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:Retrowerks: Das Bunker 16: Suicide Commando – October 19, 2012 – Los Angeles, CA

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Das Bunker 16: Suicide Commando
Concert Date: October 19, 2012
Venue: Catch One
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Review by Jaymie Burzette

For many of us, this was the show we’ve waited years for. You could feel the excitement upon arriving at the club; there was a definitive buzz of electricity in the air. This was certainly something very special; I have never seen Das Bunker this alive, nor have I seen it this crowded. I posted myself in the back of the club, which gave me a good vantage point of both the stage and the crowd. Frankly, I didn’t want to be anywhere near the stage with a crowd this excited. The air was thick, hot, humid, and positively buzzing with excitement. Waiting and keeping myself occupied by people watching, it felt like an eternity before the famous Suicide Commando logo was projected onto the stage, and people began to flood into the club’s main room where the band was to perform. Franck, the kind and jovial man who runs Das Bunker came onstage and gave a sincere, heartfelt speech about what it meant to him to have Suicide Commando finally tour the states and to play here at Das Bunker. This was it. The lights went down, places were taken, and the music started.

They opened with “Bind, Torture and Kill,” and a video began to play onscreen depicting various serial killers, all counting down to the BTK Killer. One of the first things I noticed was live drums. I thought it sounded magical, it was better than I could’ve imagined. The drums added a full, well-rounded sound to the music. Incorporating live instruments is a trend I’ve been noticing lately at industrial/electronic music shows, and as both an electronic and classical musician myself, it pleases me greatly to see more of a backing band presence onstage. It definitely makes for a better stage presence and a more engaging show.

Out came Johan, clearly excited to be there and full of energy. He greets the crowd and the crowd roars back with excitement and glee. The music builds, and then…all audio except the drums drops out. Around me rose a sea of “what the fuck,” and “what?!” After a couple minutes, the music restarted and “BTK” launched again from the beginning. Johan again came out, the show was up and running, and the audio dropped out again, leaving only the drums hammering, the cymbals crashing. After a few minutes the audio came back on, and again “BTK” relaunched, only for the audio to go down again, this time for closer to 10 minutes.

You could tell the band was extremely frustrated, along with the audience who was so keen on seeing Suicide Commando for the first time. It was during this 10 minute lull that I became fearful that they wouldn’t be able to fix whatever went wrong and that the show I had been waiting so long to see would not, in fact, go on. The audience was growing quite restless, no doubt many sharing my same fears. I would find out later that the audio and light crews hired specifically for this show had to pull some magic to get this to work, including sacrificing the lights to get the sound boards and microphones up and running properly. This left a large portion of the club dark, and as Johan mentioned during the show, he couldn’t see anyone in the audience and was rather blinded by the projector. “BTK” was followed by “Hate Me,” and the audio dropped out two more times. All told, the audio dropped out a grand total of five times during the show.

The sound was quite good, and the songs were easily discernible from one another. The audio wasn’t the best I’ve heard at Bunker, but given the previous audio mishaps (which I should point out, was no fault of Das Bunker’s) I was just glad to be hearing them at all. A different video played in the background, depending on the song that played, ranging from serial killers to, well, arrogant whores doing destructive, arrogant whore-type things. The lighting, as previously mentioned, left something to be desired. For the most part, the audience area was dark. There was a light over my head in the back of the club, but largely the only lights were coming from the video projector. I personally didn’t care, but it was evident that Johan was quite upset by the lighting problems and the overall performance thus far. Quite understandably, I would’ve been upset as well had I been in his position.

The band’s energy was fantastic and infectious, Johan especially, who put on a phenomenal show. The band cycled through Suicide Commando favorites such as “Attention Whore” and “Hellraiser.” The band closed with “Face of Death,” and it seemed like the show went by in a blur, it was over way too soon. The crowd chanted for more, but there would be no encore. Johan took the stage, and expressed his disappointment of the evening’s turn of events. Apparently feeling insulted, one member of the lighting crew shouted insults at Johan, prompting security to hustle the light man out of the club. But hey, what’s a great show without security hauling someone out by the scruff of their neck?

I have never seen so many people at Das Bunker. It was evident that people came from all over to see Suicide Commando’s L.A. show. Fortunately, the location of Das Bunker (Catch One) is a large club with multiple rooms and levels so a large amount of people were accommodated. Overall, the show was quite fantastic. My one complaint is that it was too short. I would’ve liked a longer show, and would’ve loved SC to play “Jesus Wept,” “Comatose Delusion.” and “Deliver Us From Evil,” to name just a few of my favorites. Overall, it was a great night, with great people and great music. Very excited to hear that Suicide Commando is already talking about another U.S. tour next year!

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