Bar XIII, Wilmington, DE – 08/02/2018
There was quite an abundance of summer tours in the industrial and hard electronic scene in 2018. One of the most anticipated was the Glitch Mode Decode Tour, a showcase of two of the independent imprint’s finest acts – Cyanotic and Amelia Arsenic – with associated acts KANGA and For All the Emptiness, as well as a few special guests along the way. Of course, you know what they say about the best laid plans, and the first night of the tour was already brimming with difficulties that necessitated the absence of two of the main acts; it was the sort of setback that has been known to break other performing acts, but like a Skynet Terminator, the Glitch Mode Squad “absolutely will not stop!”
In a few short years, KANGA has proven to be a force to be reckoned with in the underground electronic and industrial scene; with a sound that infuses insistently catchy melodies with abrasive synthesized backdrops, her music continues to impress. By this point, she’s wearing the Nine Inch Nails comparisons on her sleeve, with the bass line to “Something Dangerous” having become something of an inside joke that she’s all too happy to play on those still unfamiliar with her.
Upbeat tracks like “Going Red,” “Vital Signs,” and “Viciousness” pound and pulsate with dense layers of beats and synth, while slower, more menacing moments like “Honey” and a new track (whose title is unknown to this writer) create a visceral ambience, her vocals shifting from disaffected and mechanical to emotive and seething, the small crowd growing in size and moving with each rhythmic thrust. Even without guitarist Matthew Setzer, KANGA’s physicality onstage with the equally manic lighting was more than enough to create an interesting visual accompaniment – seriously, one has to wonder if her spine is made of rubber as she moves and bends with a flexibility seemingly inhuman, but with a sort of cybernetic grace that is simply a joy to watch.
Next to take the stage was RELIC, filling in for the absentee acts Amelia Arsenic and For All the Emptiness… and boy, did this band prove to be more than adequate to the task. Performing a truncated set that focused on the duo’s latest album, Social Drift
, RELIC’s performance sought to make an impression as the mechanized power of the band creates a powerful dystopian soundtrack. Jordan Davis is a dynamic front man, his vocals shrill and roaring as he moves up and down the small stage from behind his keyboard, while drummer Dan Dickerscheid seems an unhinged spasm of energy with an almost Zenlike precision in matching the tightly programmed rhythms, topped off with a bit of humor for good measure. With Davis and Dickerscheid as part of the Cyanotic live lineup on this tour, one has to admire the pair’s tenacity and professionalism, performing back-to-back sets and showing no signs of fatigue; it’s fair to say that RELIC is destined for greater recognition in the scene.
One might imagine for this writer to have seen Cyanotic so often over the course of the last 12 years that a sense of weariness would set in. This has never been the case as the Glitch Mode Recordings flagship act continues to undergo permutations in sound, lineup, and visual presentation to ensure that the band is in a constant state of flux and refinement. Indeed, this is the first time this writer was to see Cyanotic without a guitarist of any sort, relying solely on the strength of the layers of programmed rhythms and synthesized textures topped off by Sean Payne’s ferocious vocals to draw the audience into the band’s darkly cybernetic world. As ever, his interplay with his band mates coupled with his magnetic presence makes for an engaging performance that demands audience participation.
Dan Dickerscheid once again brings his unbridled vitality behind the drumkit, while Jordan Davis and Jenny Anne flank the stage on their respective keyboard setups. With the T2
album freshly released, tracks like “Clear a Path,” “Deadweight,” “Hyperaware,” and “Mainlining Tension,” are among the newer highlights, along with selections from past releases like the vicious drum & bass assault of “Disconnect Me” or the danceable vitriol of “Alt.Machine,” all of which only demonstrate just what a streamlined machine Cyanotic has become.
After the show and last call, ReGen photographer Tabetha Patton treated the bands and the Bar XIII staff and guests to what she had dubbed the “Booze Melon” – a Watermelon infused overnight with a bottle of Jameson whiskey; jokingly named “Julius” by Sean Payne in a clever historical/Shakespearean reference, and carved into slices shared among more than 30 people, closing the night out with a flurry of drunken laughter. Although off to a slightly rough start, these musicians on the Decode Tour found their footing rather quickly, with Amelia Arsenic and For All the Emptiness to rejoin on later dates. No strangers to misfortune or adversity, those in the Glitch Mode Recordings camp persevered to begin this summer tour as loudly and as forcefully as if everything had gone according to plan, and indeed, anyone unaware of such difficulties clearly didn’t know the difference… for were they not entertained? Yes! Yes, they were!
Article by Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)
Photography by Tabetha Patton (MizTabby)
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