) said that they hadn’t played a Klub Therapy show since October 1999. The mic popped pretty loudly before they even started the song and had to be switched out a few times. They then played “Shadow” and “Lifter” before closing out their set with their cover of Pet Shop Boys’ “It’s A Sin.” Before walking offstage, Ryan said, “I’m going to sin tonight.”
Finally, the act that I had most anticipated to see this night took the stage and blasted us with electro-industrial fury after the brief intro sample before “Bring Me Violence.” People immediately started going crazy and danced like they meant it. It was like everybody’s souls were infused with the sheer sonic energy coming from that stage. They played a new song next, but I didn’t catch its name, his vocals were a bit too distorted and the screaming fans drowned out what he was saying. It was quite an enjoyable song, very true to their sound despite not having released a record since 2006. They picked up the beat and drove the crowd into full-on stomping mode with “Not Entertained.” Anthony was very animated and kept pantomiming according to the theme of each song throughout their performance. During this particular song, he kept making remote control clicking gestures at the audience.
“Chosen One” came next followed by “Not Going To Work That Way.” A favorite of mine, “Awaken The Ghost” was very fun and super danceable; it was like a powerful force had taken control of my body and made me hyperkinetic. He let a few fans scream the chorus into his mic; they were pretty good actually and sounded very similar to him. In the frenzy, I happened to look around and noticed Toby was dancing gleefully beside me. Before “American Me,” Anthony said, “This song goes out to all the veterans out there. Thank you for your service” which I found very touching, being a veteran myself. The final songs of the night were “Soulless,” “Devils Work,” and finally “Xfixiation.” While singing the final lines of the song, he jumped off the stage into the audience and hopped around with them. Afterwards he handed out a few hugs; very nice guy and a great showman. I felt like their set was way too short however, I wanted to hear so much more, but at the same time I was kind of dying from having danced more that night than I had in a long time.
Overall, this was an amazing concert full of talented artists who thoroughly had me entranced with their musical creations. Everyone was really personable and down to earth which is always a plus in the music scene. Despite the sound issues previously mentioned, the bands took it all in stride and still managed to perform flawlessly and with intoxicating energy. I didn’t even have to drink to let loose on the dance floor. I really hope I have the opportunity to see them all again, and hopefully Jaymie won’t miss out on another incredible show. But I guess the shootout she heard going on down the street from our home was entertainment enough, albeit in a much more terrifying way. Ah, the joys of living in a trendy, urban neighborhood so close to the wrong side of the “Avenue.”
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